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  1. #1
    Grizzled Grave Robber Knight of the Round Table Gunslinger's Avatar
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    Original Raiders Era Herbert Johnson Hero Hat

    I've got an old hat that may be of interest to some of you...

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    Yep. For me, short of having the ACTUAL hero hat, this is the Holy Grail of Indy hats. These are pretty hard to come by. I just lucked out in finding one from an online vintage clothing shop. It is such an uncanny feeling having this in your hands, and checking it out in person. Beyond the undeniable block shape that's pure Raiders and nothing else, all the little quirks and details that we've been obsessing over for years just smash you in the face.

    I'm going to step through a bunch of observations to give you a feel for it, and how it's different to every replica out there in ways that are difficult to replicate.

    D700_20160131_132050.jpg

    This particular hat's front bash is only 4" high. This lends a fair bit of weight to what I've been saying for a fair while that there is no way the hat could be as high as the 4.5" some have said in the past. I've tried to nudge the bash upwards towards 4.25", and that's plausible at a stretch. I don't want to properly apply much effort to do this, as I want to keep it as original as possible.

    The front brim is 2.9", not the commonly accepted 3". Sides are about 2.8" - 2.9". Back is 2.9"

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    You will see that the "camel humps" are nice and full, per moments like the "Well of Souls" scene where Indy looks down and you see the same uneven lumping.

    D700_20160131_130842.jpg

    Here you can see a crazy amount of dimpling along the centre line of the bash. Again, you can see this in a bunch of shots in Raiders, but is very hard to get a hat to do unless you pinch them in manually. In the actual hat, they just pop there like that the second you try to press the bash into place. This is because the felt is really thin, but incredibly both pliable and rigid. (I know - hard to explain!) It's thinner than earlier British hats, and less porous than subsequent hats.

    D700_20160131_130604.jpg

    In many of these shots, it looks like the hat has tapered (or is too tapered to live up to people's idea of what the real Raiders hat was like). The facts show something in between. First, the sweatband is stunningly lacking in any firmness. There really is practically no reinforcing to hold the hat as an oval shape. So when you just sit it there, it flares out at the sides. Per my earlier theory, it shows that the look we see in the film is entirely dependent on the shape of Harrison Ford's head (a longer oval), which helps to pop the sides to almost vertical, and a bunch of shots where the light is coming from behind the hat, which in combination with the crazy angles and weird felt properties, creates the reverse-taper effect.

    D700_20160131_134130.jpg

    Did I mention the felt is really, REALLY thin? Easily the most crushable, thin felt I've ever handled, and the source of all the quirkiness we've discussed for years.

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    For example - look familiar? This crease along the back ribbon top was preinstalled for me, courtesy of it being squashed a bit in the shipping box. It would take zero effort to make the same "SoC" crease along the side, which has happened by accident a little already.

    D700_20160131_130758.jpg

    We've also noted a weird lumpiness in the film hat's front centre brim, close to the ribbon. Present and accounted for here as well. (Kind of hard to catch in the light, though). Seems to be because of the way the brim is shaped, and then flipped down at the front. The tension in the brim break combined with all the angles and the felt's properties makes it want to create this sort of lump.

    D700_20160131_130858.jpg

    Man, the "turn" can really pop the brim up. You can see in the first shot of me wearing the hat above, the brim really wants to pop up there, and I didn't have it turned much at all. The best way to describe the brim is crazy-mobile and really light and curvy.

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    Don't even get me started on the ribbon!

    D700_20160131_132124.jpg

    Again - showing the crazy amount of texture that can pop. It actually isn't quite as bad as it appears - I was angling the hat at right angles to the sun to make sure you could see the way it can be given such character so easily. A bit of massaging and these dents are smoothed out.

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    Last edited by Gunslinger; 01-31-2016 at 02:20 PM.
    "Go then, there are other worlds than these." ~ Jake Chambers

  2. #2
    Grizzled Grave Robber Knight of the Round Table Gunslinger's Avatar
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    Re: Original Raiders Era Herbert Johnson

    Ok, now for some fun comparisons and observations vs. other felts.

