Founded in 1909 by William Gross, Standard Hat Works had humble beginnings. Mr. Gross, a Hungarian immigrant, walked the streets of New York City selling the hats right off his head. Mr. Gross eventually found a home for Standard Hat Works in Waco and opened up shop at 622 Washington Street.
In the 1940's, Mr. Gross sold Standard Hat Works to Bill Martin.
In the early 80's, Standard Hat Works was front and center as the cowboy hat became a staple of pop culture, due in no small part to the success of the movie "Urban Cowboy". It was around this same time that Standard Hat Works hired Doug Eastland, who helped solidify Standard Hat Works as one of the premiere hat companies in the nation, and ultimately took over the store. Standard Hat Works was the hat company of choice for many celebrities and made hats for George Strait, Clint Black, Garth Brooks, Neal McCoy, and Miss Texas. Even celebrities not known to be hat acts were wearing custom hats from Standard Hat Works including Oprah Winfrey, the band members of Guns and Roses, David Letterman, Arsenio Hall, and Mr. Martin's world famous nephew Steve Martin. Standard Hat Works custom hats could also been seen in the movies, worn by Luke Perry in "Eight Seconds" and by numerous cast members in "Lonesome Dove".
Standard Hat Works remained at the Washington Street location until 1988 when the store moved to Waco Drive because of fire hazard concerns.
Ironically, a fire claimed most of the hat making equipment in 1993. Standard Hat Works was forced to close down for one year, then sold to Richard Dick in 1997.
Lenny Lawson took over the reigns and opened Standard Hat Works' Interstate 35 location in January 2006. Mr. Lawson spent several years working to replace the equipment that was lost in the fire of '93. He gathered equipment from all over the world in order to give Standard Hat Works costumers the ultimate in quality and comfort. Mr. Lawson has studied the art of millinery, or hat making, for years. He continued the Standard Hat Works tradition of outfitting ranchers, city slickers, rodeo stars, and even celebrities such as Johnny Lee, Kevin Fowler, the "Honky Tonk Kid" Aaron Watson, and the flight crew of Air Force One.
Standard Hat Works' new owner Cameron Morris, a Waco, Texas native, took over the business in June, 2013. With family ties to the Martin and Eastland families, Cameron is continuing in their tradition of making great hats under the Standard Hat Works brand.
Photo Credit - Josh Morgan, Josh Morgan Creative
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