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Vintage 1920s Top Hat Leather Travel Case Scotts London Luggage with Provenance


Brand Poppy's Vintage Clothing

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This is a wonderful quality leather case for a top hat meant to be used for travel.  This hat box was acquired at the estate auction of a descendant of Thomas Bassett Macaulay.  TB Macaulay was an interesting and influential person, a former  president and chairman of the Sun Life Assurance Company.  He was an influential actuary, served as President of the Actuarial Society of America, and a philanthropist who funded many causes.  But, his most important legacy is that most of the world’s Holstein cattle descend from his herd - Macaulay owned an experimental farm in Hudson, Quebec and, in 1930, acquired a bull by the name of Johanna Rag Apple Pabst, who fathered 51 sons and 44 daughters.  The herd was dispersed and went on to produce most of the pure-bred Holsteins that exist in the world.  Another interesting fact is that he was married to a niece of Confederate General Braxton Bragg, for whom Fort Bragg, North Carolina is named.

This hat box has Macaulay’s initials “TBM” stamped on the cover. It has some partial Canadian Pacific steamship labels affixed to it.  The label on the underside is filled in with “Name: T.B. Macaulay / Steamship: Duchess of Bedford / Sailing: 19th August / Port of Landing:  Montreal / Room No: 143 / Final Destination: Montreal”.  The Duchess of Bedford was a passenger steamship that was part of the Canadian Pacific fleet.  She was launched in 1928 and became a troop ship in 1939, changing her name to the Empress of India after the war.  Mr Macaulay was a man of means, so would have had first class accommodations.  Even though he traveled with this box sometimes between 1928 and 1939, I believe that this box dates to the mid-1920s.  The box has its original key and the exterior is stamped “Scotts Hatters 1, Old Bond Street W.1”.  The interior of the lid is gold stamped “By Appointment Scott & Co. Haters to H.M. the King and The Royal Family 1, Old Bond Street Piccadilly. W.”  The interior lid is leather finished and has straps that would be meant to hold a collapsible top hat.  The compartment has a velvet ring that would support a second hat, a non-collapsible, under the brim and the bottom is lined in faille moiré silk.  The box measures 11 1/2” by 14 1/4” with a height of 9”. It is very clean on the interior and the exterior displays some wear, mostly to the edges, commensurate with a piece of luggage that saw use on an ocean voyage.

This is a fabulous hat box on a lot of levels - excellent quality by an English hat maker with a Royal Appointment, wonderful Canadian Pacific Steamship labels and a connection to a very important Canadian businessman and farmer, who had major impacts on the insurance industry and the Holstein herd worldwide….