7 Little Known Facts About the Mad Hatter

Posted by Hayley on October 6, 2015

October 6, 1986: On this day, a group of "computer folk who had nothing better to do" marked the first annual celebration of Mad Hatter Day. (The date isn't an arbitrary one. October 6 is taken from the "In this style 10/6" note on the Mad Hatter's hat.) The holiday is an excuse to celebrate silliness, and it's been growing steadily for the past 29 years.

Before you embark on a day of tomfoolery and tea parties, check out these fascinating facts about the man under the hat.


1. The real Mad Hatter was probably a man named Theophilus Carter.
A seller of furniture not hats, he impressed his eccentricity upon Carroll in Oxford. While some reports suggest Carter was unaware of his influence on the Wonderland character, Reverend W. Gordon Baillie had this to say: "All Oxford called him 'the Mad Hatter,' and surely his friends, or enemies, must have chaffed him about it." Interestingly enough, Carter also earned himself a different kind of fame—he's rumored to have invented the Alarm Clock Bed, a rather terrifying contraption that woke sleepers by dumping them into a tub of cold water. Madness!


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2. Lewis Carroll never referred to the character as the Mad Hatter.
Well, that's curiouser and curiouser. In both Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, Carroll only refers to him as the Hatter—or Hatta.

3. The phrase "mad as a hatter" was around long before Carroll started writing.
Colloquially used to describe an eccentric person, the phrase originated in the 19th century, back when mercury was used to manufacture felt hats. The hatters who visited these factories often developed mercury poisoning (referred to then as the hatters' shakes), which could lead to slurred speech, memory loss, tremors, and excessive timidity. While Carroll's hatter is certainly mad, based on his general behavior, it's doubtful he was actually suffering from the hatters' shakes.

4. Carroll was surrounded by hatters growing up.
The author grew up in Stockport in Greater Manchester where, believe it or not, the main trade was hat making. (The English do love their hats.)

5. There is a Batman supervillain named the Mad Hatter.
Eighty-three years after Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was published, the Mad Hatter comic book character made his debut in Batman #49. The supervillain keeps his Wonderland counterpart's costume and personality, but in the world of Batman, he is a scientist who uses mind-controlling devices to manipulate his victims. A lot of his gadgets are stored in his hat.

6. If you stare into the mirror at the Mad Hatter's shop in Disneyland, you'll get a visit from the Cheshire Cat.
Planning a trip to Disneyland anytime soon? Then be sure to make a date with the Hatter—and the Cheshire Cat. At the Mad Hatter's shop, located in Fantasyland, look into the large oval-shaped mirror on the wall. After a few minutes, the Cheshire Cat will make a fleeting appearance.

7. The March Hare was just as mad.
We're all mad here. When Alice asks the Cheshire Cat about the people who live in Wonderland, she gets this response: "In that direction lives a Hatter, and in that direction, lives a March Hare. Visit either you like: They're both mad."


How will you mark Mad Hatter Day? Let us know in the comments!

Comments Showing 1-50 of 54 (54 new)


message 1: by Scarlet Cameo (new)

Scarlet Cameo I need read that comic...


message 2: by Ashli (new)

Ashli Barrera #2 TO COMMENT!!!!! Steppin up


message 3: by Bonnie (new)

Bonnie  Zink Love it!


message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

Interesting post! Alice in Wonderland is one of my favorite reads of all time.


message 5: by Erma (new)

Erma Talamante Oh, and I've been sipping coffee all day! The shame!

Why, to celebrate, I believe that the making of some tea cookies are in order for tonight. It is about tea-time already in my neck-of-the-woods, but I rather doubt that any around here do Tea.

