Why did cowboy hats come in "gallon" sizes? I assume that a "10 gallon hat" wouldn't hold 10 gallons of water. What gives? --Mike "Elvis" Karnowski
SDSTAFF JillGat replies:
"Ten-gallon hat" is the result of a linguistic mix-up. "Galón" is the Spanish word for "braid." Some vaqueros wore as many as ten braided hatbands on their sombreros, and those were called "ten galón hats." English speakers heard gallon. Real cowboy hats came to Texas from the Spanish via Mexico (unless you want to go all the way back to Genghis Khan and the Mongolian horsemen, who apparently wore something similar).
Straight Dope Science Advisory Board
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