Hat (bowler)

Lock & Co.

Established 1676

Founded in 1676 by Robert Davis, James Lock & Co. is one of the oldest hatters in England. Davis’ son, Charles, took on James Lock as an apprentice in 1747. James married Charles Davis’s daughter and when Davis died in 1759, James Lock inherited the company. The Lock family still own and run the company today.

Lock & Co. makes a broad variety of hats, but its most iconic creation is the bowler hat, or the ‘Coke’. In 1849, Edward Coke requested a hat to solve the problem of gamekeepers’ headgear. The traditional hats for the job, tall and fragile top hats, often got knocked off by low branches. Immortalized by Charlie Chaplin on the silent screen and in art by Rene Magritte, the Coke today, with its iconic silhouette, is seen as Lock’s masterpiece.

Trivia:
* Lock is a royal warrant holder as hatter to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and Charles, Prince of Wales and also supplied many of the hats during the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011.

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Photo credits
© James Lock & Co Ltd., London, UK (gamekeepers on Holkam Hall estate)

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