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Fact Check: 26 Ladies' Home Journal Predictions for 2001 (from 1901)

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In the introduction to his December 1901 Ladies' Home Journal article "What Will Happen in the Next Hundred Years," John Elfreth Watkins, a former civil engineer, says that he conferred with the "the wisest and most careful men in our greatest institutions of science and learning" on the following predictions and simply transcribed what they reported. He doesn't mention who these great thinkers of the early 20th century were, but they had some remarkable hits and noteworthy misses when it came to anticipating life in 2001.

1. On population

There will be from 350,000,000 to 500,000,000 people in America and its possessions... Nicaragua will ask for admission to our Union after the completion of the great canal. Mexico will be next.

Watkins' experts actually overestimated population growth during the 20th century. According to U.S. census estimates, the population on July 1, 2001 was just 284,796,887. They also failed to recognize the eventual decline of imperialism sparked by the British Empire. In addition to Nicaragua and Mexico, the predictions imagine a number of South American countries voluntarily joining the U.S. to avoid being colonized by European powers.

2. On stature and life expectancy

The American will be taller by one to two inches... He will live fifty years instead of thirty-five as at present.

The article was right to think increased medicine and sanitation would have a salutatory effect. In fact, they underestimated the height evolution. Although not specific to America, worldwide the average man has grown four inches from 5'6" in 1900 to 5'10" in 2000. As for the life expectancy, not only did the article low-ball our modern life spans —74.4 years for men in 2001— it also under-reported the 1901 life spans which, these days at least, are estimated at 47.6 years.

3. On suburbanization

The city house will practically be no more. Building in blocks will be illegal.

This is a cut and dry case of getting it way wrong. In 1900, just as American urbanization was getting under way, about 30 percent of the total population lived in cities. It's been on the rise ever since, and by 2000, 79 percent of people in the U.S. lived in urban areas.

4. On language evolution

There will be no C, X or Q in every-day alphabet. They will be abandoned because unnecessary [sic]. Spelling by sound will have been adopted, first by the newspapers. English will be a language of condensed words expressing condensed ideas, and will be more extensively spoken than any other. Russian will rank second.

As you may have noticed, none of the 26 letters they were using back in 1901 have been banished from the alphabet—not even Q. But that doesn't mean the article was totally off base for imagining that language would get more streamlined and intuitive. As annoying as it may be to replace "you" with "U," that is "spelling by sound." (Although, contrary to these predictions, newspapers will probably remain the last bastion of correct spelling and grammar.)

It's hard to pin down specifics for international measures of language speakers, but a 2010 estimate from a Swedish encyclopedia puts English at third in the world, behind Mandarin and Spanish. Russian clocks in at number eight.

5. On temperature control

Hot or cold air will be turned on from spigots to regulate the temperature of a house ... Rising early to build a furnace fire will be a task of the olden times.

Yep.

6. On animals and insects

There will be no wild animals except in menageries. Rats and mice will have been exterminated. The horse will have become practically extinct.

Insect screens will be unnecessary. Mosquitoes, house-flies and roaches will have been practically exterminated.

We may only wish that rats, mice, and mosquitoes were extinct, but the experts cited in the article had valid reason to think that expanding human populations would relegate the remaining wild animals to zoos and other enclosures.

7. On convenience eating

Ready-cooked meals will be bought from establishments similar to our bakeries of to-day. They will purchase the materials in tremendous wholesale quantities and sell the cooked foods at a price much lower than the cost of individual cooking ... The meal being over, the dishes used will be packed and returned to the cooking establishments where they will be washed ... These laboratories will be equipped with electric stoves, and all sorts of electric devices, such as coffee-grinders, egg-beaters, stirrers, shakers, parers, meat-choppers, meat-saws, potato-mashers, lemon-squeezers, dish-washers, dish-dryers and the like.

The premonition about the prevalence and convenience of takeout food is essentially spot-on. Sure, we don't return the dishes to be washed, but that's because we've since adopted the use of disposable utensils. And the list of mechanized kitchen devices maybe over-eager, but many have become totally standard, in restaurants and even home kitchens.

