Top Hat

September 7, 2017



Artist/Manufacturer: Thomas M. Seeds

c. 1895


Thomas M. Seeds was a native Philadelphian. His father was a hatter who began teaching Thomas the trade at a young age. By the time he was 20, Thomas was making and selling hats. According to an 1868 advertisement, Seeds’ hats were “made to order.” Thomas Seeds passed away in 1898, having been in the hat business for almost half a century.


In Victorian American culture, wearing a hat was a must. An old adage at the time was “only a beggar goes round bareheaded.” There were many rules governing gentlemen and their hats. According to Rules of Etiquette & Home Culture (1893), for example, “in bowing to a lady a gentleman should remove his hat with the hand furthest from her. One gentleman does not remove his hat when bowing to another gentleman, unless the latter is much older than himself.”


In addition to this top hat, Dr. Physick also owned one made by the Stetson Company. Although that hat is not in the Physick Estate Collection, we do have the box from 1913 in which it was shipped.


Look for the Seeds top hat and Stetson hatbox in Dr. Physick’s Bedroom.

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