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Recently received this N.Porter saddle to clean and repair.  The leather was in good condition, and the saddle was a pleasure to repair.  Can anyone identify the possible age of the saddle?  There are some construction designs that are similar to those found in Stohlman's  Encyclopedia of Saddle Making.  The saddle tooling was also unique.

Ron

 

n.porter5 (2).JPG

n.porter fender - Copy.JPG

n.porter rear jockey - Copy.JPG

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Shot,

 

Porter made in Phoenix and there is still a shop in that area.  All of the Porters that I have refurbished had a card on the near bar aft of the cantle with the necessary information.  I did one that was made in 1906, I believe, and another that was made in the late 1920s.  They're easy to work on and nice to have around.  I have two of my own (old ones). Central Coast here.

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I didn't find any card.  There was a serial number behind the cantle on the near side.  The seat is only 12 inches, yet the stirrup fenders are 19 inches long; so it isn't a kids saddle. 

The fleece was in good condition for the saddle's possible age.  I only repaired and replaced what was critical for safety and to keep the customer's cost down.  It's a nice and strong saddle, too bad the seat is so small.  Also, does anyone know what the purpose of the left hand strap on the fork was for?

Ron

 

n.porter finished - Copy.JPG

n.porter side - Copy.JPG

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I rode a Hizer saddle when I was a youngster, built back in the mid 1930's that had the strings on the left side of the fork.  I have seen some built back in the 40's and 50's that had them factory.  I never was sure what they were for but I used to tie a bull whip on the left and a rope on the right.  I have seen them extra strings on Hizers,  Hamley's  several custom saddles and now a Porter.  

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My great grandfather was N. Porter. My grandfather kept individual records for more than 36,000 Porter saddles ever made. I have those saddle records. Perhaps you might locate the serial number. The serial number is found on the (near-side) stamped on the rear skirt, under the rear jockey.

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22 minutes ago, BNEWTONP said:

My grandfather kept individual records for more than 36,000 Porter saddles ever made.

What a magnificent resource. Have these records been preserved on microfiche, CD, hard drive or computer record of some sort? 

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That is impressive indeed!

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The stamping pattern and plated dees probably date to 1947-53 when Porters had an apprentice deal with the VA

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As a teenager I was enthralled with cowboys as several of my uncles were cowboys and I recall going into the Porter Saddlery in Phoenix where I bought a bareback rigging and a hemp bullrope thinking I wanted to be involved in rodeos.  My rodeo life was short, but I have never forgotten the smells and sights of a real saddlery.  I later came to appreciate those men who did leather stamping for Porters.  One of my favorite stampers, Ray Pohja (pronounced poyah) was featured in one of Al Stohlman's books:  the Lucky Eight Belt Book.  One of the other young stampers just starting out at that time was Rocky Minster who is currently residing in Prescott, Arizona and still making beautiful saddles and other leather gear.  In 1995 I acquired a book by Dan & Sebie Hutchins entitled:  Old Cowboy Saddles & Spurs; 5th annual in which they wrote this about Newton Porter:  "Newton Porter was born in Independence, Missouri.  The Civil War left him an orphan.  A kind Aunt took him to live with her in St. Louis, Missouri.  While still in his teens he served his apprenticeship with a St. Louis saddler.  In 1875 Porter opened his first shop in Taylor, Texas.  In 1881 a fire wiped out his prosperous business.  He then moved to Abilene, Texas and stayed for 7 or 8 years.  After a brief stay in Everett, Washington, he settled in Phoenix, Arizona and established the N. Porter Saddle & Harness Co.  in 1895.  The Porter guarantee became famous.  After Newton Porter died in 1906, Earl the oldest son took over managing the business with the same traditions his father had instituted.  After Earl died in 1925, his youngest brother Fred took over the management.  This company is family run and still in business today (1995).  Swastikas were extensively used by Porter's until 1933.  The swastika symbol or design was used by the Navajo Indians before the cowboy took a liking to it.  The Navajo name for it is "nohokos".  Porter's were also known to have used a steer head trademark."  There is so much leather working history associated with the Porter's Saddlery that I would like to see more written about them and those who worked for them. Perhaps a great grandson could add more.

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BNEWTONP,

I forgot about posting this saddle; but I am glad you showed up.  The only number that I found on the saddle that I repaired was: 21001.  This number was what I wrote on the invoice and I no longer have the saddle.  Hope you have the invoice card.

Kayw...you mentioned that Rocky Minster moved to Prescott.  Did he open a shop, or just retired there?  I took a class from him close to 8 years ago, and found him a very good instructor and a great source of information. 

Thanks Ron

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On 6/13/2019 at 4:59 PM, kayw said:

