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Johann Hückel´s Söhne - Hückel Hutfabrik Weilheim


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J. Hückel´s Söhne (JHS) were famous for their Velour hats but they also made fantastic Melone (German for Bowler, Derby). I know JHS made at least three models of Melone, the Plume, Flexible and Elastic. The Plume was the lightest at 126 grams. They have a longer nap that produces a very nice finish. The felt make up is probably a combination of rabbit, hare and maybe some nutria.


From left to right, Plume (126 grams), Flexible (152 grams), Plume (126 grams). I am pretty sure all three are from the same time period of the 1930s.















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J. Hückel´s Söhne, 58cm, probably 1930s or older, it was modified along the way (see below). This is a very stiff heavy weight felt (nothing to do with quality) which probably has to do with the 'Derby' model name (stiffer soft felt hat). The crown tip patch is missing but the triangle shape is similar to the Carl Kellner Hamburg logo. Some minor felt issues that are made more apparent by the lighter felt color.












Felt spacer strip stitched to the crown about one inch above the brim line was added after paper label. The ribbon was either reattached or replaced.







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Manfred picked both of these up for 1 EURO! My guess is late 1950s for both of them.


"The gray one is a Chamois and the flecked felt is a Hückel Clipper Pork Pie.

Both hats are very dirty and stained.

After a good brushing and spraying with a special mix of alcohol and water, I could remove most of them with a rag. I believe, If I would soak the hat, it would be come out like new. The Clipper liner is very soiled. I has to remove it.

Unfortunately, the print of the liner of the Chamois taken Damage."




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I never bothered to check but German Wikipedia has a nice page on JHS.




They have some nice prints from 1898.



Fabrik in Neutitschein (1898)
















In: Dargebracht von den Industriellen Oesterreichs unter dem hohen Protectorate Seiner K. und K. Hoheit des Durchlauchtigsten Herrn Erzherzogs Franz Ferdinand (Hrsg.):Die Gross-Industrie Oesterreichs. Festgabe zum glorreichen fünfzigjährigen Regierungs-Jubiläum Seiner Majestät des Kaisers Franz Josef I.. 4, Leopold Weiss, Wien 1898, X. Bekleidungs-Industrie.


In: offered by manufacturers of Austria under the high Protectorate of His Serene Highness the K. and K. Archduke Francis Ferdinand (ed.): The gross industrial Austria .Festschrift for glorious fifty year anniversary of His Majesty Government of Emperor Franz Joseph I.. 4, Leopold Weiss, Vienna 1898, X. Garment industry.

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J. Hückel´s Söhne Sigma, Brown




Another amazing / rare find by Robert (RLK) of the FL. This one was made for the American market.


"Another between the Wars JHS Velour sold by Maurice L. Rothschild of Chicago. Extra Bittersweet Chocolate color.Has the light absorbing properties of a Black Hole, I'll need to dig out the tripod and arrange for some decent lighting."

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J. Hückel´s Söhne Top Hat


This beauty belongs to Robert (RLK) on the FL. I also bid on this one but happy to see Robert ended up with it. The paper label has the typical format but no mention of JHS. Also a very rare box. I wasn't aware that JHS made Top Hats. I will have to see if I can find out if they were sourced them or made in house. My guess is 1920s-30s.





"Prior to WW2 Salonika was one of the larger and more affluent Jewish Urban centers originating with Spanish Jews who fled in the late 15th-16th Centuries.

The Recanati Family were important in early Palestine settlements and founded a major Israeli Bank after leaving Greece."


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TONAK, Hückel Related, German + Euro Trademarks


It appears that TONAK is the only company holding current Hückel related trademarks for Europe. It appear they didn't receive trademarks until 1966. I assuming the 1930s trademarks where under JHS and didn't transfer but I could be wrong. As far as I can tell TONAK didn't sell under the Hückel name in Germany (not sure about the rest of Europe) while Hückel Hutfabrik Weilheim was still in business (closed 1975).


















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Hückel Flexible, 1949. This is an amazing find by Manfred. Never seen the 150 year logo so might be made by Hückel Weilheim or Tonak.


"Nice suprise on my flea market tour today. Found a nice Hückel Flexible, I guess it's from 1949, because the print says 150 Years Hückel."





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This is a pre 1940 J. Hückel´s Söhne promo pocket mirror. I have another one like it but this one is in much better condition. There is a blow-up of this same image on display at the Novy Jicin City Museum Hat exhibit. Karl Plachky was a hat / furrier shop in Zeitz, Germany.






Information on Karl Plachky from Matt (Mean Eyed Matt) on the FL.


"Karl Plachky was one famous Kürschner (skinner/furrier - not only shop) in Zeitz (near Leipzig) at Roßmarkt 5 - also trading with hats & caps. According to the net he is listed in the phone book of 1914 and still listed after WWII in 1948. And there's also a Ludwig Plachky - skinner in Zeitz at Roßmarkt 14 and Wilhelm (1914) and Johannes (1947) Plachky - both goldsmiths at Roßmarkt 14. Family!?"

