The Public Paperfolding History Project

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Last updated 22/33/2024

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The Printer's Hat (aka the Pressman's Hat)
 
This page is being used to collect information about the paperfolding design commonly known as the Printer's (or Pressman's Hat). Please contact me if you know any of this information is incorrect or if you have any other information that should be added. Thank you.

The Printer's Hat is developed from the Newspaper Hat. It is different from the Workman's Hat (which is developed from an oblong the central part of which is folded into a waterbomb base.) Workman's Hats are also known to have been worn by printers.

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Introduction

There are several assertions in the literature to the effect that Printer's Hats were worn as early as 1748 (which may, of course, all be copied from each other). This is a very specific date and suggests that the original writer had some clear documentary evidence in mind. Unfortunately I have no idea what this could have been. It may well, of course, be specifically erroneous.

'Newspaper Magic' by Gene Anderson and Fances Marshall, which was published in 1968, contains diagrams for the Pressman's Hat and quotes the News-Journal Paper of Wilmington (from 'last year' ie 1967) as saying that 'records show it was being worn in the United States as early as 1748'. No evidence to support this assertion is offered.

This article (of unknown date) in the Indianapolis News makes the same assertion, which can also be found in many other sources.

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Chronology

1907

This photo of cotton mill workers at Topshop Mill, Stand Lane, Radcliffe, some of whom are wearing paper hats, is said to have been taken in 1907. (Information from Susan Hicks, whose great, great grandfather is in the photo.) These hats appear to be a mixture of Workman's Hats and Printer's Hats. Those that I think may be Printer's hats are shown in the enlargements below, in order of relative certainty from left to right. You can judge for yourself whether you agree with me.

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1940

As far as I know diagrams for a version of the Printer's Hat first appear in Popular Mechanics Magazine for February 1940. (Information from Josť Tomas Buitrago.)

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1954

Issue 315 of the magic magazine 'New Phoenix' for September 1954, edited by Jay Marshall, contains diagrams for a Printer's Hat of a similar design, but created by a more sophisticated folding method. This method is 'attributed' to (ie presumably learned from) two New York printers, Al Koenig and Mike Modrako. Information from Edwin Corrie.

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1957

The same hat was featured in Jack and Jill magazine during 1957 (I do not know which issue this page comes from.) Information from Edwin Corrie.

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1968

The same version appears as a recreational origami design in 'Teach Yourself Origami: The Art of Paperfolding' by Robert Harbin, which was published by The English Universities Press in 1968.

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