The 'conformateur' is placed over the clients head causing the 60 ebony rods to be pushed outwards. A metal spring round the circumference of the rods at the base of the "hat" keeps them firmly in place. As they expand, in turn they move the central spikes which take the form a miniaturised outline of the shape of the head. A piece of card is held in place with a clip under the cork lined. When the lid is closed with the hat in position the spikes form an imprint on the paper, which is then kept by the hatter as a record of his client's head shape. This can be reconstructed into an exact life-size replica of the client's head using a 'formillion'.

The 'formillion' was used in conjunction with a 'conformateur' by hatters as a mold on which they made bespoke headwear. Central oval iron, wood and brass rings hold 48 separate spacers in place and are secured with 8 brass wing nuts. This instrument shows the incredible quality and ingenuity of the 19th century craftsmen. The boxwood spacers all have slightly different shapes and each one has been painstakingly hand made with double dovetail joints. The miniaturised template of the clients head shape made with the 'Conformateur' was placed in the center of the mold. With the wing nuts loose, each of the spacers could be easily adjusted to fit the template. Once the shape had been outlined the wing nuts would be tightened and the outer circumference of the formillion, (now exactly the same shape and size of the clients head) would be used as a robust base onto which the hat was constructed.
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Custom Cowboy Hats, Cowboy Hats, Arizona, Custom Hats, JW Brooks, America's Finest Hats, Hat Maker, Hat Cleaning, Decorative Hats, Embroidered Hats, Hats with Jewels.
Cave Creek, Arizona | Gravette, Arkansas 480-276-3001
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Photographs By Charles E. Brooks - Brooks Photography
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