An Early 20thC Gibus-style Collapsible Top Hat, by Austin Reed of Regent Street, in Original Card Box


Origin: English
Period: Early Twentieth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1920
Height: 6 inches
Inner Diameter: 8 inches x 6.5 inches
Inner Circumference: 21 inches
Outer Circumference (with rim): 36 inches

The top hat with internal sprung frame that allows the crown to be folded into the brim, original ribbon, and silk lining stamped 'Austin Reed Ltd. Regent Street WII'. There are some signs of light wear externally, whilst internally, part of the lining has become detached, but this can be easily remedied. The original box carries a label, with '?7 [presumed size 7] Shape 3 ?C silk', in ink.

The collapsible top hat was invented by the Frenchman, Antoine Gibus, in 1812, and patented by him in 1840.  Also known as the Chapeau Claque because of the noise the springs make when the hat is expanded, it was designed so it could be conveniently be stowed under seats at events such as operas. The collapsible hat has also become an indispensable accessory for the magician, and as a stage prop for the theatre.