So, along with cookies, I (with my daughter and her little stuffed bats - Twinkle, twinkle, little bat...) will tell the story of how Time stopped for one tea party at bedtime tonight!


message 6: by Paula-O (new)

Paula-O Who Knew...and I have about missed the day altogether.


message 7: by Robyn (new)

Robyn Oh, my ears and whiskers! What a lovely idea! I missed it this year, but I'll put it in the calendar for next year.


message 8: by Chris (new)

Chris I think the 10/6 refers to okd english money 10shillings and sixpence the price for a hat "in this style"


message 9: by Samira (new)

Samira These were not as impressive as I thought they would be:(


message 10: by indyandcleo (new)

indyandcleo Love celebrating silliness! Happy Mad Hatter Day!
Tea anyone??.....


message 11: by Robyn (new)

Robyn Chris wrote: "I think the 10/6 refers to okd english money 10shillings and sixpence the price for a hat "in this style""

Yes Chris, it does. But that doesn't prevent an aspiring Hatter from using it as a date to celebrate madness.


message 12: by Kay (new)

Kay J I'll drink tea eat biscuits, and smash all my dinnerware.


message 13: by Kay (new)

Kay J Interesting facts, I just I just wished they were a little more madly (is that even a word?) lol next year I'm there :D


message 14: by Chris (new)

Chris Robyn wrote: "Chris wrote: "I think the 10/6 refers to okd english money 10shillings and sixpence the price for a hat "in this style""

Yes Chris, it does. But that doesn't prevent an aspiring Hatter from using..."

Too true for sure! Haha


message 15: by Kimberley (new)

Kimberley doruyter alice in wonderland is by far one of my fav books of all time.
i even have four different copies.
the hatter is my fav character, even in all the different movies.


message 16: by Grace (new)

Grace Nelson awesome!!!!
I love Alice in wonderland, and through the looking glass is almost just as good.


message 17: by Akearney (new)

Akearney Never fear! You didn't miss it - it's also the 10th of June.


Bookishnymph *needs hea* "Why is a raven like a writing desk?" ;P

#3 interested me, I always wondered where that phrase came from.


message 19: by Isabella (new)

Isabella Wow, Batman's Mad Hatter and the mercury poisoning are "little known facts"? I always knew that!

The only thing in this list I didn't know about was the cheshire cat in the mirror in Disneyland, because unfortunately I never went there :( (maybe one day, I can finally go)


message 20: by Anna (new)

Anna Ahh this makes me want to read Alice in the Wonderland again :3
Tea Party, anyone?


message 21: by Angana (new)

Angana We wore hats and celebrated of course!!!!!


Ertica*~She'sABookBirdy~*Castley " We're all mad here ". Lol i love this Quote!!!. Cheshire cat scared me when i was in my childhood year. But now i've grown up, that cat just amused me and i wonder why he scared me last time. Even the wonderland scared me. Now i LOVED it.


message 23: by J.S. (new)

J.S. Frankel Interesting article. I remember the late Roddy McDowall--a former child actor in the 1940's and a very fine actor when he grew older--did the Mad Hatter's voice in the Batman and Superman animated series' in the 1990's.


message 24: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Shouldn't this be celebrated on the 10th of June rather than the 6th October?


message 25: by Sammy (new)

Sammy Elizabeth wrote: "Shouldn't this be celebrated on the 10th of June rather than the 6th October?"

Just what I was thinking!


message 26: by Desiree (new)

Desiree Elizabeth wrote: "Shouldn't this be celebrated on the 10th of June rather than the 6th October?"

I soooooo agree with you


message 27: by Nidhi (new)

Nidhi Bhatt Wonderful! I love reading or listening to Alice in the Wonderland facts...


message 28: by Nidhi (new)

Nidhi Bhatt Elizabeth wrote: "Shouldn't this be celebrated on the 10th of June rather than the 6th October?"

I believe so! The definitely is 10th June.


message 29: by Jancee (new)

Jancee Tabacnic The Mad Hatter sections of the Batman Arkham games are some of my favorite sections to play through!


message 30: by Mike (last edited Oct 07, 2015 07:21AM) (new)

Mike Franklin Elizabeth wrote: "Shouldn't this be celebrated on the 10th of June rather than the 6th October?"

Absolutely since it is a British book. That was my instant reaction!


message 31: by Erma (new)

Erma Talamante And what about the 363 UN-Tea Party Days???


message 32: by Mike (last edited Oct 07, 2015 08:28AM) (new)

Mike Franklin Erma wrote: "And what about the 363 UN-Tea Party Days???"