    D700_20160131_130404.jpg

    This is against one of my hats with a Steele & Jones body. First, let me note that the shape is MUCH closer than it looks in these shots. It was a windy day when I shot these, and I was mostly preoccupied that the hats not all blow off the wall into our swimming pool, so I didn't notice that the fine the HJ was sitting on set it at a weird angle vs the other hats. BUt notice how much the colour seems WAY crazy-different.

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    I've spoken before about how modern felts seem to skew weirdly on camera in a way that old hats don't - or vice-versa. HJ Sable from about the mid eighties and earlier is different to subsequent ones - though I don't know when they changed, as I haven't had a British hat made post 1987.

    But below, on the left is a brand new S&J body, still on the block (it's been on it for months now - I really am time-poor), then going clockwise, this Raiders HJ, then another HJ - this time mid eighties if I recall - very similar felt, but not quite as thin if I recall from before I reblocked it - then another HJ from 1976 - a Trilby - very interesting, as it is MUCH thicker felt that matches the other HJ's I've had from about 1950 forward, then finally the HJ / S&J mashup hat that I've worn in all manner of weather and is looking appropriately weathered.

    So here's the thing - see how the S&J felt totally looks different? - it isn't to the eye. Weirdly, the 3 lots of HJ Sable felt look just as different to each other as they do against either of the S&J's.

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    Also weirdly, the Raiders HJ is noticeably colder looking than the other ones of a similar era - perhaps it's purely down to it seeing less sun over its life. It really doesn't seem to have been used much, if at all. The ribbon is coming apart from the fine thread tacks disintegrating, not use. The sweatband and liner show no signs of actual wear.

    But my point is, despite this, they don't look as different to each other in person as they do on camera. And here you can also see how the thickness of the trilby's felt affects the look - that front pinch can't help but be so much thicker.

    D700_20160131_130330.jpg

    L-R: Mid 1980's HJ (reblocked), 1976 HJ Trilby, Raiders HJ, S&J / HJ Mashup. To m eye, the funny thing is that the real Raiders looks the least Raiders, colour-tone-wise.

    Remember, 3 out of 4 of these are "Sable" - kind of inconsistent across a 10 year period, huh?

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    Side-note that this Raiders HJ is marked Size 7 / 57cm whereas these other hats are 58.

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    Last edited by Gunslinger; 01-31-2016 at 11:23 AM.
    "Go then, there are other worlds than these." ~ Jake Chambers

  3. #3

    Re: Original Raiders Era Herbert Johnson

    I find it amazing how great it looks inside. What's the ribbon width? Could it be the same width of those grey hats in Raiders? (Indy's, and the nazi ones, which I belive, one of those, the unbashed, is the same Indy wore before, as you can see the hat was creased before) I belive those hats have wider ribbons than Indy's, the same than Thot's hat...

    Beside that, the crown looks very Raiders. The brims are too wide for me, but that's just my opinion.

    And I'd keep it just as it is. I wouldn't modify any of it. It belongs in a museum, though it could be used some time, also...congrats on that acquisition!

  4. #4
    Grizzled Grave Robber Knight of the Round Table Gunslinger's Avatar
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    Re: Original Raiders Era Herbert Johnson

    Thanks mate - yes it's in excellent condition. I'm not going to do anything at all to it, believe me!

    The ribbon is 43/44mm.

    Crown height is approx 5 3/8".
    "Go then, there are other worlds than these." ~ Jake Chambers

  5. #5

    Re: Original Raiders Era Herbert Johnson

    OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    This is AMAZING!

    First, congratulations. I know you've put a lot of time and effort to find this. And you finally did it.
    Second, thank you so much for sharing.


    Ok, let's deconstruct this sucker!!!

    1) There's any inside sticker with HJ info? Year, color, size? Can we see?

    2) Perhaps the felt color behind the liner looks slightly darker...or maybe behind the ribbon. Maybe you should try some picture shots with filters. I see it too damn light.

    3) I think the crown it's perfect. Totally Raiders.

    4) IMO that's the original brim width. Before the dimensional cut.