8. On food sanitation

No foods will be exposed. Storekeepers who expose food to air breathed out by patrons or the atmosphere of the busy street will be arrested with those who sell stale or adulterated produce.

Health codes are hardly as strict as the article anticipates—policing against "air breathed out by patrons" seems impossible—but now that they mention it, I should probably start washing produce from the vendors on the street.

9. On the depletion of coal and renewable resources

Coal will not be used for heating or cooking. It will be scarce, but not entirely exhausted ... Man will have found electricity powered by water-power to be much cheaper. Every river or creek with any suitable fall will be equipped with water-motors, turning dynamos, making electricity.

Coal usage was certainly on the decline in the 20th century, hitting a low in 2006. But unfortunately, it has not been reliably replaced with renewable sources like water power. In fact, in 2010, hydroelectric sources made up just 6 percent of the total electricity production in the country. Instead, as coal use waned after the first two decades of the 20th century, it was replaced by oil. Mechanical needs propagated by World War II drove an increase in oil use and by 1950, oil had surpassed coal as the most prevalent energy source in America.

10. On the rise of public transportation

There will be no street cars in our large cities. All hurry traffic will be below or high above ground when brought within city limits ... Cities, therefore, will be free from all noises.

So close! Below-ground traffic in the form of subways certainly has taken off in the past century, but as anyone with a street-facing window in New York City—or presumably any large metropolis—can attest to, that doesn't mean large cities ever "free from all noises."

11. On photography (and, unintentionally, the internet)

Photographs will be telegraphed from any distance. If there be a battle in China a hundred years hence snapshots of its most striking events will be published in the newspapers an hour later.

It doesn't always make it to the newspapers first—Twitter, anyone?—but it also doesn't even take an hour.

12. On train travel

Trains will run two miles a minute, normally; express trains one hundred and fifty miles an hour... Cars will, like houses be artificially cooled.

Amtrak, which is not necessarily representative of all train travel but is widely used, reports top operating speeds of 150 mph. So, spot on.

13. On automobiles replacing horses

Automobiles will be cheaper than horses are to-day. Farmers will own automobile hay-wagons, automobile truck-wagons, plows, harrows and hay-rakes ... Automobiles will have been substituted for every horse vehicle now known.

Trying to fact-check the cost of a horse—a widely variable commodity—over a hundred years ago and account for inflation is not an exact science, but here are some numbers to help with the comparison: The average price of a horse in 1895, according to one New York Times article, was around $60; and $60 in 1901 translates to roughly $1166 in 2000. The average price of a new car in 2000 was $20,355. Which, for what it's worth, is about $1029 in 1901. So no, by no matter what metric you use, cars are still not cheaper than a horse was in 1901. But the rest of the prediction is accurate. Regardless of expense, automobiles have fully replaced horse vehicles.

14. On admirable exercise habits

Gymnastics will begin in the nursery, where toys and games will be designed to strengthen the muscles. Exercise will be compulsory in the schools. Every school, college and community will have a gymnasium. All cities will have public gymnasiums. A man or woman unable to walk ten miles at a stretch will be regarded as a weakling.

It's difficult to gauge the progress we've made in fulfilling our forefathers' predictions for fitness. A childhood emphasis on exercise is certainly noticeable in the current culture, but I fear they'd find a number of "weakling[s]" walking (but not for 10 miles at a time) about. Of course, public gymnasiums might help the cause.

15. On the swiftness of sea travel

Fast electric ships, crossing the ocean at more than a mile a minute will go from New York to Liverpool in two days. The bodies of these ships will be built above the waves. They will be supported upon runners somewhat like those of a sleigh. These runners will be very buoyant. On their undersides will be apertures expelling jets of air. In this way, a film of air will be kept between them and the water's surface.

We definitely don't have hovercraft sail boats or ocean liners as expected, and a trans-Atlantic trip will still take you at least a week, but that's because this next prediction turned out a little differently as well.

16. On air travel

There will be air-ships, but they will not successfully compete with surface cars and water vessels for passenger or freight traffic.

Unfortunately for the accuracy of this prediction, not only do boats fail to cross the Atlantic in under two days, air-ships have mastered the trip in a matter of hours.

