Friday, March 4, 2016
The Harley Hackamore: Solved
Yes, we found out Who Dun It! After Christie made her suggestions, I emailed the new suspects with pictures and links. The original seller had not yet responded to my letter. (Even so, it was a pleasure using such old handwritten technology; remember, I used it from 1979 to 1997 -- fully 28 years.) Last Monday I got an answer -- from Rio Rondo!
"... 99% sure..."
That's enough for me. The Harley Hackamore was made in the late 80s ("I'm thinking [between] 1989... [and] 1991"), which would make it 25 to 27 years old. Carol made "about 10" of these sets. She remembered being taught to spin, and owned to making the mecate. "Many folks including myself didn't necessarily know" how to tie the mecate properly. She had both painted and stitched floss for interweaves on model tack, but the latter was exceedingly rare: "maybe only one" made. Carol made a lot of tack back in the day! but confessed "I can't even remember it specifically." She pointed out the longer sections of braid were made from spirally wrapped braided floss, not cut. These sections don't have cuts in the back, so I was mistaken about that -- sorry. : (
I've always wanted more Williams tack. Once Christie had mentioned her names, I wondered why I hadn't seen it. The solid feel, the strong Western design, the colors, the execution: everything spoke of Rio Rondo's history. The Harley Hackamore's maker has been found... and this case is my only (so far) success at the game of Who Dun It.
One out of five ain't bad...
This is my only Williams saddle (at the moment). Signs of its times include the galvanized steel wire buckles, the tiny metal brads for conchos, the blanket made from "Navajo" material; and most of all (for purposes of identifying the artist's style) the real silver lacing, real rawhide stirrups, handmade silver plates and the turnback design of the breastcollar at the tug rings. I love the deep seat and solid feel.
This "CE" saddle, with its cantle plate (which says "STEELE") came with two bridles and matching breastcollars. Carol Williams had made them both. In my collection this is the only piece utilizing this particular repeated-knot tie to make braided reins. Beyond the 1980s charm, these pieces exhibit solid working strength and durability. To quote Ed Bohlin, they'll "stand the gaff" (wear).
Notes from the TSII bench.
We are deep in digitizing the Guide. Our Spring Break Florida trip was cancelled, but the summer Colorado one is still on. I am really hoping the job will be done before we leave. I sure would like to make tack again.
Future blog post subjects include Blanket Collection 4 (can't keep a good idea down), the Econlockhatchee River run and a visit with Kathy Moody!
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