The standard headwear for school-age American boys in the 1920s was a flat cap. We see more boys wearing them than all other headwear combined. We note a Wards ad for a flat cap. This entry from the Wards' Spring-Summer catalogue, 1926, page 227, shows a boy's flat cap in tree color/pattern options. Such caps were especially popular with boys during the spring and summer months. The boy in the illustration looks to be about 12 years old. These caps are made of woolen material of the kind that was used in boys' dressy suits. They could be matched with the suits. The caps thus could be dressy and worn with knicker or short trousers suits. They could also be used for casual wear.
Although the word "consumerism" has a modern ring, it was personal concern for an early consumer movement, the "National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry," That inspired a young traveling salesman named Aaron Montgomery Ward to start the world's first general merchandise mail-order company in 1872. Aaron Montgomery Ward was born on February 17, 1844, in Chatham, New Jersey, to a family whose forebears had served as officers in the French and Indian Wars as well as in the American Revolution. Looking for something more compatible, Monty left home and followed the river to Lake Michigan and the town of St. Joseph, county seat and market for outlying fruit orchards. Chicago was the center of the wholesale dry goods trade and in the 1860s Ward joined the leading dry goods house, Field Palmer & Leiter. As a retailer, Potter Palmer had previously built a reputation for fair dealing. Ward absorbed these principles while working as a clerk for $5. The Chicago City Directories for 1868 through 1870 listed Ward as a salesman for Wills, Greg & Co. and later for Stetthauers & Wineman, both dry goods houses. In 1870, after canvassing territory in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Ward was again footloose. The plan shaping in Ward's mind was to buy goods at low cost for cash. By eliminating intermediaries, with their markups and commissions, and cutting selling costs to the bone, he could offer goods to people, however remote, at appealing prices - for cash. Since its founding in 1872, the company has literally "grown up with America" and has had a major impact on the shopping habits of a nation of consumers. Montgomery Ward & Co. discontinued its catalog operations in 1985 as part of its restructuring effort to change itself into a modern, competitive chain of value-driven specialty stores, a move which for a time saved the company. week.
I'm not quite sure what these peaked caps are calledm but the most common term is "flat topped" cap. Some are referred to as golf or sgooting caps. They were often made out of tweedy materials. The forerunners of this cap were widely worn by the 16th century. From the beginning there were class conotations associated with this style. They were commonly worn by American boys in the 1920s-30s before baseball caps took over. Boys at the time did not generally wear baseball caps as they were not commonly available in stores and Little League where boys played ball as part of organized, uniformed teams had not yet developed. Most boys wore these tweedy hats or beanies, except during the winter when warmer styles were needed. They were rarely worn by British boys who wore school caps. But they were worn by British men and are generally associated with golf and country wear.
This entry from the Wards' Spring-Summer catalogue, 1926, page 227, shows a boy's flat cap in tree color/pattern options. Such caps were especially popular with boys during the spring and summer months. The boy in the illustration looks to be about 12 years old. These caps are made of woolen material of the kind that was used in boys' dressy suits. They could be matched with the suits. The caps thus could be dressy and worn with knicker or short trousers suits. They could also be used for casual wear.
The ad copy text rerads, "$1.00. A fine Cap for Boys, A Great Value for a Dollar.
Every year we offer our customers a special bargain in a Cap for boys.
But this season we are able to offer you an even better value than ever
beflore. We believe that you get a finer cap here for a dollar than it
is possible to buy anywhere else in America. Almost any retail store
would consider itself unusually fortunate to be able to buy these caps
at wholesale at the low price quoted here. Let us tell you how we can
offer such a high grade cap for a dollar. We arranged for the puchase
of thousands of yards of mill ends--cuttings from high grade all-wool
fabrics which were used in making the finest suits. If this cloth were
bought by the yard, these caps would sell for at least $1.50. Then we
had the caps made up for us by one of the best cap manufacturers in the
country. The cap is correctly made in every detail and has features
you would expect to find only in much higher priced caps. It is well
blocked, sewed and shaped. Full lined with fancy embossed twill and
has soft flexible unbreakable visor. The price is indeed low for such
Sizes: 6 1/4, 6 1/2, 6 5/8, 6 3/4, 7, 7 1/4. State size wanted. Read
"How to Order" on Page 224.
39 D 826--Navy blue Serge $1.00.
39 D 828--Brown checi Suiting $1.00.
39 D 832--Gray check Suiting $1.00.
Postage, 4 cents extra."
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