The art of Chapeaugraphy dates back to the 1750's and was first created as a performance art piece by a French comedian named Tabarin. His original routine involved using the ring of felt, along with various beards, moustaches and makeup to create a series of ten individual characters in his act. About a hundred years after that, in 1870, a very clever French comedian, Monsieur Fusier, revived the "Exercise of the Hat", also using makeup and wigs to portray around fifteen 'portraits'.
One year following that, Mons. Trewey, saw his performance and spent the next four years developing a presentation of his own. The difference is that he chose to do his characters using only the felt ring and his own range of facial expressions to develop over twenty-five characters. The male character photos on these web pages are of Mons. Trewey. The art of hat twisting spread from there, becoming a hobby or form of home entertainment, such as were the pre-electronic media era jig-saw puzzles and the like. The woman pictured here practiced the art at home, around the turn of the century, as a form of self-expression.
In the most recent context, it has once again been relegated to a rare and somewhat obscure performer's "bit" as seen recently on national network television, eloquently rendered by Harry Anderson. The Chap-O is the next step in the evolution of Chapeaugraphy, as it shifts once again from the performance arena, back into the hands (or heads as it were) of the public.