Memorabilia Monday: Owl Hat

There’s a new item in the Memorabilia collection. It’s a fragile felt hat worn by the Rice Institute band circa 1921.

hat

Here are the members sporting the caps. Sadly in black and white the owl hats don’t seem as special.

wrc00901

Image from: Rice University Archives, photo files, “Group – Bands (Rice Institute, 1921) and others,” Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University

One thought on “Memorabilia Monday: Owl Hat

  1. I expect the hats show as a light grey in the photo because orthochromatic (“ortho”) film was used. That records blues and some greens, but very little red. Ortho film is very sensitive to blue, so skies are almost white. The blue hats would be be much lighter than on modern film. You can hardly see the grey patches against the blue. Reds are almost black in ortho film. I expect the drumhead looked like a light, even tan in the sunlight, but the film emphasizes the slightly darker areas.

    Panchromatic file (“pan”, red-sensitive) became available in 1906, but was more expensive and harder to work with the the darkroom. Panchromatic movie film was first available in 1922.

    By 1926, pan film was as cheap as ortho film and started to take over.

    So photos before 1926 are likely on ortho film and will have unexpected color representation.

    Awesome hat. The MOB should bring those back.

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