Originally Top Hats were made of beaver fur, hence the beaver trade and the term re-furbished.

However, in about 1830 the carriage trade required something more sophisticated and black Top Hats made out of French manufactured 'silk plush' became the objects of fashion.

Although London, Luton and Stockport were the English centres, Top Hats proceeded to be manufactured all over the world, with various style changes, in this form for more than a hundred years.
Whilst Top Hats have been fashionable for all sorts of social events and in show business, the wearing of Toppers in the street finally stopped when the Stock Jobbers ceased wearing them in the City in October 1986. It was about this time that the silk plush also disappeared from the scene as the owners of the last looms in Lyon, two brothers, fell out and the looms were destroyed.

So after about 1980 black silk Top Hat manufacturing ceased. It is highly unlikely that this silk manufacturing will be revived due to the vast cost of making new looms. The cost of the silk itself would be heady, and because the silk is cut on the bias, causing much wastage, it would take a metre and a half of this silk per Hat.

"The Winners At Ascot"
The wheel always tends to turn full circle and now Old Black Silk Top Hats are regaining their former status. Gentlemen are demanding fine Top Hats for the Derby, Royal Ascot and weddings and garden parties.

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