Recrafting a Maillard, made in Paris, antique Formillon, a hat maker's tool for measuring heads

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Project by Mark A. DeCou posted 09-07-2012 09:47 PM 4418 views 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Project: re-crafted Maillard Formillon, a hat maker’s tool

Materials: Brass, Steel, Wood, Cork, Tin Solder, Glue, Wax

I included a photo of a past Conformateur restoration project, so that you could see how the two tools work together as a set to measure a person’s head, and translate that to a hat shape.


Project Story:
I will have to post more about this another night when I have more time. This is a Formillon, made by, or for, the Maillard company of Paris, France, in the 1850-1900 time frame. I received this antique hat maker’s tool, and replaced all of the wooden parts. As I sit and look at the photos of this, it’s just amazing to me how long such an activity takes to accomplish. But, it’s finished, and I’m glad it’s finished. I’ve done several of these Formillon restorations over the years, most of them just need a handful or a dozen fingers, but once in awhile I need to build all new fingers for one of them. They have to be highly specific in size, since they are used with a Conformateur to accurately measure a person’s head, and then are used to translate that measurement into a shape for making the hat. A tiny little difference in size, and the hat is made wrong. If you have never worn a hat that actually has been conformed to your head by a custom hat maker, you are missing something, and you wouldn’t really understand why the rest of us like it so much.

If you are looking for a custom hat maker, let me know and I’ll recommend some names for you.

If you are an owner of any Maillard hat making equipment that you’d like me to restore, please contact me and we can discuss the situation.

I’ll write more when I get time, gotta hit the State Fair.
thanks for reading along,
Mark DeCou

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

6 comments so far

View Roger's profile


21010 posts in 3283 days

#1 posted 09-07-2012 11:46 PM

Oh man.. This is kool. I’ve always been a hat-man. I don’t leave the house without somethin on me head

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

23195 posts in 3584 days

#2 posted 09-07-2012 11:54 PM

That is a neat tool for a hat maker. Thanks for sharing. I would have never seen one had you not shown it to us. Thanks, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Karson's profile


35197 posts in 4879 days

#3 posted 09-07-2012 11:56 PM

Mark: great restoration.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3782 days

#4 posted 09-08-2012 02:53 AM

that is some mighty fine work, i dont know much at all about this type of equipment, but it looks like they do a good job, and i love seeing the craftsmanship into this kind of tool…great work mark

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View mmh's profile


3677 posts in 4201 days

#5 posted 09-09-2012 01:16 AM

Your restoration work is always impressive and it is also an educational treat to view tools and artifacts of years gone bye that many of us would never come across or recognize.

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View scrollingmom's profile


1196 posts in 2943 days

#6 posted 09-10-2012 01:21 AM

Looks good. I like hearing about the restoration of old tools. Is this tool still in operation?

-- Kelly, Allen,KS

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