Indiana Jones favored a high-crowned, wide-brimmed sable fedora through many of his adventures, sometimes risking his own life to make sure he retained it. He also wore gray fedoras but the sable hat he was given as a teenager was the one with which he had most sentiment for.
And this is also my favourite hat of all times. So what follows is really an ode to it.
Indiana Jones is well-known for his trademark fedora hat. Indy’s fedora was based on a style known as “The Poet” which had been in continuous production since the 1890s. Herbert Johnson in London was the company who supplied the fedoras for the trilogy. They can still be purchased today, for the taste of around $300.00, from their shop in London.
With each Indy film a new shape to the fedora came with it. Here is a breakdown of the different styles:
The Raiders of the Lost Ark hat appears to be the tallest, yet not as tall as most people think. The crown was a 5 1/2″ crown that looked straight sided, wide brim, with very little rounding at the top. The brim also has a dramatic swoop in it, particularly noticeable when the hat is pulled down towards the eyes.
While Herbert Johnson did make the hats used in the movies, their standard hat arrives slightly too tall, at 5 3/4″, instead of 5 1/2″. Some fans when acquiring Indy attire want the name, but one should keep in mind that there are several other hatters available who do an outstanding job of creating an Indy hat. Many hats can be found in the correct specs and often for much less money.
With the filming of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indy’s hat took a few twists of its own. Herbert Johnson didn’t use a new model to create their Indy hats. What some people mistakenly imply is that Stetson also provided Indy’s hat. This is one of the more common rumours; they did not provide any hat for this movie. Again all Indy’s famous lids came from Herbert Johnson. This movie’s hat showed a lot of resemblance to the Raiders hat, yet missing the tighter front pinch. Another interesting fact is that the current Herbert Johnson, at its standard 5 3/4″ open and unstyled height, is correct for the Temple of Doom fedora.
While Temple of Doom was playing in the theatres, fedoras were produced commercially in conjunction with its release. Stetson had their hats crafted in two locations, Austria and the United States. The Austria hats were noticeably different, made with a finer quality of felt, not coarse, like the U.S. versions. In 1988 Stetson stopped selling their Indy hats, and let their license of the merchandising hats expire right before Last Crusade started filming.
With Stetson letting their license expire, Dorfman Pacific hats began to commercialize the Indy hat, and these hats eventually made their way into Disney theme parks. The hats for the movies were still crafted by Herbert Johnson, and are now actually more straight sided than the Raiders hat. This due to the fact the top dent is bashed differently as is the crown. The LC crease shows more of a triangle shape with a not so tight front pinch.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade featured scenes of Indy riding a horse to get after the tank holding his father and Brody, and the fedora flew off Harrison Ford’s head during most of those scenes during shootings. In jest, Ford put a stapler against his head when a documentary crew visited during shooting of Last Crusade. This created the urban legend that Ford stapled the hat to his head, as the fedora continued to stay on his head in further shootings.
The fedoras for Crystal Skull were made by Steve Delk and Marc Kitter of the Adventurebilt Hat Company. The Adventurebilt Hat Company started out making Indiana Jones fedoras for the fans, but ended up being the ultimate winner, having Harrison Ford wear their hats as Indiana Jones in the latest chapter in the Indiana Jones saga.