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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Suppose it's September 1905, you just bought a Colt Bisley Frontier Six Shooter, 4 3/4" and were heading West...What type of holster would you think a person might buy ? I have been through all the information at Vintage Holsters on the Net, Packin Iron and just about any old Cowboy photo, book, et al, I can stir up from the internet, On line Museum Images and Local Museums and libraries.

But I would like, is the thoughts of the Members here on the conceptions, ideas and perhaps pictures, (if I am to be so lucky). Yes I am in the market, BUT I don't want a modern reproduction, nor do I want a $1,000.00 +, Heiser.

I have my own concepts about a plain leather Holster that was diamond laced and not sewn, but I could be way off...

Help an Ol' Codger out, will ya..Give me your thoughts, pictures maybe a cup of coffee and some friendly conversation.


Many Thanks...
 

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Kid, I looked through some photos and I have precious little that goes back to that time frame. Most of my catalogs and holsters date from the 1910's or '20's up through 1970 or so. I doubt I have anything that would be new or different from what you've already seen.Good luck in your pursuit. Regards, turnerriver
 

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You'd still see the variations of the 'Mexican Loop', which by that time, was probably 'the' common hull of the Old West.

Maybe something along the 'Miles City' style seen in 'Packing Iron' - the one with the single tooled loop would be right.

The rawhide laced ones would become more popular after the Great War.

Go over to www.cascity.com and look at the 'Leather Forum' or the 'Historical Society' and 'NCOWS' forums - you'll see some good examples for the time frame you're interested in, though 1899 is the cut-off for the latter.
 

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You'd still see the variations of the 'Mexican Loop', which by that time, was probably 'the' common hull of the Old West.

Maybe something along the 'Miles City' style seen in 'Packing Iron' - the one with the single tooled loop would be right.

The rawhide laced ones would become more popular after the Great War.

Go over to www.cascity.com and look at the 'Leather Forum' or the 'Historical Society' and 'NCOWS' forums - you'll see some good examples for the time frame you're interested in, though 1899 is the cut-off for the latter.
I think the Mexican loop holster would still be in vogue then, too, but with possible styles drifting away from the two loop Cheyenne style with main seam swell between the loops to single loop styles. These aren't laced and are way too bulky for my personal tastes, but they sure leaves room for lots of border tooling. I think the holster in the upper right of Packing Iron page 129 would be perfect, regardless what year they say it's from, which I can't remember. And it has a short Bisley in it.

 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Would the Montgomery Ward or Sears catalogues of the day show examples? I believe reprints of some of these are available.

Rio
Rio, I think this is a real possibility as well. Sears does /did have a store in Chicago and I think the holsters offered there are or were similar to thos offered by Hibbard, Spencer, Bartlett & Company at that time, where the Bisley was shipped to.

I think the Mexican loop holster would still be in vogue then, too, but with possible styles drifting away from the two loop Cheyenne style with main seam swell between the loops to single loop styles. These aren't laced and are way too bulky for my personal tastes, but they sure leaves room for lots of border tooling. I think the holster in the upper right of Packing Iron page 129 would be perfect, regardless what year they say it's from, which I can't remember. And it has a short Bisley in it.
Wyatt, I looked at that Holster on page 129 real hard. What has me in a quandary on the thought process, is what type of Buyer, during this time period, would buy a Bisley .44-40 except to match a rifle. And would the leather really be of Western/Mexican design or something more concealable because of the Short Barrel ?

Mind exercise I clearly understand, but it's foggy, cold and snowy here; thus cabin fever festers up imagination.
 

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Back then, most men didn't think of 'concealable' - the clothing of the era would allow one so inclined to conceal a Colt's Dragoon, after all.

The 'Bisley' was touted as being the 'next big thing', so there was the cachet of carrying something new and different - that maybe also fit the user's hand - though I just can not figure out that part of it.

In many cases - the user may've only had a 'Bisley' and a couple of other revolvers to choose from at the hardware store it was probably bought in - they weren't known for having a lot of shelf stock - and they weren't a 'gun shop', per-se, because that idea (and stock) was a large metropolis sort of thing.

The big 'Sears, Roebuck & Co.' and 'Montgomery Ward' catalog all featured numerous holsters available via mail - and in truth, it was those holsters that were the most commonly available - the pretty, tooled saddlery-made ones costing quite a bit more.