17. On developments in warfare

Giant guns will shoot twenty-five miles or more, and will hurl anywhere within such a radius shells exploding and destroying whole cities ... Fleets of air-ships, hiding themselves with dense, smoky mists, thrown off by themselves as they move, will float over cities, fortifications, camps or fleets. They will surprise foes below by hurling upon them deadly thunderbolts. These aerial war-ships will necessitate bomb-proof forts, protected by great steel plates over their tops as well as their sides.

And this only scratches the surface of modern warfare.

18. On increased viewing capabilities

Persons and things of all kinds will be brought within focus of cameras connected electrically with screens at opposite ends of circuits, thousands of miles at a span. American audiences in their theatre will view upon huge curtains before them the coronation of kings in Europe or the progress of battles in the Orient.

In fact, we don't even need to go to the theatre to witness the wonders of television technology anymore.

19. On telephones

Wireless telephone and telegraph circuits will span the world ... We will be able to telephone China quite as readily as we now talk from New York to Brooklyn.

I'm actually not convinced that international fees aren't so exorbitant as to be prohibitive but technically, this one is true.

20. On hearing the opera anytime you want

Grand opera will be telephoned to private homes, and will sound as harmonious as though enjoyed from a theatre box. Automatic instruments reproducing original airs exactly will bring the best music to the families of the untalented.

This prediction actually seems to conflate several modern technologies. The emphasis seems to be on both consistent access to high quality music—a burgeoning but still flawed experience at the time—and the ability to witness live events, which has become a regular experience in the modern era.

21. On education, and enforced social equality

A university education will be free to every man and woman ... Poor students will be given free board, free clothing and free books if ambitious and actually unable to meet their school and college expenses. Medical inspectors regularly visiting the public schools will furnish poor children free eyeglasses, free dentistry and free medical attention of every kind ... In vacation time, poor children will be taken on trips to various parts of the world. Etiquette and housekeeping will be important studies in the public schools.

While the United Kingdom offers state-funded higher education (or at least it did back in 2001), far from fulfilling this prediction, America seems mired in a crisis surrounding the cost of higher education, and the loans it forces students to take on. The thought of social services picking up the tab for not only medical fees but also educational trips seems overly idealistic but an eased financial burden for students with both need and merit is the motivation behind many scholarships.

But we've definitely nixed housekeeping and etiquette from any curriculum I know.

22. On home deliveries

Pneumatic tubes, instead of store wagons, will deliver packages and bundles. These tubes will collect, deliver and transport mail over certain distances, perhaps for hundreds of miles. They will at first connect with private houses of the wealthy; then with all homes.

Speaking as someone who always misses the delivery guy, I wish!

23. On electrically-grown veggies

Winter will be turned into summer and night into day by the farmer. In cold weather he will place heat-conducting electric wires under the soil of his garden and thus warm his growing plants. He will also grow large gardens under glass.

We don't even need electric wires under the soil because "gardens under glass" —greenhouses—work so well.

24. On other means of eating fruit in February

Fast-flying refrigerators on land and sea will bring delicious fruits from the tropics and southern temperate zone within a few days. The farmers of South America, South Africa, Australia and the South Sea Islands, whose seasons are directly opposite to ours, will thus supply us in winter with fresh summer foods which cannot be grown here.

Add in air-borne refrigerators and this prediction is alarmingly accurate.

25. On the oddities we will grow and eat

Strawberries as large as apples will be eaten by our great-great-grandchildren for their Christmas dinners a hundred years hence. Raspberries and blackberries will be as large ... One cantaloupe will supply an entire family ... Peas and beans will be as large as beets are today ... Roses will be as large as cabbage heads...There will be black, blue and green roses. It will be possible to grow any flower in any color and to transfer the perfume of a scented flower to another which is odorless.

Sadly, giant fruit has remained the stuff of children's fiction. (That link is not just peaches.)

26. On medical improvements

Few drugs will be swallowed or taken into the stomach unless needed for the direct treatment of that organ itself. Drugs needed by the lungs, for instance, will be applied directly to those organs through the skin and flesh. They will be carried with the electric current applied without pain to the outside skin of the body...Not only will it be possible for a physician to actually see a living, throbbing heart inside the chest, but he will be able to magnify and photograph any part of it.

