For centuries, Luton was a quiet market town. In the 17th century, the straw hat trade took hold. During the 18th century, it came to dominate life in the town. The trade was a cottage industry, until 1826, when Richard Vyse, a London hatter, opened a factory in Luton. It was the first of many. The hat trade which once made Luton famous went into decline in the early 20th century.