Black fur top hat, Portland, ca. 1855Item 48886 info
Maine Historical Society
Sometimes called stove pipes or chimney pots, top hats were de rigueur men's wear. Beaver fur was strong, desirable, and expensive as a hat material until the decline of the beaver population in the early nineteenth century. Hats also were made of felt or silk. Top hats came in a variety of heights as well.
In the early twentieth century, shorter hats like bowlers or fedoras became popular. The lower height allowed men to fit more easily into automobiles.