Sure, electricity didn't turn out to be the panacea that the article predicted. But at least our x-ray and imaging capabilities wouldn't disappoint.

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9 False Rumors With Real-Life Consequences
King Louis XV of France
King Louis XV of France
Library and Archives Canada, Wikimedia // Public Domain

Don’t believe everything you read—or everything you hear. Unverified but plausible-sounding rumors have been the basis for violent death and destruction throughout history, whether or not the stories had anything to do with the truth.

In their book A Colorful History of Popular Delusions, Robert Bartholomew and Peter Hassall describe rumors as “stories of perceived importance that lack substantiating evidence.” They also note that the sociologist Tamotsu Shibutani describes rumors as “improvised news,” which tends to spread when the demand for information exceeds supply. Such an information deficit most often occurs during wars and other crises, which might explain why some rumors have had such dramatic results. Here’s a selection of some of the most interesting rumors with real-life results collected in Bartholomew and Hassall’s book.

1. KING LOUIS XV WAS KIDNAPPING CHILDREN.

In 1750, children began disappearing from the streets of Paris. No one seemed to know why, and worried parents began rioting in the streets. In the midst of the panic, a rumor broke out that King Louis XV had become a leper and was kidnapping children so that he could bathe in their blood (at the time, bathing in the blood of children was thought by some to be an effective leprosy cure).

The rumor did have a tiny kernel of truth: Authorities were taking children away, but not to the king’s palace. A recently enacted series of ordinances designed to clear the streets of “undesirables” had led some policemen—who were paid per arrest—to overstep their authority and take any children they found on the streets to houses of detention. Fortunately, most were eventually reunited with their parents, and rumors of the king’s gruesome bathing rituals were put to rest.

2. LONDON WAS GOING TO BE DESTROYED BY AN EARTHQUAKE.

Two small earthquakes struck London at the beginning of 1761, leading to rumors that the city was due for “the big one” on April 5, 1761. Supposedly, a psychic had predicted the catastrophe. Much of the populace grew so panicked that they fled town for the day, with those who couldn’t afford fancier lodgings camping out in the fields. One soldier was so convinced of the impending doom that he ran through the streets shouting news of London’s imminent destruction; sadly, he ended up in an insane asylum a few months later.

3. JEWS WERE POISONING WELLS.

A deep well
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Reports that Jews ritually sacrificed Christian children were not uncommon during the Middle Ages, but things took a particularly terrible turn during the spread of the Black Plague. In the 14th century, thousands of Jews were killed in response to rumors that Satan was protecting them from the plague in exchange for poisoning the wells of Christians. In 1321 in Guienne, France alone, an estimated 5000 Jews were burned alive for supposedly poisoning wells. Other communities expelled the Jews, or burned entire settlements to the ground. Brandenburg, Germany, even passed a law denouncing Jews for poisoning wells—which of course they weren't.

4. BRIGANDS WERE TERRORIZING THE FRENCH COUNTRYSIDE.

In July 1789, amid the widespread fear and instability on the eve of the French revolution, rumors spread that the anti-revolutionary nobility had planted brigands (robbers) to terrorize the peasants and steal their stores of food. Lights from furnaces, bonfires, and even the reflection of the setting sun were sometimes taken to be signs of brigands, with panic as the predictable result. Provincial towns and villages formed militias in response to the rumors, even though, as historian Georges Lefebvre put it, “the populace scared themselves.” In one typical incident, near Troyes on July 24, 1789, a group of brigands were supposedly spotted heading into some woods; an alarm was sounded and 3000 men gave chase. The “brigands” turned out to be a herd of cattle.

