The Habig family is originally from Freiburg and its family history goes back to the year 1550. Peter Habig moved to Vienna in 1853. He served his 5-year-apprenticeship as a hat maker and became a journeyman. From 1865 onwards, his brother Carl assisted him in the workshop, where they exclusively manufactured silk hats as well as the then much soughtafter "Chemisse Galett" hats.
It was at that time that they made their first humble attempts of manufacturing felt hats. Winning a gold medal at the international exhibit in Kassel in 1870 was the first step towards internationalisation for the newly established company "P. u. C. Habig" ("P. and C. Habig"). Having been honoured with the sought-after "Hors concours Juror" at the Vienna World Exposition was an important turning point in their career and eventually brought about the establishment of Habig as an international brand.
In 1874, P. and C. Habig opened an exclusive retail store located in downtown Vienna (Kärntner Strasse). In 1882, a new building was added to the former workshop located on Wiedner Hauptstrasse. The new and modern factory was equipped with the latest technology, allowing the staff to meet all export orders from Germany and overseas. A particularly exclusive branch opened in 1888 in downtown Berlin (Friedrichstrasse).
This complex was well positioned and equipped to meet all requirements ahead and included a state-of-the-art factory as well as living. "Kommerzialrat" Peter Habig was the founder of the Austrian Hat Makers' Society and also played a major role in the Austrian Hat Fashion Association as well as the Vienna Hat Makers' Co-operative. He served as president of international exhibit committees on several occasions.
Being socially inclined, he was the first to offer loyalty bonuses to workers of more than 20 years' seniority in his business. In addition to that he also rewarded especially hard working apprentices. He was appointed as a member of the arbitration committee of the Industrial Association of Lower Austria. He personally provided funds for a demonstration hat maker's workshop at the Vienna Technical Museum. Peter Habig, who had been awarded many decorations, was among the first to establish a renowned Viennese fashion scene. He was one of the pioneers of the Austrian clothing industry. He passed away on January 4, 1916, in Vienna.
The company was deeply affected by the aftermath of World War I - inflation and a generally bad economic situation - and could not keep its core staff of workers, despite all efforts.
At the beginning of World War II, the company production was reduced to a minimum due to the scarcity of raw materials and the lack of workers.
After the end of World War II P. and C. Habig were among the first to start manufacturing hats made from old stock, selling them in exchange for ration cards and clothing cards. The main business activity back then, which was an important factor in keeping the company afloat, was the mending of old hats.
After the retail shop in downtown Vienna (Kärtnerstrasse) was sold, Carl F. Habig, born in 1942, became the sole director of the company on March 20, 1969. He was the fourth family member in a row to hold this position. It was time to modernize the company and to streamline the production process.
Excerpt of: Die Staatswappenträger Österreichs; Jupiter Verlagsgesellschaft mbH, Wien 1978
In 2006 Barbara Habig (daughter of Carl F. Habig) is launching a new line of luxury hats. A mixture of exclusive, extraordinary materials is significant for the exquisite hat collection.