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J. Hückel'a Synove Vídeň (J. Hückel´s Söhne Wien) Melone, size 5 3/4 Point, crown 4 1/2 inches, brim 2 1/4 inches, 154 grams. The liner and sweatband wording are in Czech but I believe it's from right around WWI. I really like the lower profile and striking liner / sweatband.


















Natural Light





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J. Hückel´s Söhne Sigma Seal Velour, Size 7 1/2, probably 1930s. Amazing find by Josh on the FL! Sure wish it was his size.


"I took a gamble on this one because the seller had no size listed. When I received the package I was SHOCKED to see it labeled a size 60!! I measured the length and width of opening as 8.5 x 6.75. The ellipse calculator gave a reading of 24 inches in circumference and I have verified with a measuring tape of a circumference between 23 7/8 - 24 inches. That makes it a 7 1/2 - 7 5/8!!


That being said, I have never handled a pre-war Austrian Seal velour before. All I can say is that it is the BEST velour I have EVER handled. Period. The color is so black is was next to impossible to take pictures of it. The felt on this hat is absolutely PERFECT and the hand is smooth as silk. The only disappointment was the sweatband. Its there, its original, its still attached to the hat with about 50% of the stitches, but if someone wanted to wear the hat, it would need to be replaced. "



















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J. Hückel´s Söhne Flexible Melone, Size 6 1/4 Point, Brim 2 inches, Crown 5 inches, Weight 5.46 oz, Very good condition with original box (missing lid). The liner color is a unique light magenta. Probably from the 1930s maybe the 1920s. The city (Reichenberg) where the shop that sold it was located is now (Liberec) in the Czech Republic.












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In the 1930s J. Hückel´s Söhne was fond of coordinating sweatband, felt and liner colors on their soft felt models. As far as I know this was unique / fantastic feature.










A very unique one. This is a canvas sweatband which was most likely due to war time rationing.




By the way this is the hat!



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This is an article by one of the founders of Hückel Weilheim. It appeared in the January / February 2008 edition of "Geschichte und Kultur"




Images from Memory


Rita Gnadl , born Tengler remembers ...


Firm J. Hückels Söhne Neutitschein


The company J. Hückel's Sons , Neutitschein was founded in 1799 by Johann Nepomuk Hückel . It was harder to start a company the back then. In 1938 , when the war begins , branches Ratibor , Skoczów and Vienna branch were at the company at the main plant in Neutitschein , about 4,000 workers and employees ( at the company they were called officers) employed .


My father was already manager in Ratibor. He and his brothers Anton and Randolf had already completed their apprenticeship with success in Hückel . After the war the factory was nationalized and then was called "TONAK “. We were expelled and managed to relocate to Bavaria. By chance one of the owners Mr. Fritz Hückel had a summer house in Ammersee in Holzhausen near Utting.


When we arrived in Bavaria via Berlin my father met with Mr. Hückel who made a loan of RM 1,000 to start a new company . My father, mother, and brother Roman moved into a furnished two room apartment in Weilheim / Upper Bavaria. My father then set up a meeting with the Mayor of Weilheim to discuss a possible location for the business.


At Marienplatz Weilheim there was a department store Buxbaum. The acting director Mr. Trieber offered us a garage in the backyard and a small room in the department store as an office. I first took over all the office work while my father tried to hire some employees who have previously worked in the company. The first to arrive was former employee Mr. Mark who with my father would work to clean and shape hats.


The garage had only an old iron furnace (unfortunately it only had two legs instead of 3) for heat . Mr. Trieber gave us a clothes rack made of wood that Mr. Mark converted to a dry box. In the garbage area behind the town cemetery we found an old boiling pot which a plumber on Krumper street converted into a useful to us steamer for the hats. The Wegener hat factory gave us old blocks and flanges. We arranged with Mr. Trieber for a collection point in the department store take in used hats that needed cleaning and reprocessing.


Then came the day of opening and we got to work. We even found a hat seamstress (which is not found today) from Ratibor. I then washed the first hats in our basin. We had nothing and had to improvise a lot. We got detergent - where I do not know - and I attempted to clean the hats. I had every hat treated separately, because it was almost entirely dark colors, the bleeding made them off colored. When the hats were almost dry I put them in the workshop where Mr. Mark continued the cleaning process. Mr. Ing. Christianus , who was also a long time employee of the company came , made drawings of the shop after work (see sketch on following page) . Officially, I was female hat worker but I was not allowed to say that I have never done this job before. Office workers back then were hardly needed.


My father tried to continue to labor from home. In Dingolfing now Mr. Karl Zenner (in Neutitschein he was head machinist) , acquired old hat machines and got them in working order. This took a long time but the machines were eventually shipped to Weilheim where we had acquired the Dornier factory building. The Dornier factory space was converted to hat making. Meanwhile, the repair of old hats had proven pitiful. We also had a hard time buying rabbit fur felt for the new hats.


Several more former employees joined the company and we left the garage and went into the great hall of Dornier. We expanded the production and business flourished. We also signed up former representatives of the company that had former customer contacts.




(1946) Company started in a garage in the middle of Weilheim. A sketch by Ing. Christianus drawn as it looked in 1946.

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