5. GERMAN-AMERICANS WERE PLOTTING SNEAK ATTACKS ON CANADA.

Officers of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police marching in a Canada Day parade
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Canada entered World War I in 1914, three years before the United States did. During the gap period, rumors circulated that German-Americans sympathetic to their country of origin were planning surprise attacks on Canada. One of the worst offenders of such rumor-mongering, according to authors Bartholomew and Hassall, was British consul-general Sir Courtenay Bennett, then stationed in New York. In the early months of 1915, Bennett made “several sensational claims about a plan in which as many as 80,000 well-armed, highly trained Germans who had been drilling in Niagara Falls and Buffalo, New York, were planning to invade Canada from northwestern New York state.” Bizarre as it may sound, there was so much anxiety and suspicion during the period that Canadian Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden requested a report on the story, which the Canadian police commissioner determined to be without any foundation whatsoever.

6. THE INDONESIAN GOVERNMENT WAS HUNTING HEADS FOR CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS.

In certain parts of Indonesia, locals reportedly believe—or once did—that large-scale construction projects require human heads to keep the structures from crumbling. In 1937, one island was home to a spate of rumors saying that a tjoelik (government-sanctioned headhunter) was looking for a head to place near a local jetty construction project. Locals reported strange noises and sights, houses pelted with stones, and attacks from tjoelik wielding nooses or cowboy lassos. Similar rumors surfaced in 1979 in Indonesian Borneo, when government agents were supposedly seeking a head for a new bridge project, and in 1981 in Southern Borneo, when the government headhunters supposedly needed heads to stabilize malfunctioning equipment in nearby oil fields. Terrified townspeople began curtailing their activities so as not to be in public any longer than necessary, although the rumors eventually died down.

7. POWERFUL APHRODISIAC GUM WENT ON SALE IN THE MIDDLE EAST.

An assortment of sticks of pink bubble gum
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In the mid-1990s, the Middle East was home to some alarming rumors about aphrodisiacal gum. In 1996 in Mansoura, Egypt, stories began spreading that students at the town’s university had purchased gum deliberately spiked with an aphrodisiac and were having orgies as a result. One local member of parliament said the gum had been distributed by the Israeli government as part of a plot to corrupt Egyptian youth. Mosque loudspeakers began warning people to avoid the gum, which was supposedly sold under the names “Aroma” or “Splay.” Authorities closed down some shops and made arrests, but never did find any tainted gum. Similar rumors cropped up the following year in the Gaza Strip, this time featuring a strawberry gum that turned women into prostitutes—supposedly, the better to convince them to become Shin Bet informants for the Israeli military.

8. SORCERERS WERE PLAGUING INDONESIA.

In the fall of 1998, a sorcerer scare in East Java, Indonesia, resulted in the deaths of several villagers. The country was in crisis, and while protests raged in major cities, some in the rural area of Banyuwangi began agitating for restitution for past wrongs allegedly committed by sorcerers. The head of the local district ordered authorities to move the suspected sorcerers to a safe location, a process that included a check-in at the local police station. Unfortunately, villagers took the suspects’ visits to police stations as proof of their sorcery and began killing them. Anthropologists who studied the incident said the stories of supposed sorcery—making neighbors fall sick, etc.—were based entirely on rumor and gossip.

9. OBAMA WAS INJURED BY A WHITE HOUSE EXPLOSION.

These days, rumors have advanced technology to help them travel. On April 23, 2013, a fake tweet from a hacked Associated Press account claimed that explosions at the White House had injured Barack Obama. That lone tweet caused instability on world financial markets, and the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index lost $130 billion in a short period. Fortunately, it quickly recovered. (Eagle-eyed journalists were suspicious of the tweet from the beginning, since it didn’t follow AP style of referring to the president with his title and capitalizing the word breaking.)

An earlier version of this story ran in 2015.

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20 Old Hat Styles Due for a Comeback
John Firth, BIPs/Getty Images
John Firth, BIPs/Getty Images

One thing that illustrated and photographic archives have taught us is that people have always known how to rock a stylish piece of headwear. From squat caps to towering toppers, history has produced a hat for every occasion. Here are 20 old styles that, with a healthy dose of fashion and confidence, could still look just as fabulous today.

1. THE CLOCHE

A woman wearing a cloche hat decorated with flowers.
Sasha, Getty Images

The sleek, head-hugging cloche was the perfect companion to the bobbed hairstyle worn by flappers in the 1920s. The hats were typically left plain to emphasize their bell-shaped silhouette, though they also offered a blank canvas for embellishment. The cloche was most popular during the Jazz Age but it’s occasionally incorporated into retro fashion styles today.

