The Lucky Lindy Lid: A Forgotten Fashion Craze From The Golden Age of Flight
In the summer of 1927 a new fashion craze swept the nation. Called the "Lucky Lindy Lid," it was a ladies' felt hat that came in a variety of sizes and colors. Adorned with a small propellor on the front and two miniature wings darting out on each side, it may have looked a bit ridiculous, but it celebrated an important moment in aviation history — Charles Lindbergh's flight across the Atlantic.
The Lucky Lindy Lid was inspired by Charles Lindbergh's first solo, non-stop transatlantic flight from New York to Paris in May of 1927, and the hat rallied the country behind a new national hero. There was a feeling that the march of modernity was becoming unstoppable. And thanks to Lindbergh, the world was getting that much smaller.
Following the flight, everyone wanted to put Lindbergh's name on their products. But few would seek his approval to do so. According to A. Scott Berg's 1999 biography of Lindbergh, manufacturers of toys, watches, rulers, pencils, cigars and even canned fruit came out of the woodwork to put Lindbergh's name, likeness, or just an image of his plane on their products. And just like the cigars and the canned fruit, the Lucky Lindy Lid would hit stores without Lindbergh's approval.
The Lucky Lindy Lid was made by at least two different companies, including the Bruck Weiss Company. And while they may look like a silly novelty hat, these things weren't exactly cheap. At their least expensive, they sold for $1.49 at Strub's department store in Iowa City, Iowa; and $3 at a shop called Hanowitz's in Steven's Point, Wisconsin. That's almost $20 in Iowa and $40 in Wisconsin, adjusted for inflation. And according to the book Hats: A Stylish History and Collector's Guide, the Lucky Lindy Lid was priced from $5 to as much as $10 in other parts of the country. That's about $65 and $130 respectively when you take inflation into account.
But the Lucky Lindy Lid wouldn't last for long. The hat only remained fashionable for a brief period in the summer and fall of 1927. In fact, I can't find mention of the hat anywhere in 1928. In all likelihood, the novelty wore off after aviation firsts were knocked down in rapid succession at the end of the 1920s. The future was arriving quickly, and in the glitz and excess of the Roaring Twenties, there were few sins greater than wearing last season's hat.
Top photo: Scanned from the book Paradise Promoted: The Booster Campaign That Created Los Angeles, 1870-1930 by Tom Zimmerman