Pressman’s hats

September 17, 2019

It was Crazy Hat day a few days ago here at Hawthorne Gardens, my new home in assisted-living land. Robert and I are wearing historic hats—the kind worn by generations of newspaper press workers dating back to the 1700s.

At the start of each workday, workers would fold a few sheets of newspaper into a hat that protected their hair in the messy environment of the pressroom.

You can make your own hat—it’s a nice skill to have. A finished hat can be inverted and used as a container. I’ve got one full of potpourri in my apartment.

Here’s a set of instructions I found useful. I first tried making a hat with sheets from The New York Times, but the newspaper is printed on a smaller web and the hat was too small. A bit of fudging—not folding the first flaps all the way to the center— made a hat that fit, but it looked funny.

What worked better was pages from The Oregonian! Even though the paper is a tabloid, the full sheets, each with four tabloid pages, are as big as the broadsheets from ages past. My hat even had the comics on it.

This entry was posted in Create, Journalism, making, Things I made. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Pressman’s hats

  1. Peter Bysom says:

    It’s nice to see your smiling face after, lo, these many years, Fran. Looks as if you are as creative and happy-go-lucky as I recall from past decades. I am well – retired (for the most part) now & hope you are enjoying life (sans the curveballs). Very best wishes from Peter BYSOM. My mother absolutely adored you!!!!

  2. Eva Kearns says:

    You see looking great Fran and I love the hats. My husband and I are living in England now for a few years. Great way to start retirement!

  3. Debbie Pollak says:

    That is so interesting. I have never heard of it. Thank you so much for sharing.

  4. Judy says:

    I remember seeing these at a newspaper tour as a child. I’ve never attempted one, though. Well done!

  5. Anne Bermingham says:

    Hi Frannie, it’s lovely to see a picture of you both in your ‘hats’.
    I hope that you are keeping well. I loved your item and I also took the time to look around at the other pieces that you have written. They are thoughtful and evocative.
    With all best wishes. Annie

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