As a teenager I was enthralled with cowboys as several of my uncles were cowboys and I recall going into the Porter Saddlery in Phoenix where I bought a bareback rigging and a hemp bullrope thinking I wanted to be involved in rodeos.  My rodeo life was short, but I have never forgotten the smells and sights of a real saddlery.  I later came to appreciate those men who did leather stamping for Porters.  One of my favorite stampers, Ray Pohja (pronounced poyah) was featured in one of Al Stohlman's books:  the Lucky Eight Belt Book.  One of the other young stampers just starting out at that time was Rocky Minster who is currently residing in Prescott, Arizona and still making beautiful saddles and other leather gear.  In 1995 I acquired a book by Dan & Sebie Hutchins entitled:  Old Cowboy Saddles & Spurs; 5th annual in which they wrote this about Newton Porter:  "Newton Porter was born in Independence, Missouri.  The Civil War left him an orphan.  A kind Aunt took him to live with her in St. Louis, Missouri.  While still in his teens he served his apprenticeship with a St. Louis saddler.  In 1875 Porter opened his first shop in Taylor, Texas.  In 1881 a fire wiped out his prosperous business.  He then moved to Abilene, Texas and stayed for 7 or 8 years.  After a brief stay in Everett, Washington, he settled in Phoenix, Arizona and established the N. Porter Saddle & Harness Co.  in 1895.  The Porter guarantee became famous.  After Newton Porter died in 1906, Earl the oldest son took over managing the business with the same traditions his father had instituted.  After Earl died in 1925, his youngest brother Fred took over the management.  This company is family run and still in business today (1995).  Swastikas were extensively used by Porter's until 1933.  The swastika symbol or design was used by the Navajo Indians before the cowboy took a liking to it.  The Navajo name for it is "nohokos".  Porter's were also known to have used a steer head trademark."  There is so much leather working history associated with the Porter's Saddlery that I would like to see more written about them and those who worked for them. Perhaps a great grandson could add more.

Thank you Sir, for the kind history. As you may know, I'm well informed on the history of my family. My Mother tells me I need to write a book. Perhaps I shall!

BNP

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On 6/11/2019 at 5:01 PM, Rockoboy said:

What a magnificent resource. Have these records been preserved on microfiche, CD, hard drive or computer record of some sort? 

Actually my friend, all of the records are in original card-form. I've just got to figure out the best way to preserve them using one of the options you mention. I've attached photos for your interest.

BNP

44_Boxes.jpg

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7597.jpg

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14 hours ago, BNEWTONP said:

I've just got to figure out the best way to preserve them

WOW! That is very impressive! Maybe you could liaise with a library or somebody who is well versed in historical record-keeping.

We have a library here in Western Australia, called the J.S. Battye Library of Western Australian History after a previous Librarian and author of historical material. Not your area obviously, but this is the type of organisation I would ask, for information and/or direction on preserving an amazing amount of historical archival material.

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Holy crap, that's a LOT of cards!!   :o

Paper records are vulnerable to fire, water and mildew. Yes, you REALLY need to preserve those in some other form.

I've been working on my family history, and pretty much an entire Canadian census was lost due to the records being damaged by a flood.

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I just have to add a couple more things to this topic.  Rocky Minster, who I made mention of does in fact have his saddlery in operation up in Prescott, Arizona.  His shop is located at 21235 El Rocko Ln. Paulden, Az 86334.  I also wanted to mention another of the saddle makers/stampers a father and son combination who were both very good:  Louis Ringlero and his son Mervin Ringlero.  I noticed that there is one of Mervin's nice saddles for sale in Tucson on Craigslist.  Many of the best saddle makers got their start at Porters in Phoenix, including Don King who put the Sheridan Style on the map.  KayW

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BNewtopP I have a N Porter saddle that I acquired in 1974 from a friend. The stamp is 552 and I would appreciate greatly if u could tell me anything about it? My email is ssmith4728@gmail.com since I’m not a member of this blog. I have been trying for years and years to find out more about the saddle. I hope you can help. Thank you in advance. S Smith. Email is ssmithn4728@gmail.com I forgot the n before the numbers in the above address. 

Edited by Ssmith087
Made a mistake

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BNEWTONP I just took pictures is my saddle this morning and will try to upload them. I don’t know what I’m doing so hope they come trough. The numbers were stamped on the stirrup leather. When I got this saddle I took it to the only saddle maker in the area and he cleaned it and replaced some saddle strings. He also replaced the sheepskin with I believe a dyed red sheepskin. I don’t think it’s a man-made material. If u have the card on this saddle I would sure be interested. SSmith087 I can’t seem to upload photos so I’m going to send another message with just the photos if I can. Thank you

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BNewtonP if u have an email or cell number I can send the pictures. When I tried to attach the photos I get a message the file is too big, even one picture. I’m not saavy about this technology.  Thank you SSmith 087

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On 9/23/2019 at 11:00 AM, SmithS said:

BNewtonP if u have an email or cell number I can send the pictures. When I tried to attach the photos I get a message the file is too big, even one picture. I’m not saavy about this technology.  Thank you SSmith 087

The rest of us would really like to see the photos too!  Please check out this post so you can find how to resize your photos so they fit the size restrictions here.  https://leatherworker.net/forum/topic/15122-how-to-post-pictures-on-lw/?do=findComment&comment=551171

Tom

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BNEWTONP I’m going to try uploading those pics again here goes.

F8A1DBF5-477C-46CD-94E3-389D4B521585.png

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Thanks for all the help hope it works this time. 6D1EEF32-11F4-426C-83B4-8C82BF7785FE.thumb.png.83dbf7f600f4ed3175980eb6db8401bb.png

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Trying another picture 

D9C817B7-1085-4AC9-8359-44B5810FDE3D.png

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Sorry to all who are following this but I’m doing my best to try to send some pictures of this beautiful saddle. I am amazed at the style and amount of carving on this saddle. It must have taken a long time and the craftsmanship is unbelievable! The entire saddle except where one sits in the seat is carved. I always thought it should be in a saddle museum somewhere. Your great-grandfather or whoever did the leather work was something else BNEWTONP!!! Thank you!!!

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