Dating Stetsons by Company Crests, Stetson Logos and Hat Liners

-By Warner Todd Huston

We’ve already discussed how to get a feel for the manufacturing date of a Stetson hat using Stetson size tags and leather sweatbands as well as re-order and inventory tags. Now we will take a look at how Stetson company logos and crests and the liners inside their hats changed over the decades and how these points can also be used as a dating tool.

Welcome searchers of history and information about men’s hats, fedoras, top hats, derbies and bowlers, and, more specifically, Stetson history. If you’ve landed on this page, chances are you found us through a Google search as our pages now rank on the very first page for most search questions on hat history. For that we are shocked and grateful.

One of the reasons you found us, though, is because information on hats is not just hard to find, it is very, very hard to find. But on these pages you’ll find much of what you need to know and resources to look elsewhere for other great info, too.

A Glossary of Hat Terms, Words, Definitions, And Styles

All the hat terms you need to know to understand the world of hats and hat wearing.

Stetson Quality Designations, Just
What Do Those Xs Mean, Anyway?

Everyone wants to know what the heck Stetson means by those “genuine” Xs. Here we endeavor to answer that question.

Observations on Fedora Sweatbands,
Size Tags, and Fedora Dating Tips

Wherein we help you date your Stetson using the tags noted.

Dating Stetson Hats By Inventory Tag

These tags are another of the many ways to track down a date of a Stetson hat.

A Tour of My Collection of Antique Stetson Western Hats

This fascinating page has detailed photos of Stetson cowboy hat collection. These hats were made from the late 1800s, through the 1900s.

So… What’s the Deal With Those Stetson Hats, Huston?

This is an interesting walk through my personal collection of antique fedoras. Please enjoy the journey.

And now on with Dating Stetsons by Company Crests, Stetson Logos and Hat Liners…

As America’s civil war ground to a close in 1865 and the post war rebuilding period got underway, a new era of advertising began–one with which we are still very familiar in our time. Today we call this “branding,” the idea of associating a product with its maker in order to urge customers to acquire brand loyalty. But this branding is not new to our modern era. In fact, it began in the late 1800s and Stetson became experts in this new way of doing business.

Now, as with the other ways of dating hats, these guidelines rarely give exact dates. Sometimes they give a decade, sometimes a few decades, other times only an “era,” if you will (i.e. a time before or after a particular date). Keep in mind that using logos and liners is just one more tool to help date a hat.

Stetson Logos and Company Crests

There are two basic Stetson crests for most hats that still exist today. Certainly there were all sorts of variations in the fine points of the drawing of the crest from hat to hat and era to era but there was really only two basic styles of the official company crest. Essentially there was one with stars and the later one with a maple leaf instead of stars. This logo can also help you date a hat but only in a single point of demarcation–a before and after time period.

The most well know Stetson crest lasted from the 1890s/1900s to about 1950 or so. Then a second one took over after that.

The logo above appeared in a Stetson straw boater from the 1930s. Notice that the shield has a field of stars in the upper left hand corner near the beaver figure.

By about 1950 or so Stetson made a small alteration in its crest. See the change below from a 1950s era Stetson 3X fedora. Look closely and you’ll notice a maple leaf in that upper left hand corner instead of the field of stars.

So, that was the big change between the 1890s and the end of the Stetson era. Some collectors posit that the maple leaf was added when Stetson enlarged its Canadian manufacturing presence. But I have no proof of this claim. It sounds good, though, doesn’t it?

One thing is sure, most of the Stetson hats made by license in Canada are from the 1950s and 60s. So, maybe that is the reason Stetson added the maple leaf? I guess it’s as good a theory as any. We will likely never know exactly why the change was made.

Other Stetson Liner Logo Variations

Now, along with the common stars or maple leaf versions of the Stetson logo, the company also used many other logos and variations of the crest over the decades. Below is an array of some of the various logos Stetson used over the decades. This is in no way an exhaustive list as Stetson had hundreds of logos and crown imprints. But these are some of the most common ones and the eras in which they appeared.

The Oldest Stetson Crests

There were a bunch of crests and imprint designs used before the 1890s, though. Hats with these crests and markings are practically non-existent out there, unfortunately. These different logos were used even up to like 1920, or so, before the beaver/griffin version took over permanently.

These logos are from an advertisement card issued during the nation’s Centennial year in 1876.

This one was in a late 1800s era collapsible (Gibus) top hat.Notice the address. The 1108 Chestnut Street showroom closed in 1913. So, this hat was made before 1913 at least.

This is the liner inside a Stetson top hat made after 1913.We know that date because Stetson opened its new retail store at 1224 Chestnut St., Philadelphia on Feb. 13, 1913. Notice the animal motifs are different than the beaver/griffin used more often later on.

*Thanks to the Fedora Lounge for the above images.

The Stetson Exposition Logo

Stetson won some prizes in the late 1800s and up to 1900 at the international expositions in Paris. The company proudly informed hat buyers of these prestigious awards in the liners of their hats between the 1870s and up until sometime in the 1920s.

This logo is from a late 1800s era Stetson Collapsible (Gibus) Top Hat.

This is essentially the same logo as above, but a more clearly printed version as found in a Stetson Silk Top Hat from the late 1800s.

A Paris 1889 expo logo found in a high derby from the 1890s.

This logo is from an early 1900s era Stetson Top Hat.

This logo is from between 1900 and 1910 or so.

This logo is from around 1915.

By the 1920s Stetson began to use “The Avenue” as a model name but was still using the exposition medal logos. This is from a 1920s derby.

This logo is from the late 20s “The Avenue” model fedora.

