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It's a real shame Shoemaker closed about a year ago.
He was possibly the last maker of the 1960's Border Patrol type holsters and belts.

Border Patrol Holster.jpg
 

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It's a real shame Shoemaker closed about a year ago.
He was possibly the last maker of the 1960's Border Patrol type holsters and belts.

View attachment 664863
That happens when a person passes.. He was a LA County Deputy Sheriff..he got so busy making holsters for Deputies, He retired, become a Reserve and his business took off. After he passed his children had no interest in continuing the business..
 

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Except the image of the style is actually a Bianchi :). Here's one of Tex's:

View attachment 665217
That's odd, because I pulled the image off the Shoemaker web site a few years ago.
At that time they were making the snap strap version and the thumb break version.

Before Shoemaker's closed they were selling the snap strap version as a "Walking Dead" holster as used on the show.
On the show the hero wore a six inch stainless Python in a FOUR inch Shoemaker snap strap holster.

I have to admit I watched the first episode of the show, but that was the only one I ever saw.
 

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That's odd, because I pulled the image off the Shoemaker web site a few years ago.
At that time they were making the snap strap version and the thumb break version.

Before Shoemaker's closed they were selling the snap strap version as a "Walking Dead" holster as used on the show.
On the show the hero wore a six inch stainless Python in a FOUR inch Shoemaker snap strap holster.

I have to admit I watched the first episode of the show, but that was the only one I ever saw.
You can believe me over that, given that I created it for Bianchi :). We'll blame an unknowledgeable person at Shoemaker during its windup, who used an image from the Net.

Here's the real thing; now notice that the strap is stamped oddly but in the same way on both. It's a brass roller die that was in use there all the time that I was there, with a dual row of 'camouflage' stamp markings. Oh, there are many more obvious telltales that your image is a Bianchi than just a strap.

99r (1).jpg

Tex's holsters were not copies of Bianchi's but rather of Wally Wolfram's. Tex not only used Wally's 'signature' stitching of the belt loop and many more features, but even used the same fitment number on the backside of his! In many cases one needs to see the maker's mark to know whose holster it is.

The truth behind the closing of Tex's operation is rather sadder than the family losing interest. Tex died in 1994 and I attended his funeral, which was an impressive affair that included a procession of police cars attending that extended up the street outside the church as far as the eye could see. Then, shortly before the operation's closing, son Randy who was responsible for seven of the company's holster patents, died in 2014. Like all gunleather companies it was not ever intended by its founder to outlast him; holstory abounds with these tales from Brill to Bianchi. Family enterprises are created solely to support the family so they don't plan, and John Bianchi's son was a suicide in 1978; so when offered money he sold up after just 21 years (we were going to try to buy Smith & Wesson! How hard could it be, right? The money people didn't think we could so they offered JB money for his own business instead. He had been beaten about the head by the money-losing Western museum he had just unloaded to Gene Autry and was tired of the slog, I expect).
 

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Thank's for taking the time to give us history lessons on holster making, Red, it's interesting and much appreciated.

Looking at the two pictures I now see obvious differences.
It's sad that so many old line companies don't survive because either the kids aren't interested, or no one lives past the founders.

What really hurts is that when the companies fade away, so do many of the older holster designs.
There's replica cowboy leather galore, but I don't know of anyone making some of the older police type gear like the 60's police holsters.
No doubt that's partially because cops aren't even allowed to use them anymore, and there's probably not of market demand for them.
Still, it's sad to see these designs fade away.
 
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