Newport, (Monmouthshire)

AMIDST the mass of information daily presented to the public in the shape of Periodicals, &c., in which are exposed to public view the science, the mystery, and art of the various branches of British Manufacture, there is no branch of Manufacture about which the public know so little-no article of dress, of the quality of which the people are so little informed, as a HAT. This want of information acts as a screen to prevent the detection of unprincipled Dealers; thus, whilst the public are imposed on, the honest Manufacturer is injured in his trade. HATS are usually divided by Manufacturers into two kinds, viz., Beaver and Silk, of which there are different qualities, according to the difference of material of which they are composed. BEAVER HATS are divided into STUFFS, SHORT NAPS, and PLATES the former range in price from I2s, to 21s.; the bodies of these are composed of Rabbit Fur, Saxony and Spanish Wools, &c., stiffened with varnish composed of various gum resins, dissolved in alcohol, by which they are rendered waterproof; the Nap is composed of Beaver, Newtre, Hares’ fur, &c. which is regulated according to the price at which the article is sold; a good known by the fineness and evenness of make, particularly it should be firm in the brim and square, or edge of the crown, and when held in the hand by the brim, with the crown upwards, should easily bear its own weight.
SHORT NAPS are an imitation of the Stuff Hat; the bodies are usually composed of Saxony Wool alone, and the nap composed of Newtre, Musk, and Hares’ Fur; the stiffening is similar to that of the Stuff Hat, and manner of judging it the same they are often sold for Stuff Hats, and in some instances the imitation is so good, that they cannot be detected by a judge, without the precaution of raising the leather, when the interior surface of the Hat presents a roughness not to be found in the Stuff Hat they range in price from 8s. to 12s.
The other kind of Beaver Hat is called the WATERPROOF PLATED, or FUR HAT; the body is composed of English Wool, stiffened with varnish composed of gums similar to those used in the Manufacture of Stuff Hats; the nap is composed of the fur of the Rabbit and the Hare; their quality is known in the same way as the Stuff Hat; they usually range in price from 4s. to 7s., and are a good article when properly made, but there is a spurious imitation of this article usually sold by Drapers, against which the public will do well to take care they resemble in outward appearance the Waterproof Plated or Fur Hat, and their chief difference is, that instead of being stiffened with waterproof varnish, they are stiffened with paste and glue in dry weather they become hard, and break and in wet weather they become soft, and lose their shape, the wet drawing the glue into the nap, they are spoiled. In order to detect this imposition, raise up the lining—it they are stiffened with varnish, the inside surface will be clean and black, but if stiffened with glue it will be of a dirty-whitish colour, encrusted with the paste and glue; those glue-stiffened Hats are, therefore, not worth anything, however well they are made.

SILK HATS are of different qualities, bearing different names, according to the quality of the body or the plush with which the bodies are covered, viz., Paris, French, or Satin-napped Hats, Imitation ditto, or Velvet-napped Hats, Gossamer Hats and Imitation Gossamers; the bodies of the Satin-napped Hats are usually composed of Felted Wool and Rabbit Fur, or calico or Linen stiffened with waterproof varnish, can be purchased from 12s. to 16s., and in some instances as high as 20s.; and are a very good article when well made, and particularly when made on felted bodies; they more closely resemble the Beaver and are not so liable as inferior qualities of Beaver to become rough with the heat of the sun; they are judged in the same way as the Beaver, by their firmness and elasticity, beauty of colour and finish. The Imitation Paris, or Velvet-napped Hare—the bodies are made of similar materials to the French, the covering of plush is chiefly manufactured in England, and when well-made they closely resemble the Short-napped Beaver, and are not inferior to them in point of durability or appearance they range in price from 7s to 12s
The common or GOSSAMER HAT is so called in consequence of the body being made of calico, stiffened with varnish, and the plush or covering of an inferior quality of English manufacture to the former; they range in price from 5s. to 7s., and when well-made usually wear well but there is also a spurious imitation of this article the public would do well to guard against, the bodies being made of Willow, Chip, or Straw, which, as a stiffening in itself, is cheaper than those bodies which require to be stiffened with varnish; the plush is usually stuck on with paste or glue, and are in every respect as bad an article as the glue- stiffened Plate; they are easily detected by the purchaser lifting up the lining, when the Willow, Chip, or Straw will appear; sometimes the inside of the Willow body is covered with thin muslin, but on close examination the trick is easily detected but in all cases it is better to purchase from the Hat Manufacturer, whose character as a fair trader, ability as a Manufacturer, and willingness to explain to any Purchaser the nature of the materials of which his Goods are composed, cannot fail to secure the confidence of an enlightened people.
Monmouthshire Merlin, 19.8.1843