The Hatter

From Academic Kids

Missing image
The Hatter as depicted by Tenniel

The Hatter, popularly known as The Mad Hatter (though he is never actually given that name in the book) is a fictional character encountered at a tea party and later as a witness at a trial in Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. He makes a cameo appearance in the sequel Through the Looking Glass as "Hatta", the imprisoned royal messenger. He has been portrayed on film by Edward Everett Horton, Martin Short, Ed Wynn and in a music video by Tom Petty. The chapter in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland called "The Mad Tea Party" is often erroneously called "The Mad Hatter's Tea Party", though in fact it takes place in the garden of the March Hare.

The phrase "Mad as a Hatter" existed long before the character, and may derive from the harmful effects of chemicals, such as Mercury, formerly used in hat-making.

The "10/6" on the Hatter's hat is commonly believed to be the price of the hat, meaning ten Shillings and Sixpence.


The Real Hatter

The Hatter is generally believed to be based on Theophilus Carter, at one time a servitor at Christ Church. He invented an alarm clock bed, exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851, that tipped out the sleeper at waking up time. He later owned a furniture shop, and became known as the Mad Hatter from his habit of standing in the door of his shop wearing a top hat. Sir John Tenniel is reported to have come to Oxford especially to sketch him for his illustrations.

Popular Culture

The Mad Hatter character appears in a number of other places:

  • In the computer game American McGee's Alice, which is essentially a gothic take on the classic story, the Mad Hatter is partially responsible for saving Alice from the fire that killed the rest of her family.
  • Mad Hatter (comics) is a comic-book supervillain modelled on the Wonderland character, and a foe of Batman.
  • Belial is a character known as "the Mad Hatter" in the Japanese comic Angel Sanctuary.


  • Albert Anastasia (1902-1957), a New York City mafioso known for his role in leading Murder, Inc., was known as "the Mad Hatter" most likely because of his discerning taste for fine haberdashery.

See also


it:Cappellaio Matto


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