A Top Hand would buy those - as he'd buy a pair of Buermann's 'Gal-Leg' spurs - to show his ranking amongst his peers, but a regular waddy would make do with leather that didn't cost a month's wages - putting 'that' money into his saddle and boots.

By the time the 'Bisley' showed up on the scene, the Old West was long since settled, and packing iron wasn't the rule of the day once the trail towns dried up and the last of the trail drives completed.

Sure, you could still have Indian troubles from some of the 'bronchos' down along the Border - and from the Mexicans, as well - but that was more the exception than the rule, until the embers of 'La Revolucion' burned bright.

You 'might' want to look at a flap holster - a style long popular with hunters and trappers.
 

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...........By the time the 'Bisley' showed up on the scene, the Old West was long since settled, and packing iron wasn't the rule of the day once the trail towns dried up and the last of the trail drives completed.......
Read "Hell, I Was There!" by Elmer Keith. Sounds like packing iron daily was the norm in his part of the west (inland northwest) and his era (born 1899), for ranchers cowpunchers hunters & trappers. On the other hand, my grandpa was born in 1890 and was a pacific northwest logger in his heyday, and I never heard him mention anything about packing a gun. JUst like today, I guess it kinda depended on your occupation, where you go, and the company you keep.
 

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When one thinks of the 'Old West' - they think of cattle drives and Indian fighting and trail towns.

And they think of the 'Old West' in Western and Southwestern and Mexican Border terms - they don't think of Idaho, because that's logging country (yeah, I already know they had cows...) - not 'cowboyin' country - though there was some level of excitement happening - folks tend to think of things by way of how they were initially exposed to them.

Movies weren't made about that part of the American West - but they were made about the places mentioned above.

Truth of the matter was that most cowboys didn't carry much - back at the ranch, most owners and their ramrods wouldn't allow them to, because they'd like as not get into some argument that could result in gunplay, rather than fisticuffs.

Despite what one sees in SASS - men didn't wander about with twin sixguns, a derringer, a rifle 'and' a shotgun - loaded for bear and on the prod, because guys that looked like that would've been more trouble than they were worth - and to men who'd lived through 4 years of a bloody Civil War, killing them out of hand wouldn't've kept anyone awake nights, if it meant a more peaceful living.

('Course, you likely wouldn't've seen the 350lb Grandpas all festooned with weaponry, either - for the simple fact that there weren't herds of Clydesdales for them to ride...)

In the Pacific Northwest logging camps, I'd bet that there was maybe a camp rifle and a shotgun to supplement rations - but there'd've been no need for an individual to pack, unless you were a trapper or hunter, and might encounter dangerous game other than one's fellow man.

Elmer Keith lived his early life around men from an earlier era that was by far more chancy and turbulent - but the times changed.

The good part of him living when he did was his ability to put it to paper, so that generations later, we could have a window into his long-past world, where things made more sense than they do, today.
 

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I work for a large Engineering and Construction company, and we are big into oil and gas. About 5-6 years ago, we had a large oil project in Texas. This place was miles from any type populated area. About once as month, a couple of riders on horseback would come to our offices to get fresh water for the horses and their canteens. They all had SAA Colts on their hips just like the Cowboys of Old! They were "Line Riders", who rode the fence lines and maintained them in order to keep the cattle in. The ranch owner must have owned a LOT of land, LOL!
 

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Suppose it's September 1905, you just bought a Colt Bisley Frontier Six Shooter, 4 3/4" and were heading West...What type of holster would you think a person might buy ?
One of the very earliest patents granted by the USPTO, in the late 1800s, is for a spring shoulder holster no different from those made by Heiser et. al in the 1920s. With the exception of the "trick" holster, like Audley and Hoyt and Berns-Martin, holsters were all pretty much-of-a-muchness until the 1960s. By then Heiser was gone, which was more cause than effect.

This 1910 Abercrombie catalogue page gives you an idea that the holsters of a few years earlier weren't much different from those of the 1920s, which is the earliest of the Heiser catalogues that I'm aware of. The math suggests that they published their first catalogue around the time you're inquiring about; and the records show that Lawrence, Heiser, Keyston, Bucheimer and Myers were all in business by that time. So a copy of the earliest known Heiser holster catalogue from eBay (CD reproduction), which as I recall is No. 14 (circa 1922, coincidentally when Bohlin was founded), will show you what was being worn a dozen years earlier.

Font Handgun holster Axe
 
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