2. THE OTTOMAN HEADDRESS

A drawing of a man wearing an Ottoman headdress.

In Ottoman ceremonial costumes, hats played a starring role. The headgear often featured bright colors, feathery ornamentations, and elaborate designs that signified status. The wearer’s class, religion, gender, and clan could all be gleaned from the way the fabric in their headdress was layered.

3. THE BOWLER HAT

Oscar Wilde wearing a bowler hat in 1885.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The top hat was popular in the 19th century but it wasn't always the most practical choice for outdoor activities. When looking for a way to protect the heads of horseback riders from branches, brothers Thomas and William Bowler came up with their namesake cap. The bowler hat was sturdy, compact, and appropriate for most any occasion. Though the bowler hat largely fizzled out by the 1980s, the item's original London manufacturers Lock & Co. still sell thousands each year.

4. THE PILLBOX HAT

Woman wearing a pillbox hat in the 1960s.
Chaloner Woods, Getty Images

Unlike some hats from history, this one was prized for its simplicity. It could be easily identified by its brimless, round shape evoking that of a pillbox. It began gaining steam in the 1930s before reaching peak popularity with First Lady Jackie Kennedy in the 1960s.

5. THE FASCINATOR

Victoria Beckham wearing a fascinator in 2007.
Mark Mainz, Getty Images

Depending on the look you’re going for, a fascinator can be worn as a subtle accent item or a show-stealing statement piece. The hat is defined as an ornamental headpiece that’s secured to the crown using a headband or comb. Once they fit that criteria, fascinators can take the form of flowers, feathers, fabric, or whatever else the wearer can engineer to stay on their head. And though they're still popular in the U.K., Americans don't tend to utilize fascinators outside of Derby Day attire.

6. THE TRI-CORNER HAT

A tri-cornered hat from Spain, circa 1780.
Gabriel Bouys, AFP/Getty Images

In 17th century Europe and America, tri-cornered hats, or tricornes, gave men the opportunity to show off their lustrous wigs poking out from beneath the upturned brim. It's no surprise then that the hat style died out with the powdered wig fad, but that doesn't mean it isn't fit for a comeback. Even if wearers don't have wigs to flaunt, they could take a page from our forefathers' book and upgrade the hat itself with feathers, brocades, and fabrics—or maybe just sports insignias.

7. THE DEERSTALKER HAT

British actor Peter Cushing wearing a deerstalker hat circa 1960.
Keystone/Getty Images

If you’ve seen this hat anywhere, it was most likely on the head of someone portraying Sherlock Holmes. The headpiece has been tied to the character since the books were published in the 19th century (it was the illustrations—not the story—that did it, as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle never mentions the cap in the text). It’s peculiar that an urban detective would be wearing a deerstalker hat in the first place, considering they were designed for hunting game and not tracking clues, but the smartly styled hat's comeback should be ... elementary.

8. THE HENNIN

Illustration of a French woman wearing a hennin in the 15th century.
plaisanter, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

These striking hats were a clear sign of royalty in the medieval era. Reinforced with wire or padding and draped in fine fabric, the cone-shaped hennin is still synonymous with the stereotypical princess today. English hennins were fairly modest in height, but the French version reached up to to three feet and the hat's Mongolian predecessor towered five to seven feet high.

9. THE NEWSBOY CAP

Newsboys in St. Louis in 1910.
Lewis Hine, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

This hat goes by many names (the big apple, the eight panel, the Gatsby), but its strongest association is with newsboys at the turn of the 20th century. The floppy, brimmed cap wasn't just popular with the younger working class. It was worn by men across the social ladder and was a common sight on the golf course.

10. THE PEACH BASKET HAT

Actress Marion Davies in a peach basket hat.
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

The origin of this hat name isn't too hard to figure out: It resembles a bulky, over-turned fruit basket. The peach basket hat first appeared at the start of the 20th century, but it was shunned by many for being an "unpatriotic" display of vanity during the first world war. It was revived in the 1930s and experienced a popularity streak until the 1950s.

