my summer companion - a panama hat

The Panama hat has been made in Ecuador since 1630. It gets its name from the former customs stamp from Panama. All goods from South America were imported into the USA via Panama and received the appropriate customs stamp.

A Panama hat is made from Toquilla straw, which is obtained from the palm leaf fibers. The leaves of the plant are cut off every three months. These are then separated into strands using a kind of comb and cooked. The typical beige tone is created by heating the brew with sulfur powder. After the threads are made even finer, weaving begins.

Braiding requires a lot of feeling and experience. First the basic shape of the hat is woven. Here, the thinner the fibers, the higher the quality. It can also take several months to finish braiding a hat. The finer the material, the longer it takes to produce it

It is then pressed into the actual shape. In some cases, the hats can only be made in the evening on cloudy days, as the material has to remain constantly moist so that it stays supple and doesn't break. These hats cost over €1,000. The most expensive hat sold was $100,000!

Actually, a Panama hat can be rolled, but this is not possible in our country due to the lack of humidity as the fibers would then break.

Anyone who buys a Panama hat is in good company - the most famous wearers are: Emperor Napoleon III, Atatürk, Churchill, Honecker, Paul Newman and Ernest Hemingway.

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