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Heiser holsters, readily available for Colt revolvers and autos from the early 1900s, appear in catalogues that can be difficult to date because they don't carry copyright dates. And assumptions that the catalogue number (e.g., No. 20) represents the year of printing are incorrect -- we know this because several of the Heiser company's catalogues, both holster and saddlery, carry (1) the catalogue number, (2) an anniversary number, and (3) the calendar year.

Extrapolating from those anniversary issues, we can get very close to the catalogue's year (within a year) by adding 8 to the catalogue number. It's not more accurate than that, not least because the company was in the habit of listing its founding date variously as 1856, 1857, and 1858; and I used the better-known 1858 date in my model.

Thus it would appear that the company started producing catalogues (alternating year by year between sporting goods -- holsters -- and riding goods -- saddles -- catalogues) at its 50th anniversary circa 1909. This was shortly after the founder's death in 1904 and the company's incorporation in 1906, when Hermann's sons had taken over the business by necessity.

We know that the one and only Heiser-Keyston catalogue no. 52 is from 1957 (an introductory flyer so stating). Yes, I know that reduces the 8 to a 5; perhaps the absorption by first Denver Dry Goods and then Keyston threw a spanner into the works . . ..

It would appear that the company's next catalogue, which was as Heiser-Keyston-Lichtenberger, then used Keyston's founding date -- hence its catalogue number 87 and making it a 1960 issue. Certainly the company did not survive past the early 1960s, much less into the 1990s; though Keyston itself continues (and its capgun holsters of the '30s, '40s, and '50s are the most collectible of their kind).
 
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