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Ecuador - Cuenca - Panama Hat Factories

I visited two Panama Hat factories in Cuenca. Was quite taken with these hats, as apparently the Panama Hat originated with the Cuenca Hat. It happened when the Suez Canal was built, and workers from Cuenca were wearing Cuenca Hats. People liked it so much that it started a great export industry for Cuenca. Raw materials are not from Cuenca but from the coast near Manta.

Unless mentioned, most of the photos were photos that I had taken of photos at the factories. The photo below is one of a dummy model at the first factory I visited:

Raw materials are harvested in the coastal areas of Ecuador, close to Manta on the Pacific Coast:

Bundles are then transported to Cuenca where the ladies prepare the raw materials for the factories, the finer the preparation the higher the grade of the material. The ladies sell the materials to the factories. Thriving business for them.

These photos are my own - guide demonstrating old equipment for shaping the hats ...

Final touches to hats in the sewing room:

Found this on the roof of the first factory I visited. A tile art work of a map of Cuenca.

5 blog comments below

Love that roof map. Did you purchase a Cuenca Hat? If so, model it for us!!!
standready on Sat Nov 24, 2012 10:29 pm
I bought a Panama Hat for a friend. Alas, not one for me. Very Happy
deanhills on Sun Nov 25, 2012 2:47 am
Ok, Dean, when do I get my hat? laugh
standready on Sun Nov 25, 2012 10:43 pm
Guess I'll have to go back to Cuenca to get a hat for Standready .... Laughing
deanhills on Mon Nov 26, 2012 3:09 pm
Well you said you bought a hat for a 'friend'! Hey, if that is what you need for an excuse to go back to Cuenca for a visit - so be it. laugh Very Happy
standready on Tue Nov 27, 2012 5:37 am

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