Stetson Logos from the 1930s

In the 1930s, Stetson changed its quality designations. These particular quality level designations only lasted during the 30s before Stetson again altered its quality naming scheme. In the 30s Stetson used the following designations: from the low end up came Standard Quality; Excellent Quality; Select Quality; Superior Quality; and Extra Quality. (Stetson also continued to use 3X, 4X, 5X and 7X quality during these periods, especially for western hats.)

Here are a few examples of the 30s era liner or inside crown logos:

This logo is from the liner of a 30s era Excellent Quality fedora.

This is a tip-in logo from 30s era Select Quality fedora (see below about tip-ins).

Stetson Logos from the 1940s

By the time the 1940s dawned, Stetson again changed its quality designations, but this time the company would stick with the basic appellations all the way until today. By 1940 the quality designations became Royal; Royal De Luxe; Medalist; Sovereign; Imperial; and Premier. (Stetson continued to use 3X, 4X, 7X and then added Twenty-Five, Forty, Fifty, and One-Hundred, especially in westerns, but the latter few were also used in fedoras.)

The 1940s era Royal Stetson.

The 1940s era Royal De Luxe Stetson.

The 1940s era Imperial Stetson.

Stetson Logos from the 1950s

As noted above, Stetson replaced the star shield logo with the maple leaf shield logo. Here are a few of those 1950s era liner logos.

Now, you’ll notice that many of these liners have clear plastic over the logo in the crown. This is a post Korean War development. After 1953 Stetson and other hat manufacturers began to place clear plastic over their logos in crown liners. One reason for this was because men were using a lot of heavy hair creams and these hair treatments often badly stained hat liners. The clear plastic was an attempt to make liners stay stain free for a longer period of time.

The 1950s era Royal Stetson Whippet.

The 1950s era Royal De Luxe Stetson.

The 1950s era Stetson No. 1 Quality Western.

The 1950s era Stetson Twenty-Five.

The 1950s era Stetson One Hundred.

Stetson Logos from the 1960s

An early 1960s era Stetson 3X Quality liner.

A 1960s era Stetson logo.

An early 1960s era Stetson Twenty-Five Liner.

Stetson’s “Last Drop” Liner

The “Last Drop” crown liner was a recurring image for Stetson from the 1950s onward. The first “Last Drop” liner was an elaborate embroidered affair. But by the 1970s and 80s the company moved to a screen printed style to save production costs.

A 1950s era Stetson “Last Drop” embroidered liner.

An early 1970s era Stetson printed “Last Drop” liner.

Stetson’s “Last Drop” printed liner from the late 1970s on into the 1990s.

Stetson’s “Last Drop” embroidered liner from an expensive 30X El Patron western made in the 1990s or 2000s. This is a $600 hat.

Post 1960s Stetson Logos

A mid to late 1960s or early 70s Stetson liner logo.

The liner from a Stetson Nostalgia model hat from the late 1990s.

The liner from a Stetson Stratoliner model hat from 2011.

A Few Stetson “Tip-In” Labels

It should be noted that Stetson did not always include a liner in its hats. In some cases the company only glued a paper sticker or a cloth label into the crown of a hat. This was usually done only when the hat was supposed to be a summer hat or a light weight hat. Often it was deemed that putting in a full liner added too much weight to the hat or would make it too hot for summer wear. Regardless, Stetson still wanted to have its advertisement inside the hat, so a sticker or cloth label was glued into the crown to serve that purpose. In other instances the logo was actually printed right onto the felt instead of onto a liner or label that was glued inside the crown.

Below are a few examples of this treatment, I call these labels “tip-ins.”

A cloth label glued into the crown of a 1900 made Stetson bowler.

A tip-in from the early 1940s bearing the Stetson Stratoliner logo.

A tip-in from a 1940s Playboy model. Below you can see the air holes drilled through the felt of the crown denoting that this was a summer weight hat.

And here is an example of the logo being actually printed right onto the felt. This in a 1940s era Stratoliner.

Some Other Crown Liner Examples

A high derby from the 1890s.

Liner from a Penn Craft derby from the 1930s.

Notice the fancy pleats in the silk in the two liners above? This sort of flourish started to go away as time moved on, as the hat industry became more invested in systems of mass production, and as the industry sought ways to cut costs.

By the mid 1940s, liners were a little more utilitarian in many ways, but one thing that began to show up around this period is some sort of protective film over the company logo in the top of the crown. This was added by many hat makers to keep their company logos clean and readable as more and more men began to use hair treatments that often discolored hat liners. On the Stetson Whippet below, for instance, you can see a translucent, yellow covering made of a sort of oil cloth material. It was opaque, not clear but you could still see the company logo through it.

The liner from a 1940s Edward Biskup fedora. Note that it is covered in an oil skin-like protector. These came about in the mid 1940s and were eventually replaced by the clear plastic protectors starting in 1953.

A liner from a 1950s Borsalino fedora. Borso is one of Italy’s best hat makers and is known the world over for high quality.

A Dobbs hat company Hankachif Weight Felt fedora from the 1950s.

A Knox hat company Twenty from the 1950s.

A Lee hat company White Label quality fedora from the 1950s.

Other interesting sites on logos and liners:

Adam Hat Company Liners

For detailed info about Dobbs, Knox, Cavanagh, and Crofut and Knapp hat companies and dating of same, see the The Hatted Professor

More Hat Related Posts

“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
–Samuel Johnson

Follow Warner Todd Huston on:

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s,, and, as well as,,,, among many, many others. Huston has also appeared on Fox News, Fox Business Network, CNN, and many local TV shows as well as numerous talk radio shows throughout the country.

For a full bio, please CLICK HERE.

Copyright Publius Forum 2001