Named after the “slats” originally used to stiffen these bonnets, the Slat Bonnet was used during most of the second half of the 19thand well into the 20th century. Women who were working in the fields or around the farm used this style of bonnet. The deep brim and long bavolet (curtain at the back) served to protect the face and neck from the elements. It also makes the wearer feel like they are wearing blinders as it hinders all side vision. It is believed that hickory slats were originally used to stiffen the bonnet so that it could be worn in the rain and in very humid climates where a normal cloth brim would become soggy and droop about the face.
Like most of the cloth bonnets of the 1800’s, slat bonnets came in several shapes and designs. Some had very deep curtains that actually covered the neck and the shoulders, while others had very short curtains that hardly covered even the neck. Some had brims that formed and protected the whole face, with an edging down below the jaw-line and others just extended from ear to ear. Some were constructed so that they could be made to lie flat and be easily ironed while others were built with a shaped back and a drawstring casing