Bite-sized knowledge for the hungrily curious

What is the volume of a “ten gallon” hat?

The Answer

About 3/4 of a gallon.

A ten-gallon hat doesn’t hold 10 gallons. If it did, it would be pretty unwieldy. It actually would hold roughly 3/4 of a gallon or 3 quarts.

So, why the heck is it called a 10-gallon hat?

The name is believed to originates from a mistranslation.

“Cattle drivers and ranchers in Texas and the Southwest often crossed paths with Mexican vaqueros who sported braided hatbands—called “galóns” in Spanish—on their sombreros. A “10 galón” sombrero was a hat with a large enough crown that it could hold 10 hatbands”

Why do we call it a 10-gallon hat? – HISTORY

American cowboys adopted the name to describe their own sombrero-inspired headgear as “10-gallon hats.”

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Bonus Biscuit: Were cowboy hats the most popular hat in the old west?

Actually, despite the impression we get from western movies, the cowboy hat wasn’t the most popular.  The bowler or derby hat was.

“It was the Derby/bowler, not the cowboy hat or sombrero, was the most popular hat in the American West. It was so common in fact that Lucius Beebe to call it “the hat that won the West”.  When you see old west photos of town’s people, shop keepers, bar tenders and the like, almost all of them wore derbies.”

How common was the Bowler or Derby hat in the old west?