A Century of Hats and the Hats of the Century (click here for full-text PDF) by Edward Mott Woolley is a funny little volume published in 1923 by The Mallory Hat Company of Danbury, Connecticut. With only 40-some pages of text, it is an interesting company history of Mallory hats from its foundation by Ezra Mallory in 1823 to its modern governance and factory methods. In addition to the basic story, the text is illustrated with some wonderful engravings.
The basic history presented in this volume is triumphant and whiggish. It is told as the inevitable rise of the company from humble beginnings to a large industrial concern – aka, the standard American dream. Once that stage is reached in the story, the narrative switches and becomes about how modern hats are made. The emphasis is on the mechanization (at several points, this is stressed because of the lack of highly skilled workers) and the speed of production. Then, towards the end of the slim volume, it becomes a short history of the stylistic development of hats (see image) … mainly the selection of hats that was made in Danbury but also ranging through some of the more important styles worn/made elsewhere.
Overall, this is an amusing little volume for those who have an interest in things related to headwear, especially since you can download the whole text.