Photo Credit: The Library of Congress/Flickr

The automobile industry can be held responsible for many things throughout history – climate change, pollution, the demise of public transportation – but NPR thinks that it is responsible for something even more sinister: killing off men’s hats.

100 years ago a man never left the house without his hat. Just ask my grandmother who was born in 1912; a man and his hat were as inseparable then as a man and his iPhone is today. They never went anywhere without each other. But that all changed when the Interstate Highway System was built by Dwight Eisenhower and the automobile became the de-facto mode of transportation in this country.

From NPR:

Before Eisenhower, many more people used public transportation. After Eisenhower, they used a car. That, my father thinks, created the critical Head-To-Roof Difference.

Until cars became the dominant mode of personal transport, there was no architectural reason to take your hat off between home and office. With Dwight Eisenhower’s interstate highway system came cars, and cars made hats inconvenient, and for the first time men, crunched by the low ceilings in their automobiles, experimented with hat-removal, and got to like it.

Well there you have it; the automobile industry killed men’s hats. Who knew? But with the mass-consumption of EVs and a whole new mode of transport just over the horizon, maybe we can work together encourage automakers to make their roofs just a little taller in order to allow hat-wearing to come back into vogue. I’m thinking we need to bring back men’s hats and help the auto industry redeem itself for past injustices. What do you say?

[via Reddit]