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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

 

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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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