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QUESTION:

Hi, Bob.

When a cowboy brags that he has more beaver than his friend what does he mean? MORE MONEY?

- J.

ANSWER:

Howdy, J.!

"Beaver" refers to the quality of a cowboy's hat. The higher the ratio of beaver fur to rabbit fur in a hat's felt, the better the hat.

It used to be that 20x meant 100 percent beaver -- a 5x hat would be 20 percent beaver. Nowadays, some manufacturers use 100x for 100 percent beaver; on that scale, a 5x hat would only be five percent beaver.

My friends at the White Oak Fur Post in Deer River, Minnesota, have some interesting information on how beaver hats used to be made. You'll find it at: http://www.whiteoak.org/learning/furhat.shtml.

Thanks for the question!

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