factory life

O Happy Day!

Our letter carrier Chuck Torre does the Montague Avenue boogie woogie on a fine old piano we rescued from the side of the road. We rolled it several blocks back to our studio factory and set about learning more. Well cared for, yet played sufficiently that the middle C's ivory is worn to the wood - it's beautifully crafted of hardwoods including rosewood & ebony by the James B. Nugent Company, making box and upright pianos at 142 E. 36th St, New York City between the years 1869 and 1913.

One sunny day we decided it was a fine time to put the Nugent out front. As Stefan taped on the Free! sign a conveniently empty flatbed semi-truck pulled alongside. Perfect! The driver looked long and wistfully at the piano from his cab, at last pronouncing with a great sigh that his wife would kill him.  A while later our letter carrier Chuck came on his appointed round and much to our surprise metamorphosed into a rockin' hoppin' piano professor. After a few tunes Chuck suggested we call Gene Peterson's San Leandro's A Piano Warehouse, described in Yelp as "A slightly wacky place to get pianos"  Octogenarian Gene came by and with the wisdom of Archimedes easily tipped the upright into his pickup - cheerful to refresh and tune the 100 year old beauty for the next hundred.

Back in the 60's Chuck played in the Bay Area garage band Mother's Kookies.

Hear Chuck Torre play O Happy Day on his Hammond XK-3 Organ 

Thanks to Antique Piano Shop, source for our information about J.B. Nugent Co. pianos.


One Snowy Night in Tokyo

Stefan Schinzinger of San Francisco Hat attends cozy Tokyo dinner hosted by Be-Pal magazine.

Stefan just rediscovered this photo collage he made of a cozy dinner hosted by Be-Pal magazine during a Jetro trade show in Tokyo. As well as showing San Francisco Hat Company, Stefan exhibited Teva sandals and Acorn slippers for the first time in Japan.  Stefan is at the lower right.  Third from the right is Pierre Andre Senizergues, a pro skate boarder who went on to found Etnies and built what's gotta be one of the coolest prototype houses in the world, a house he can skate board inKevin Karr, on the far left, ran the State of California booth and now owns an international marketing company.

Stout Retail Association Pays Us A Visit

When the Stout Retail Association, a student academic organization on The University of Wisconsin-Stout campus, visited the San Francisco Bay area, they asked for a tour of our studio / factory. It was lots of fun for us to show off our facility to such an enthusiastic, appreciative group.

Jenna Lampe, who coordinated the event, wrote us, "What an amazing little surprise for us, we wore our hats home on the plane today. Thank you for having us and informing us on so many aspects of your company, we all loved it!"

Front Row from Left to Right- Amy Kolias, Jenna Lampe, Tara Bartolomeo, Alexia Sebesta, Maria Osenberg
Back Row from Left to Right- Rianna Segner, Chelsea Ademino, Brianna Person, Sabrina Eggersgluess, Melissa Schaefer, Mandi Anderson, Amanda Dols
All wearing our Cadets and Go-Go's

The Hat Factory's Machine Wizard

Why is your order late?

Because the dog ate the compressor - which power the hat presses. It's a good thing we keep Bob Dobbel's card taped next to our door. Bob is a retired power plant operator and self styled machine wizard (not to mention youth camp volunteer, cook and email blaster).

Bob's standing next to mothballed vintage cast iron 120+ year old M.A. Cuming & Co. hat blocking presses.

Beams says Thumbs Up to Stingy Brim Panamas


Beams, Japan and Hong Kong

David Hicks - Driver for California Sierra Trucking

David Hicks - California Sierra Trucking
David Hicks - California Sierra Trucking
David Hicks - California Sierra Trucking
David Hicks - California Sierra Trucking
Click to view larger versions.

David Hicks - Driver for California Sierra Trucking

David came to pickup a shipment of hats from our factory. His truck is an artwork in progress.

Photos by Stefan Schinzinger's iPhone.

Go Green!

Straw Scrap

Thanks to Alemeda County Industries of San Leandro, we are now able to easily recycle our hat straw.