While there were many hat manufactories in Philadelphia in the 19th and 20th centuries, one of the lone survivors into the 21st century was the S & S Hat Company. At the time it was founded in 1923, it was housed in a factory on Filbert Street between 10th and 11th Streets. It supplied department stores and small boutiques, and had a well-regarded reputation. Cheaper competition from overseas and other problems led to its decline, and it was slated to be sold in 2015. The Reverend Georgiette Morgan-Thomas, a pastor who was a director at a social services non-profit in Harlem, had no experience in manufacturing hats, but she wore them and loved them. She purchased the S & S Hat Company and incorporated it as American Hats LLC in January 2016.
About twelve people now work for the factory, and the entire process can be viewed by visitors- from selection of fabric and materials to sewing, blocking, trimming, and finishing, all done by hand by the artisans, many of them retained from the S & S days.
Links: American Hats website: https://americanhatsllc.com/ Article in the Philadelphia Inquirer: https://www.inquirer.com/business/small-business/american-hats-fashion-district-philadelphia-20190609.html
Date: Friday, March 20, 2020
Time: 10:30 AM
Location: 2251 Fraley St. in Wissinoming, right beside I-95, at intersection of Fraley & James Streets.
Registration: E-mail names of members and guests to Helen Schenck at: firstname.lastname@example.org
DEADLINE: March 18th
Questions: Call Helen Schenck at 609-386-4180
Transportation: By auto: Use GPS for directions. Park in factory lot or on street. Regional Rail: SEPTA Trenton line to Bridesburg station. From station walk east ½ mile on James Street to factory.
#84 Bus from Frankford Transportation Center to the corner of Tacony & Fraley Sts. which is the other side of I-95 from the factory.