Updated 10/18/2012 09:59 AM
Keeping tradition alive, Texas Hatters celebrate 85 years in business
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This month, the official hatter of Texas is celebrating a major milestone.
October has marked 85 years in business for Lockhart-based Texas Hatters, founded by Marvin Gammage and kept in the family since.
"It's an art form from days gone by," Joella Torres said.
Joella is Marvin’s granddaughter and is now president of the company. Her son, Joel Gammage, has grown up in the world of custom hat making.
"It's totally common for us to see hats that my great-grandfather made come back in from someone's great-grandchild and bring it back and have us clean it and refit it for them," Joel said.
All of the hats are hand-made and custom fit. The tools and techniques have been handed down generation to generation.
“All the blocks that we use are handmade. They vary in age from 100 to 200 years old, so they've been around for awhile,” Joel said. “Virtually everything we use is going to be museum quality."
Texas Hatter hats have been worn by presidents, musicians and movie stars.
Joella says she's seen her family's hats all over the world.
"That's a Texas Hatters hat you have on there. My dad creased that. I can see his fingers, you know, I can just imagine him creasing it," she said.
"You might pay a little bit more,” Joel said. “But you're getting something that you're going to own for the rest of your life."
Texas Hatters are famous for their "high-roller" and "half-breed," a half straw and half felt hat.
In addition to the hats, the store is museum-like on its own, decorated with pictures of famous customers and old furnishings from the Texas Capitol.