Oddity - The Hat That Flew Round-The-World Passes Through Hong Kong

Submitted by moddsey on Fri, 12/16/2022 - 00:59

China Mail 30 January 1937

A hat, unaccompanied by its owner, has just made an aerial journey in stages completely round the world. The hat belongs to Mr. A. E. Wickey, a Railway Express employee in St. Louis, USA. It seems that he put his hat aboard an airliner one day with the remark: "As it doesn't look as if I'm ever to be able to travel round the world myself, please take my hat."

The air officials entered into the spirit of things and it was sent on its aerial way with special instructions.

First, the hat was airborne down to South America, then it went across the South Atlantic on the Graf-Zeppelin airship. After this came various trips over European air routes, and a series of further long distance stages eastward during which the hat had collected many labels on its brim - was flown between Penang and Hong Kong in an aircraft of Imperial Airways.

From Hong Kong to Manila, the hat was hung in the pilot-house of a steamer and upon reaching Manila the hat was transferred to one of the flying boats of Pan-American Airways and was flown on in stages to San Francisco. After this, it continued across the American continent to New York, where Mr. Wickey was summoned to meet and receive it with much ceremony. 

(When the article was written, Pan-Am had not yet extended its route network to Hong Kong. The extension came in April 1937 when Pan-Am added a Manila-Macao-Hong Kong leg. )


The Imperial Airways & Pan American Airways routes link up in Hong Kong encouraged a number of                              “first around the world by air” events.

On 6 May 1937 a watch manufactured by a leading company in the United States was reported to be making a round-the-world trip by air on the wrists of several airliner captains. The watch traveled from San Francisco to Manila on the wrist of Captain William Cluthe of the China Clipper.  Captain Cluthe transferred it to the wrist of Captain A.W. La Porte flying the Hong Kong Clipper who brought it to Hong Kong.  When Captain La Porte met Captain Finnegan piloting the Imperial Airways DH86 liner Delphinus, another transfer was made, and the watch traveled on his wrist to Penang. Captain Finnegan, on his return to Hong Kong reported that the watch was now nearing London on the wrists of various Imperial Airways pilots on the Singapore-London service. From Europe the watch was expected to cross the Atlantic to the United States on the wrist of the captain of the Zeppelin Hindenburg, but it may have been destroyed in the disastrous loss of the airship by fire when landing at New Jersey.