Hidden amongst the pine trees of East Texas, just off of the main drag in the town of Longview, sits the always busy Resistol Hat Company’s fur cutting plant.
Resistol hats start as nothing more than bales of fur.
“We buy raw fur, which comes from all over the world, Canada, Europe, Russia, all over, beavers, hares fur, rabbit, all kinds of different exotic furs,” said Stan Redding, president of the Resistol Hat Company.
The fur then goes through a machine that’s been doing the same thing since 1892.
“We sift them, separate them, blend them, spin them in a machine that looks very much like a cotton candy machine,” said Redding.
Over a very lengthy process the raw fur turns into something resembling a hat, eventually making their way into boxes off to Garland, Texas and a facility that’s been around since 1938. It is in Garland where the hats finally start to look like something you actually would want to wear.
“We pounce it, we stiffen it, and as you guys saw, the sweat bands and the liners and the 300 plus steps that it takes to go and all the hands that touch it,” said Redding.
The hats are shaped and molded by machines that are as old as our grandparents, but Redding says what makes a Resistol hat different are the people tirelessly working the material.
“The only way that we can control our quality from start to finish is just that, we have to own it, touch it,” he said.
Redding says that’s why all felt and wool hats Resistol makes, more than half a million every year, are made in Texas.
“We are made in the U.S.A. We are made in Texas. We could do what many others do. We could take this out of the country, overseas. We could do it cheaper. Wouldn’t be near the quality,” he said.
And what’s more Texan than a cowboy hat.
“There is something about a hat that is more romantic than other things,” said Redding.