Dispatches, February 1998
Five years ago, Scott Oxman had a problem. He had fair skin, you see, and whenever he indulged his favorite outdoor passions, his baseball cap would be lost to the wind gods and he'd burn his nose. This state of affairs persisted for some time. Many hats were lost. Much skin peeled. And then, on a beer-soaked afternoon in 1993, inspiration hit: Why not design a more speed-worthy chapeau?
Experiments followed, and eventually Oxman created a prototype — the key to which is a small piece of plastic that, when sewn into a cap brim, offers the aerodynamic properties of an inverted airplane wing. Oxman then founded SpeedVisor Enterprises, marketing a line of fat-billed caps designed to stay on your head at speeds of up to 75 miles an hour. After just four months in business and with 10,000 sold, the company offers a variety of styles, several of which we recently put through some speed tests. Can you feel the suspense?
So, the results: At the highway legal speed of 65, you can indeed stick your SpeedVisor-adorned nut out of your car window and scream obscenities at the chump who's just cut you off. Same goes for bombing down the ski slopes, as long as you refrain from gabbing with your pals on the lift overhead, since any upward gaze will result in the cap peeling off your head like the outermost rind of a boiled artichoke. "It's true," Oxman admits, "that our hats lose their effectiveness if you lift the brim much above 25 degrees. But how many sports really require you to do that much looking up?"
Uh, Scott, what about baseball? "OK, I'll give you that one," Oxman responds, suitably chastened. "But what else?"