With a star-studded appeal to all “motherfunders,” Pennsylvania’s Bollman Hat Co., America’s oldest lid maker, has launched a crowdfunding appeal to raise at least $100,000 to move 70 unique knitting machines from China to its Lancaster County factory.
Don Rongione, CEO of Bollman Hat Co., which makes Kangol caps, in the firm’s Adamstown, Pa., factory. To help bring over 70 Kangol machines from China, Bollman is crowdfunding to make up a $100,000 shortfall, with help from Samuel L. Jackson. ( DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer
The move would enable 41 new jobs at Bollman, which is still smarting from nearly 130 layoffs in the mid-2000s tied to competition from China.
In global-trade irony, the knitting machines, inventory now housed at a factory in Panyu, China, will allow Bollman to ramp up production at its factory in Adamstown, said Don Rongione, Bollman’s president and CEO, a native of Northeast Philadelphia whose father had been a cloth cutter for overcoat maker Harry Fischer.
The machines, as much as 80 years old, would enable Bollman to make the world-famous Kangol 504, a stylized wool hat first introduced in Britain in 1954. It gained a passionate U.S. following in the 1980s, when it became the adopted headgear of the godfathers of hip-hop.
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