The demand for beaver pelts in Europe ultimately drove the animal to near extinction. The dwindling supply helped the beaver trade boom in the new world, fueling colonial expansion to a significant degree.
Used, smelly winter coats worn by Native Americans were actually a prized commodity for hatmaking because their wear helped prepare the skins, separating out the coarser hairs from the pelts.
The demise of the beaver hat came around the time silk hats came into vogue.
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