Eric Patton | Knickerbocker MFG & Cotter Pin Gear

The trucker hat re-invented :: The makers and stories behind the products


We met Eric Patton working with our friends at Knickerbocker MFG. Almost every time Justin and I visit the Knickerbocker MFG shop, whether its in the evenings, on weekends, at off- hours picking up products, Eric is sure to be there. To say he is hard-working wouldn’t do justice to the fact that Eric has a certain love of his craft that we recognize and above all respect.  Eric grew up in Ohio, and on a recent trip back home while visiting family, he was reflecting on his childhood. He realized how strongly influenced he was and still is by his grandfather, his uncles, and the rural landscape that was their shared backdrop. 


Patton recalls that his grandfather, a surly die-hard farmer, never wore a t-shirt in his life.  No matter how hot it was, he always had a collared shirt on, buttoned-up, respectable. In the dead heat of summer, occasionally, it would be a short-sleeve button up.  He remembers the graphics and fonts of the seed-company signs he would see along the roadside. He remembers his uncles, unlike his grandfather, often wore no shirts at all, accustomed to working long hours in the sun’s blaze, sometimes with only a hat for protection.

When Eric returned to Brooklyn from that trip, he received a package from his father, who was obviously listening closely as Eric reminisced about times past.  Inside the package was a mesh hat with a seed company logo, the kind his grandfather always wore.  When he put it on his head, he instantly remembered the he wore that hat everywhere as a kid, funny thing was, at 35 years old, and it fit like it did back then. It was an oversized box on his head and Eric felt like a kid again trying on this large boxy trucker cap. That hat gave Eric the great idea to remake this hat in a more refined shape that he could wear everyday and not look like Forest Gump. Our favorite part of his idea to reinvent this hat was that its probably the only All American Made trucker hat you can find these days. Most American Trucker hats sadly are mass produced overseas. 

Eric’s brand is born from stories like these.  He has modernized the silhouette of that farmer/trucker hat, and made it his own, with careful consideration for each detail. We should mention that this hat requires 5-7 separate machines to assemble. We especially appreciate the way the top button has been left out, out of consideration for two-wheeled riders and their helmets. For the bike-messengers and chopper lovers who roll with their hats under the helmet Eric has saved you a ton of pain!  Its also a damn good way to keep cool in the summer while keeping the sun from scorching your head

Check out Eric's New Brand Here!


Sean Gilligan

Sean Gilligan and Justin C Knapp, each bring years of experience from varying backgrounds to contribute to the success and innovation of Cotter Pin. Sean brings an extensive knowledge of exceeding clients expectations, creating compelling visual narratives and understanding the sustained focus required of being an entrepreneur from his 20+ year background as a Commercial Photographer. Justin also has an impressive repeat client list, a rich knowledge of materials from his experience in finish carpentry/exhibit installation and a true appreciation for & dedication to the love of quality craftmanship. Both men bring a high level of detail orientation to their product design, respect deadlines and all of the vendors they have the pleasure of working with. Cotter Pin is founded on principles of collaboration and creating products which encourage all people to spend time outside, enjoying "the simple things" and appreciating natural beauty. Sean and Justin are both avid nature lovers, who believe that spending time outside is the best remedy to many of society ills.