Few items in a gentleman's wardrobe have the same air of sophistication as the top hat or topper. When the infamous first top hat was worn by John Hetherington in 1797, it caused a riot. According to a contemporary newspaper account, passersby panicked at the sight. Several women fainted and children screamed. Hetherington was hauled into court for wearing "a tall structure having a shining luster calculated to frighten timid people. It is also useful for conjuring white rabbits out of.
The Huddersfield Chronicle reported that John Hetherington wore the first top hat on this day in 1797. The article stated that he was arrested for breach of the peace after ‘several women fainted at the unusual sight’