How Tuberculosis Gave Us The Cowboy Hat
A guy named John was an American hatter, or hat maker, in the mid 1800s.
He lived in New Jersey, where he worked.
At some point, he developed a cough that kept getting worse until, one day, he coughed up blood.
His doctor told him that he had tuberculosis.
The germs that cause tuberculosis are a type of bacteria that grow in the moisture of the lungs.
John's doctor advised him to move out west. Someplace like Colorado or Wyoming.
The air is very dry out there and that sometimes helps kill the bacteria in the lungs.
That's why Doc' Holliday moved out west. But moving out to Wyoming, Colorado, and other dry states did not save Holliday. He still died of TB as most did.
Taking his doctor's advice John pack up and moved to St Joseph Missouri.
Unlike Holliday, the dry air helped John to recover. The move worked.
But while living out west he noticed, 'THE HATS OUT HERE ARE HORRIBLE!'
As a hat maker, john noticed that hats worn at the time were not suited for living and working in the extreme climates of the west.
They did not protect against the hot summer sun, rain, or bitterly cold winter with its ice and snow.
So John sat down and designed something that could cover all of these outdoor problems
What he came up with was unique, and worked well.
The hat was waterproof.
It had a wide brim for the sun but turned up at the ends so a fellow could see to his sides while working. That upturn also helped channel rainwater away from his face.
The “Boss of the Plains” hat was first put on sale in 1865.
That's the hat featured in the video, below.
John's hat quickly became popular and he designed many variations after that.
It was a handy design, which is why it is still worn to this day.
He founded the John B. Stetson Company as a manufacturer of headwear. The company's hats are now commonly referred to simply as Stetsons.
Stetson Hats are still considered the best cowboy hat in the American west.