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  1. J. M. Hays Wood Products Co. was the saddletree factory that was located at the Missouri State Penitentiary from about 1878 to 1918, known as the J. S. Sullivan Saddletree Co. prior to 1912. J.M. Hays was the son-in-law of the original owner, J.S. Sullivan, and the general manager of the plant for many years prior to buying his father-in-law out. They were THE major producer of saddletrees in the US from the 1880s through WW1, and put a lot of folks out of business with their low-priced prison-labor products. Canada actually prohibited US saddletrees (among other prison-made products) from being imported for this very reason. In their 1911 catalog, they boasted about the hundreds of styles they could make, and the many countries around the world they shipped to. They made a quality product - it's just the source of the cheap labor that caused them issues. They provided VAST numbers of saddletrees for WW1 contractors, so you find these paper labels in many old surplus saddles. The Missouri Assembly finally booted the prison labor racket in mid-1918, and that was the end of the saddletree business. Immediately post-war, Hays took the tooling and looked for other wood products to make, and ended up making toys and then duck decoys. Very high quality, and highly prized these days, as they only lasted for a few years before finally folding up. Todd H.
  2. MilitaryHorse

    Cavalary Saddle

    Brass parts used to be fairly plentiful and easy to find - Mast Harness made a ton of reproduction pieces, and Weaver carried them for awhile after buying Mast out. Doesn't look like Weaver lists their 'reenactment hardware' anymore. Plenty of NOS repro brass on eBay, but oddly enough, the sellers tend to list them for original artifact prices . Some folks have stashes tho... The covers on military McClellan's were 6-7 oz. collar leather. Having done new covers from tracings of old pieces, that will work, but you want to make and install the covers like the original were done. Put all the leather pieces together OFF the saddletree, leaving only the outside seams open. The smaller top sidebar covers can be stitched to the bottom covers where the arches are at. This makes a "boneless" saddle - you case the leather and fit the cantle over first, then the pommel, and then pull the bottom covers through the center slot. Fit the top sidebar tips over, then it's all about smoothing the leather, tacking the gaps along the pommel and cantle outside edges. This just leaves the outer seams to stitch up.. Todd H.
  3. MilitaryHorse

    Adjustable Saddle - Model??

    That would be a 'Wint' saddle - these were made in 1880s and 1890s as an experimental type for US cavalry. This one looks like it's been modified a bit in post-military life, but still pretty much there. Quite a rare beastie. Here's some discussion of the Wint - Apparently made in slightly different configurations, but that was norm for experimentals. Todd H.