Hat factory, making beaver hats, 1841

Victorian illustration to download showing a picture of men making beaver hats in a hat factory, 1841. They stand round a hat-battery, or ‘kettle’; this is a large boiler, the water kept hot by a coal fire, surrounded by a work bench. They wet felt hat shapes and felt them further by rolling, twisting and rubbing them; one man forms a hat shape on a block. They are wearing traditional paper workmen’s hats. Beaver hats were not made from the animal’s skin, but by a felting process using wool and beaver fur. This scene was sketched at Christy’s hat factory, London.