One of the most interesting things about our pieces is that they often come with clues about their history. Often with a brand name the piece gives up it's historical secrets a little easier!
Yesterday Bernabe found a beautiful Fedora hat at auction, only to discover it was by the same company who made Fedoras famous in French gangster movie of the same name "Borsalino", established in 1857.
The story of this company begins in Alessandria Italy; when Giuseppe Borsalino, a true pioneer and captain of industry, set up the first artisan workshop for the production of felt hats. Giuseppe Borsalino was born in 1834. A spirit of initiative and healthy persistence, two typical virtues of this land, undoubtedly helped Giuseppe Borsalino blossom from a 14 year old boy working in a hat factory into one of the most important Italian industrialists of the 20th century. After visiting Italy and France to learn the secrets of the trade, he introduced new production processes, which coupled with his extraordinary ability, determined the immediate success of the company.
Giuseppe Borsalino was one of the first industrialists to take into consideration the social aspects and difficulties attached to modern industry. His democratic and humanitarian ideals resulted in the creation of a health insurance and a pension fund for his workers.
When Giuseppe Borsalino died in 1900, his business employed almost a thousand workers and boasted an annual production of one million hats.
Teresio Borsalino, succeeded his father, and added to this initial success. The company rapidly grew, and in 1913, employed more than 2500 workers and reached an annual production of more than 2 million hats. Its products reached every corner of the world, the fame of its trademark remained untouched, and the name Borsalino became part of fashion history. In 1970 Borsalino inspired a famous and successful film titled "Borsalino".
Today Borsalino collections are larger, and in addition to the classic felt hat, include the famous straw hats "Panama-Montecristi". Borsalino hats continue to be made of the finest materials and leathers, and have added styles targeted to the young hat-wearer.
The factory was originally located in the center of Alessandria. In 1986 the factory moved to a new more efficient and modern site in the suburbs of Alessandria. The old Borsalino factory, which housed the famous Hat Museum until a few years ago, is now home to the Eastern Piedmont University.
And that's the history lesson for today.. as Bernie would say...