    5) IMO that's the original ribbon, before Nadoolman asked to be changed to a narrower one....right?


    Cheers!

  6. #6

    Re: Original Raiders Era Herbert Johnson Hero Hat

    That is just AWESOME!! Nice find and congrats. Very exciting.

    As Diego mentioned I would sure like to hear - and see - everything you can tell us about it!

    I often wonder how many of these are sitting in someone's attic or basement without anyone knowing what they have...

  7. #7

    Re: Original Raiders Era Herbert Johnson Hero Hat

    Capital letters on the sweatband = the same as in the screen-used Raiders hat (described by Desi)

    The felt color looks exactly like this pictures of your S&J:
    http://www.fortuneandglory.org/threa...ll=1#post26341

  8. #8
    Grizzled Grave Robber Knight of the Round Table Gunslinger's Avatar
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    Re: Original Raiders Era Herbert Johnson

    Quote Originally Posted by Indiego Jones View Post
    1) There's any inside sticker with HJ info? Year, color, size? Can we see?

    2) Perhaps the felt color behind the liner looks slightly darker...or maybe behind the ribbon. Maybe you should try some picture shots with filters. I see it too damn light.

    3) I think the crown it's perfect. Totally Raiders.

    4) IMO that's the original brim width. Before the dimensional cut.

    5) IMO that's the original ribbon, before Nadoolman asked to be changed to a narrower one....right?
    1) no sticker that i can see - it has a number 7 in a circle printed onto the inner felt in white paint where the sticker normally is. If i recall, the ToD hat I had a few years ago had a similar mark.
    2) i dont think it is, but will check and povide pics if it is different.
    3) yes. it is.
    4) yep.
    5) thats right. again,
    "Go then, there are other worlds than these." ~ Jake Chambers

  9. #9
    Grizzled Grave Robber Knight of the Round Table Gunslinger's Avatar
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    Re: Original Raiders Era Herbert Johnson Hero Hat

    Quote Originally Posted by Ram Man View Post
    That is just AWESOME!! Nice find and congrats. Very exciting.

    As Diego mentioned I would sure like to hear - and see - everything you can tell us about it!

    I often wonder how many of these are sitting in someone's attic or basement without anyone knowing what they have...
    Thanks mate. happy to answer any questions.
    "Go then, there are other worlds than these." ~ Jake Chambers

  10. #10
    Grizzled Grave Robber Knight of the Round Table Gunslinger's Avatar
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    Re: Original Raiders Era Herbert Johnson Hero Hat

    Reporting that the original Raiders block height was 140mm high. The felt was 2.5mm thick.

    I've been checking and triple-checking the hat and transposing all details from this original Raiders Herbert Johnson. So in other words, if you take a hat and measure it from the top of the brim, and deduct 2.5mm, you will get 137.5mm.

    I am currently manually tracing every cross-section of this hat, and cross-transposing each section in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator (in case there was any warping in the 35 years since it was manufactured) in order to get a complete 3D map of the hat, and therefore the original block. (The block being 2mm smaller than the resulting hat body all over, if that makes sense, due to the thickness of the felt used.) I now have the first cross section - side to side.

    Interestingly it in no way matches images posted by another hatter on another forum a good 7 years ago, of a hat that he described as a vintage Herbert Johnson. The sides of that alleged vintage HJ were very straight up-and-down. However, I have found that my very pristine, vintage HJ's sides actually have a reasonable amount of side taper. That means the original block also had a reasonable amount of side taper, too. So not at all straight-sided.

    Yet once bashed and put on your head, from a few different angles, this original HJ totally presents as having a straight-up-and-down look. In other words, in looking at the Raiders hat, one would mistakenly THINK it would have a straight-up-and-down block - but it doesn't. All of which I find FASCINATING.

    Next up will be front to back, and then 3 more points in between, so I will have 16 cross-checked curves all together by the time I'm done.
    Last edited by Gunslinger; 06-11-2016 at 06:25 AM.
    "Go then, there are other worlds than these." ~ Jake Chambers

 

 
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