Mystery Hat--Possibly Conductor's

SVRailroader Jul 29, 2017

  1. SVRailroader

    SVRailroader TrainBoard Member

    A few years ago, I picked up a "conductor's hat" from a model railroading distributor in Eastern Washington. I took it to the railroad I volunteer on to show it off. One of the other members, however, commented that it seemed more like a bandmaster's hat than a conductor's hat; comparing it to the conductor (and brakeman) hats on the railroad reinforced that opinion, so I set this in the closet for a few years (though I pulled it out once for a costume).

    Recently I've been looking for a new conductor's hat online, and I'm noticing a number of "vintage" hats do seem to have the same shape as this one. So I'm wondering--can anyone tell if this hat is an actual conductor's (or trainman's) hat? There are no railroad markings on the inside so far as I can tell; the buttons on the outside say "FD" and don't seem to correspond to any railroad I've heard of.

  2. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

    Last edited: Jul 29, 2017
  3. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Looks similar to RR used hats. Unfortunately such hats were used by non-railroad entities. Police, fire and.... I am wondering if "FD" could mean "fire department?"
    Kurt Moose likes this.
  4. SVRailroader

    SVRailroader TrainBoard Member

    I'm starting to think that's the case; it looks fairly similar to some of the hats in acptulsa's link.
  5. Wojo

    Wojo TrainBoard Member

    The brass buttons give it away as a Fire Department uniform hat. My department referred to these as "Bell" Hats, although I have no factual reason why.
    Conductor and Trainmen hats were very similar, sometimes differentiated only by trim buttons and hat badges. Larger fire departments had their initials on the trim buttons, eg. CFD instead of FD as in your example. Railroad hats would have brass trim buttons with railroad initials and symbol.

    BoxcabE50 likes this.

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