Hat Corporation of America


SKU: 1076rd
Product Details


Nicely engraved antique stock certificate from the Hat Corporation of America dating back to the 1930's. This document, which contains the printed signatures of the company President and Secretary, was printed by the American Bank Note Company and measures approximately 12" (w) by 8" (h).


The vignette features a pair of allegorical angelic figures flanking the company's intertwined initials.


You will receive the exact certificate pictured.

    Historical Context

    John J. Cavanagh went to work for William A. Brown hatters of Norwalk at the age of 17. He worked as a sizer, trimmer, finisher, expert cutter, curler, and plant superintendent. In 1880 he began working for Crofut & Knapp, where he was mentored by James H. Knapp. By 1907, Cavanagh was vice-president of Crofut & Knapp, and from 1923–1937, he was President of the company.

    In 1928 Cavanagh created the company of Cavanagh-Dobbs Inc., which included his own hat label, Cavanagh Hats, and a retail outlet in New York City, John Cavanagh Ltd.

    In 1932, he founded the Hat Corporation of America, merging his brands with Knox & Dunlap. In 1934 the Cavanagh Hat Research Corporation was founded to research materials and manufacturing methods to benefit the industry. He gave his name to a method of finishing hat brims known as the Cavanagh Edge. Cavanagh's other innovations included introducing regular, long and wide-oval fitting hats to enable customers to find better-fitting ready-to-wear hats. In 1939 John Cavanagh was awarded a Neiman Marcus Fashion Award in recognition of his services to the American hat industry.

    He retired in 1947, though retained an honorary vice-presidency, and died in 1957. His son, J. Garvan Cavanagh, inherited vice presidency of the company, but left in 1961 to become a Roman Catholic priest.

    Al Webb, who joined the company after the Second World War, was by 1961 Vice President of Sales for the Hat Corporation of America. Like J. Garvan Cavanagh, he was a close personal friend of John F. Kennedy, whose dislike of wearing hats had led to a downfall in hat sales. At a 1961 PT boat reunion in Washington, DC, Webb accused his friend of having ruined the American hat industry, and in response, Kennedy began carrying a hat around with him with the Cavanagh Hats label clearly visible. The first incidence of this was when Kennedy met with Dwight D. Eisenhower on April 22, 1961, at Camp David.