Artist/maker unknown, American
While this early to mid-century example appears extreme, top hats in a tremendous variety of shapes were the headgear of choice for respectable and fashionable men throughout the nineteenth century. The high-crowned, cylindrical style was usually black, although light colors were worn during the day. Silk plush versions were the shiniest, often made of felted beaver fur, rabbit fur, or wool, with a rough or smooth finish. Plaited straw was also used for informal summer wear.