Elle wrote: Clearly the answer is to celebrate BOTH of October 6th AND June 10th. That would be the most mad, no? :)"

Now you're talking :) Both of you!


message 33: by Skydreamer (new)

Skydreamer Lee I FORGOT TO CELEBRATE!!! *pulls on a crazy hat and makes a ton of tea while parents look at me like I gone insane drinking tea and wearing hats at 11 pm*


message 34: by Lydia (new)

Lydia The supervillain 'Mad Hatter' kidnaps girls who look like Alice and dresses them in blue dresses


message 35: by ElsaDreams8 (new)

ElsaDreams8 I can't believe I didn't see that yesterday. Next year, I must celebrate. Perhaps drink some tea on that day with biscuits.


message 36: by Mike (last edited Oct 07, 2015 11:12AM) (new)

Mike Franklin ElsaDreams8 wrote: "I can't believe I didn't see that yesterday. Next year, I must celebrate. Perhaps drink some tea on that day with biscuits."

That's no good I already do that every day :) Maybe I should drink some tea with biscuits wearing a Top Hat!

Oh and an interesting digression: at no point in the book does it actually refer to the Mad Hatter. The reference is always just to "the Hatter" whereas the chapter is called "A Mad Tea-Party." the nearest reference to the "Mad Hatter" is in the cat's directions: "'In that direction,' the Cat said, waving its right paw round, 'lives a Hatter: and in that direction,' waving the other paw, 'lives a March Hare. Visit either you like: they're both mad.' And that's just a play on two expressions that both predate Alice in Wonderland; mad as a March hare and mad as a hatter.


message 37: by Veronica (new)

Veronica I'm now adding both dates, 6/10 & 10/6 to my calendar! Great excuse for a tea party!


message 38: by Cassandra (new)

Cassandra Desiree wrote: "Elizabeth wrote: "Shouldn't this be celebrated on the 10th of June rather than the 6th October?"

I soooooo agree with you"


Ah well we'll have another celebration on the 10 of June. But, lets let these Americans have their October the 6th too - then there are TWO days with an excuse to be crazy. But I am generally rather silly every day...


message 39: by Salley (last edited Oct 07, 2015 03:26PM) (new)

Salley J Robins I am adding this to my holiday dates from now on, very fun! (Adding both the October 6th and the June 10th, of course.)


message 40: by J.S. (new)

J.S. Frankel But Salley, if one is mad all year 'round, then how can one celebrate those two special days? :) (Referring to my own brand of crazy, not yours).


message 41: by Cindy (new)

Cindy Erma wrote: "And what about the 363 UN-Tea Party Days???"
I will add this to my calendar and read The Mad Tea Party. According to the hatter there are 363 Un-Tea Party Days, so every day is a day to be silly. I will not break the dishes, husband would not be happy.


message 42: by Cindy (new)

Cindy Ok I read the Mad Tea Party chapter and I was disappointed. There were no Merry Un-birthdays or breaking dishes. Did this come from the movie version? I thought sure it was in the book.


message 43: by Meikoyim (new)

Meikoyim Surely being a British writing, the 10/6 would more logically be following the Brit convention and thus be 10th June instead?


message 44: by Mariam (new)

Mariam The Mad Hatter made our childhoods! With his wonderful madness


message 45: by Salley (new)

Salley J Robins Jesse wrote: "But Salley, if one is mad all year 'round, then how can one celebrate those two special days? :) (Referring to my own brand of crazy, not yours)."

Hee, hee! Jesse, I think you must have a lot of fun! Hmmm.... how to celebrate... that's a tough one. I would never suggest being boring and sane on those two days. I'll think about it. - Salley


message 46: by Salley (new)

Salley J Robins Meikoyim wrote: "Surely being a British writing, the 10/6 would more logically be following the Brit convention and thus be 10th June instead?"

Yes, I thought the same thing, but in a mad world, it is fun to celebrate two crazy days.


message 47: by Hallie (new)

Hallie Lewis Carroll never referred to the character as the Mad Hatter.

When I was a kid, I always wondered why he was called 'Mad Hatter'.


message 48: by Nancy (new)

Nancy Martocchia There just aren't enough "like" buttons for this! Definitely putting this on my calendar.


message 49: by Antonio (new)

Antonio Herrera Who would know, I am a mad hatter indeed.


message 50: by Michael (new)

Michael The Number 1 fact about the Mad Hatter definitely earned it's place as Number 1.


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