Blocked Out: 10 Closed & Abandoned Hat-Making Factories

abandoned F. Berg Hat Factory 2

Here’s a spot of trivia for you: Orange, New Jersey was once the hat-making capital of the United States with the city’s first firm opening in 1792. By 1960, however, every single hat-maker had left Orange – either due to bankruptcy or to relocate in other towns.

abandoned F. Berg Hat Factory powerhouse

abandoned F. Berg Hat Factory 1

The former F. Berg & Co. Hat Company was one of the first to fly the Orange coop, closing in 1921. Hats may never make a comeback but the abandoned building once housing F. Berg is, thanks to HANDS, Inc. (Housing and Neighborhood Development Services, Inc) who have been laboriously converting the former hat factory and its powerhouse into live/work spaces for artists… some of whom might even wear hats.

Heath Street Blues

Henry Heath hat factory London

Operating out of the circa-1880 Beaver Building on London’s Oxford Street, the Henry Heath Hat Factory produced handmade headwear of such fine quality it earned a warrant as “Hat Manufacturer to King Alphonso and the Royal Court of Spain”. That was then and this is now: old King Alfonso has gone to that big pancake breakfast in the sky and as for Henry Heath, his Soho factory and the Beaver Building have been redeveloped into luxury loft-style apartments.

Septfonds Regards

abandoned hat factory Septfonds France 2

abandoned hat factory Septfonds France 1

abandoned hat factory Septfonds France 3

There once was a small hat factory in Septfonds, southern France. According to French General at The Warp and the Weft, however, “one day, the workday bell rang and everyone put down exactly what they were working on and walked out. A cigarette, a half finished crown, the iron – everything is left – exactly where it was left 50 years ago.”