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The design of this wool hat with ear flaps dates back more than 100 years. The style originated with George “Stormy” Kromer back in 1903. Kromer was a semi-pro baseball player and a railroad engineer. He wanted a warm hat that wouldn’t blow away while he was working on a train, and asked his wife Ida to make him something. She sewed a set of ear flaps with a tie onto a wool baseball cap. It worked, and it was a hit with the other railroad workers. The Kromer Cap Company was established that same year. Eventually opened a factory in Milwaukee to produce the headwear, which had also become popular with hunters and outdoorsmen.
Though Holden Caulfield, the narrator of J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, never mentions the brand of his treasured red hunting cap, its description comes pretty close to the Stormy Kromer: a long peak, earflaps, and often worn by deer hunters.
After the Kromer Cap Company planned to cease production of their classic hats in 2001, Jacquart Fabric Products bought the rights to the design. Production moved from Milwaukee to Ironwood, Michigan, where it remains today. Outside the factory stands a larger-than-life version of the iconic wool cap.
Know Before You Go
The huge cap is out front and can be visited anytime. The factory store is open Monday - Friday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Factory Tours must be scheduled in advance, by calling or booking online.