The Legacy of Iconic Adam Hats

Discover the fascinating history of Adam Hats, a significant American hat manufacturer and retailer. From its establishment in 1924 to its wide popularity in the 40s and 50s, explore how the brand left an indelible mark in the fashion industry.

The History of Adam Hats

by | Aug 15, 2014

Adam Hats Corporation was an American manufacturer and retailer of hats and was founded in 1924 by Elias Lustig and expanded until it eventually operated between 87 to 97 retail stores across the United States.

Adams Hats

Adams Hats were very popular in the 1940’s and 1950’s.

Adam Hats were also distributed to authorized Adam Hat agents. These agents were department stores which were not owned nor operated by Adam Hats.

Adam Hats manufactured and sold a variety of hats, including the traditional fedora, and pork pie hat. In late spring of each year, Adam Hats promoted straw hats for the summer.

The brand was very popular in the 1940’s and 1950’s due to the New York based Adam Hats was a sponsor of radio broadcasts of boxing matches which were held at Madison Square Garden. The boxing matches were called by radio announcer Sam Taub.

Adam Hats also sponsored a radio program, The Strange Dr. Weird, on the Mutual Network from 1944 to 1945. Most of these programs, complete with the Adam Hats commercials, are archived. Adam Hats distributed a series of matchbook covers commonly known as “Sam Taubs Ring Personalities”. The inside of each matchbook in the series had a biographical summary of a well known boxer of the era.

Adam Hats spared no expense in advertising, often using the celebrities of the thirties and forties in their advertising materials. Advertising materials included matchbooks, celebrity 8×10 photos, magazine ads, radio commercials, newsboy aprons, and numerous other items.

A series of Adam Hat matchbooks from 1942 was a contest for people to try to win a free hat. Each matchbook in the series had a celebrity photo, and six names below the photo. If one of those names was the celebrity in the photo, then that was a winning matchbook.

Adam Hat stores had meticulously decorated window displays. The outside of their stores were trimmed around the edges with stained wood, and the store logo showed the name “Adam” in big block letters.

Lustig sold the company in 1954 to an entity called Leitman, owned by Investor Harold Leitman. In 1955, Miller Brothers purchased the manufacturing and wholesale segments of the company. Residing in Scarsdale, New York in the last years of his life, Lustig died of cancer in 1958.

Miller Brothers was based in Dallas, Texas, where an old Adam Hats facility has been re-developed into residential property, still called the Adam Hats lofts.  Dallas-based Miller Brothers Executive Benjamin Parrill became Adam Hats President in 1955. Mr. Parrill passed away in 2007.

In the 1950s, Miller Brothers introduced miniature hat boxes with miniature hats. These novelty items were used as gift certificates, to be redeemed for a hat.