Vintage 1930s GB Borsalino Di Lazzaro Grey Fedora Hat Mens Size Medium 7 1/8


Brand Poppy's Vintage Clothing

This is a really interesting mid-1930s mens fedora hat created by GB Borsalino di Lazzaro of Italy.  I believe that the G.B. Borsalino di Lazzaro designation was used only between 1906 and 1937 - it essentially stands for Giovanni Battista Borsalino of Lazzaro.  Lazzaro was the brother and partner of Giuseppe, the founder of Borsalino in 1857. After Giuseppe passed away in 1900, the company was split in two, with Giuseppe’s son Teresio Borsalino taking the original Antica Casa company public in 1905 and his cousin Giovanni starting a competing factory in Alessandria.  Teresio eventually was able to consolidate the two companies in 1937 and the G.B. Borsalino di Lazzaro designation was no longer used.  Now, what makes this hat interesting is that the liner reads “G.B. Borsalino di Lazzaro & C. Created in Italy” while the sweatband is gold stamped “G.B. Borsalino di Lazzaro Fashioned in Canada Under Licence”.  So, why would Borsalino allow a Canadian company to produce their hats?  The best that I can surmise, as there is no information specifically about this, is that it was because there was an international embargo on Italian goods subsequent to Mussolini’s invasion of Ethiopia in 1935.  Great Britain spearheaded the embargo, along with support from the League of Nations, and although Canada was part of the British empire, it was somewhat opposed to the sanctions.  So, in order to maintain their foreign markets and get around the embargo, production was moved to Canada under licence.  This would date the hat most likely to 1936 or 1937 due to the particular mix of circumstances.  A bit of a history lesson, but important in giving this hat some context.  Although made in Canada, the hat has all of the quality that one would expect of an Italian made Borsalino of the period. The color is a very attractive tone of grey and the crown is wrapped with a black grosgrain ribbon and bow.  The edge of the brim is finished in grey grosgrain.  There is a cloth size label that reads 7 1/8 (medium).  The hat measures 22 1/4” around the sweatband and 8” by 6 3/8” across the opening.  The brim is turned up, but flexible so can be turned down, and measures 2” in width and the crown has a height of 5 1/4”.  It is in very good, very clean condition - this has been very well kept over the years and looks to have seen little use.  This is a very nice quality hat by Borsalino, a rather rare issue, so a wonderful addition to a collection!