11. THE PORK PIE HAT

Actor Buster Keaton wearing his signature pork pie hat in 1939.
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

This hat is known for having a domed crown inside a pinched rim, creating a shape similar to that of a certain savory pastry. The style was originally worn by women in the 19th century and was later embraced by men’s fashion in the early 1900s (thanks in part to Buster Keaton). It’s not as popular as it was in the 1920s but it recently enjoyed a brief return to the spotlight by way of the Heisenberg character on Breaking Bad.

12. THE CARTWHEEL HAT

Actress Fanny Brice wearing a cartwheel hat circa 1910.
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Out of context, a cartwheel hat could be mistaken for an hor d'oeuvres platter or a tiny landing pad. The hat was worn slightly askew for an eye-catching look and was often crafted from luxurious materials. But after catching on in the 1930s, the broad hats have since fallen out of fashion.

13. THE CHAPEAU BRAS

Bicorne hat.
Marie-Lan Nguyen, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 2.5

With the chapeau bras, gentlemen in the 18th century proved you don't need to compromise style for convenience. The bicorne shape of the hat was designed to both sit comfortably on a head and fold flat when tucked beneath an arm. The French name roughly translates to "hat arm." It was a popular hat style among military men in the 1800s, including U.S. admiral George Dewey.

14. THE BOUDOIR CAP

Hat on mannequin.

For a brief period at the turn of the 19th century, hair nets were fashionable. Women used boudoir caps to protect their hair while getting dressed in the morning or at night, though more stylish designs also worked as statement-making loungewear. Typically made from silk, muslin, or other lingerie fabric, the cap was the perfect companion to the kimono negligee, which was just beginning to gain popularity in the West at the time.

15. THE EUGÉNIE HAT

Illustration of Victorian woman.

The Eugénie hat is named after Empress Eugénie de Montijo, one half of France’s last reigning royal couple. It’s traditionally made from felt or velvet and worn tilted forward slightly to cover the wearer's eye. The hat saw an initial popularity spike in the mid-19th century, then a second after Greta Garbo worse a version of it in the 1930 film Romance.

16. THE GAINSBOROUGH HAT

Portrait of woman wearing hat.

Gainsborough hats, or picture hats, were popularized by 18th-century artist Thomas Gainsborough, who often depicted the society women in his portraits beneath massive headwear. The hats are known for their wide brims and over-the-top embellishments. It wasn't uncommon to see women walking around with stuffed birds perched on their hats during the style's peak.

17. THE PAMELA BONNET

Woman wearing bonnet.

Named for the protagonist of Samuel Richardson's 1740 novel, the Pamela bonnet was an elegant hat option for women in the 19th century. It's crafted from straw and tied with a ribbon in such a way that folds the wide brims against the wearer's cheeks. The sides of the hat slope down and away from the head, allowing the woman’s fashionable ringlets to peek out.

18. THE HALF HAT

The Queen wearing a half hat and waving from a car.

The sleek, close hat trend reached its peak in the 1950s with the half hat. Part-hat, part-hair accessory, the half hat cups the back of the skull and curves across the crown, stopping just short of the ears. Milliner Lilly Daché received an American Designer award for the hat in 1941.

19. THE WHOOPEE CAP

Actor wearing a hat.

The whoopee cap is best known as the crown hat Jughead wears in the Archie comics. Instead of buying a professionally-made version from a hat shop, wearers fashioned caps of their own by tattering the brims of old fedoras and turning them inside-out. The style appeared recently on Riverdale, the gritty Archie reboot, so a comeback may be on the way.

20. THE HOMBURG

British Foreign Secretary Sir Anthony Eden (right) with Neville Chamberlain, Leader of the Conservative Party, wearing Homburg hats while walking in London in 1937.
Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The Homburg isn't a household name like the top hat or the fedora, but the men’s hat is still a classic. The style is distinguished by a curled brim and a dent depressing the center of the crown. King Edward VII launched the trend in the late 19th century. When he brought a hat back with him following a visit to Bad Homburg, Germany, the rest of the world noticed his new look and started wearing Homburg hats of their own.

A shorter version of this story originally ran in 2017.

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