The Czech, and previously the Czechoslovak, have a long
history where berets are concerned. The town of Novi Jicin
in the eastern part of the Czech
Republic is the center of
the Czech hat industry, dating back to the year 1630. The mechanized production
of fur felt hats started in 1865 by hatter Johann Nepomuk Hückel, who two years
later started the company J. Hückel & Sons. This name was kept until the
private company was nationalized into a state owned enterprise and FEZCO - TONAK was
born. These days TONAK is one of the world's largest manufacturers of headwear
and berets still take a prominent role in TONAK's assortment.
Why the beret became such a popular headgear among the
Czechs and Slovaks is unknown to me, but evidence of the beret's popularity in
is evident in many movies and photo-libraries and of course the beret was made
immortal thanks to children's animation series Pat and Mat.