History of German Hats

Have you ever wondered what the history is behind the German hats?  Or what the significance is behind all the pins and feathers you sometimes see on these hats?  How about all the names they are called?  Tyrolean hats, Austrian hats, Alpine hats, Bavarian hats or just plain German hats?

The history of German hats started in the alps region of Tyrol in the early 19th century.  The crown of the hat tapered to a point in the front and was usually made of green felt.  The brim was roughly four to five inches in width and the crown area usually had a type of corded band.  They were popular among hunters that lived in this area.

Gamsbart Hat Brush
Gamsbart Hat Brush

Feathers, flowers and brushes were worn on the side of these hats for decoration.  The brushes (gamsbart) were very traditional during this time.  For those that don’t know, Gamsbart is the hair from the mountain goat’s lower neck area and were initially worn as a hunting trophy.  The bigger or wider the brush, the manlier and better hunter you were considered.  The brush is held together at the base with tape and a pin and it would fan out towards the top.  These brushes usually are a dark brown in color with white tips.

You may see hats that are called Bavarian hats, Austrian hats or Alpine hats, etc., but the truth is they are all the same.  They all started in Tyrol which covers all of these areas.  Although you may see different variations and styles, they are all fall into the Tyrolean hat category.  Today, you can find German hats for as little as $5 on up to hundreds.  They can be made from almost any type of material.

Alpine Bavarian German Hat
Alpine Bavarian German Hat

Today, German hats are the icon of Germany and its traditions.  So many different styles have evolved over the years as well as large assortments of decorative hat feathers, pins and brushes.  Pins are collected from special places or cities that have special meanings and worn on the hat as a reminder of a special event or place.  Tyrolean hats are not just worn during the Oktoberfests or special celebrations anymore, although that’s when you’ll see the majority of them.