Article in the Boston Post, 1913-01-20:
ALUMINUM HATS HIGH COST FOE
Benyon Would Have State Supply Them Free.
Aluminum hats as one solution of the high cost of living are advocated by John F. Benyon, a Boston writer and publisher. He says they would save millions of dollars every year and shatter the high cost of living.
Mr. Benyon declares that when he announces his candidacy for Congress or the Legislature he will run on an aluminum hat platform.
WOULD HAVE FREE HATS
He proposes to introduce a bill making compulsory the wearing of aluminum hats, which would be supplied without charge by the State to every young woman when she attains the age of millinery indiscretion.
These hats, says Mr. Benyon, would be durable, artistic and inexpensive. With a simple turn of the wrist they could be bent into the shape prescribed by the latest dictates of fashion. They would be warm and light and would last a lifetime. The statute he proposes would permit the owner to paint her aluminum hat any color she fancied, and to tack on any simple trimming that appealed to her individual taste.
It is estimated that the general adoption of Mr. Benyon's aluminum hat scheme would save more than $400,000,000 per year in this country alone, now expended in promoting milliners into the capitalistic class.
This $400,000,000, applied to the high cost of living, would buy about 67,000,000 barrels of flour, or pay the grocery bills of every family in New England for about a year.
Boston Women Do Not Enthuse
When a Post reporter talked with some of Boston's prominent women about the aluminum hat proposition they did not seem enthusiastic about it.
"I think some of us might appreciate aluminum hats," said Miss Alice Stone Blackwell, "but the idea isn't very practical, because the same hat wouldn't always be in style."
"But that's the very thing," suggested the reporter. "It is proposed to have these hats so made that they may be bent into any shape and the law suggested by Mr. Benyon gives women the right to paint them any color desired as frequently as they wish. Why, suppose a woman buys a new gown; she can get some paint and match the—"
"But most of the fun is in buying the new hat," objected Miss Blackwell. "The frame doesn't cost much, anyway. The biggest part is the trimming. I'm afraid I don't think much of aluminum hats."
Would Look Well on Men
"I think an aluminum hat would look much better on a man than one of those horrid derbies, but I don't think I should like to wear one," said Mrs. Teresa A. Crowley, one of the best-known women lawyers in Boston and a leader of the "Votes for Women" crusade.
"I don't think such a bill could ever get through our Legislature," she continued. "I don't believe the men would dare vote for it."
John F. Benyon was the editor of the Boston monthly magazine Wisdom. There's a short biography of him in the Aug. 1902 National Magazine. Beyond that, I can't find much more.
His proposed legislation was widely reported as far away as Australia (e.g. The Geelong Advertiser, 1913-03-29, which falsely confabulates that the bill was passed in the Iowa House 95-4, with 9 not voting). But I can find no evidence that he ever actually ran for office on an aluminum hat platform, or any other platform.
Of course, the aluminum hat Mr. Benyon proposed was just a more expensive version of an Aluminum Foil Deflector Beanie, and adoption of such by half the population would lead to the downfall of the burgeoning modern state of mass psychotronic control. So why was this public figure allowed to openly advocate that women, and only women, be protected from mind control, on the government's dime no less?
I believe it was a ruse.
He never intended to seriously propose such legislation, nor would anyone ever pass it, as Mrs. Crowley correctly deduced. However, getting fellow journalists to go around mansplaining his compulsory aluminum hat proposal to prominent suffragettes ("But that's the very thing..." was the 1910s version of "Actually...") could serve no purpose other than to sour orthonoid women on aluminum deflector technology before they even learned what it was, thus keeping the psychotronic patriarchy safe.