Before milliner Herbert Johnson joined Swaine Adeney Brigg, it was situated at 13 Old Burlington Street, London. In 1980, two American gentlemen came in to the shop and introduced themselves as Mr. Harrison Ford and Mr. Steven Spielberg with an interesting request.
Mr. Spielberg announced that he was on the brink of making an adventure film with Harrison Ford as the central figure: Raiders of the Lost Ark and revealed that the main character Indiana Jones would be wearing a hat which would be pivotal to the character and the plot. Herbert Johnson was delighted at having been chosen to help design what was to become the famous iconic Indy hat.
Our classic oldest hat shape was the Herbert Johnson wide brim fur felt hat called 'The Poet' with its tall crown and this was the style chosen. The 'Poet' had been made by Herbert Johnson since the 1890's and has always been deemed ageless. The hat was modified for the character Indiana Jones in a number of ways. and the perfect shade of brown called sable was chosen.
Indiana Jones' hat
The Indy hat is very distinctive as we shaped the brim into an ovoid to give protection to the eyes and neck - reducing the sides also helping with camera angles. With the brim pulled down we created an explorer/safari look and we altered the original ribbon from 50mm to 39mm, to make the tall crown appear taller. The Indiana Jones hat is carefully cut by hand, using the original patterns. Each size is ever so slightly tailored to keep the hat in proportion to the wearer's hat size and finally hand-rubbed to give it its unique shape.
The re-worked and subtly modified Herbert Johnson Poet hat gave Mr Spielberg the look he had envisioned for Harrison Ford's character Indiana Jones and what has been known subsequently as the 'Indy' hat was born. The tremendous success and popularity of the film Raiders of the Lost Ark and its sequels along with the 'Indy' Hat which defines Harrison Ford's character's 'look' has been incredible and continues to this day.
Apart from the original hat for 'Indiana Jones' (Harrison Ford) we made a further 45 'Indy' hats of assorted sizes, some for Mr. Ford and the remainder for the film stunt actors on the set of Raiders of The Lost Ark.
The original and the first Indy hat still made today
Since the huge success of the Indiana Jones films, we have continued to make exactly the same hat still calling it 'The Poet' for fans of both the Indiana Jones movies and the starring actor Harrison Ford. The adventurer 'Indy' hat is enormously popular and as soon as the hat is put on, creates a handsome rugged look. The Poet hat like the Indiana Jones movies remains a classic and unforgettable masterpiece.