Sunday, September 13, 2015

Vintage Leather

Last week sometime, I was surprised to find an email in my inbox from a fellow I've never met.  Jim and I are members of the same forum and he goes by the screen name Old Grafton (an alias that I think is very cool, in a poetic fashion.)  He told me that he had come upon some vintage leather from the '60s and thought that I might be interested in it.

Vintage leather appeals to me and when he told me that it was from the old Lawrence company, I was intrigued.  I thanked him kindly and asked him to send it on.  I talked with my leather-working son, who told me that when it came in, to treat it carefully.  That old leather might need preservative techniques so that it wouldn't crack or split, and that if I had any questions, to get with him before I did anything.  That's good advise.

Lawrence Gunleather used to be a huge name in the gun-leather industry.  They made saddles and leather goods of all kinds.  A complete history is here.  They made very good leather products, and when I was growing up in the '60s and '70s I saw lots of ads for Lawrence leather products in the various hunting and fishing magazines I read.  To say the least, I watched for that package with great anticipation.

It came in on Friday, packed in a Boyd's gunstock box.  Milady asked if I had ordered a stock and I told her "No, but someone sent me a gift."  Like an archaeologist opening a tomb, I gently opened the box wondering what I'd find.

Great Jumping Jehosephat!  This leather is in  great shape.  Supple, well preserved, it looks almost as good as it did when it came out of the box a half-century ago.  Let's take a look, shall we?

First up, we have an absolutely marvelous Lawrence Model 120BN holster for the Ruger Super Blackhawk.  It's fleece lined and absolutely pristine.  I don't think that it's ever been on a belt, indeed my SBH may be the first gun that has ever been in that holster.

Next, we have a box from the period.

Cool graphics, and reminiscent of the boxes I remember from my youth as I'd drool over those magazine ads.  Of course, you can click on the picture for a better look.  I think that the box is cooler than hell.  But wait, there's something inside.

It's a Lawrence Model 79 holster for what looks like a Colt Single Action.  Of course, I immediately grabbed a cowboy revolver and tried to  holster it.  That didn't work, the holster is simply too small by a degree to hold the Model P.  So, I look at the fitment chart on the back of the box.  This particular model is designed for the Ruger Single Six or similar sized revolver.  I don't own one of those, but this holster is pristine, supple, and looks like new-old stock.  I'll keep it in the box and I'm sure that eventually we'll find a home for it.

Then I found a gunbelt at the bottom of the box.  Stilll supple, it feels like it was oiled regularly.  It's tooled with cartridge loops, and just beautiful.

The stamp on the inside of the belt says that it's their Sportsman model and that it's cut for a 40" waist.  The cartridge loops are adjustable and it is 1-3/4 inches wide.  I may set it up for .45 Colt cartridges and see if I "lock" the adjustment in place.  Either way, it will go in my spares bag as a trying belt for new shooters, grandkids, or other folks who need to borrow a belt.  My tape measure tells me that it will fit from a 38" to a 42" waist, but the way we wear our belts in the cowboy game, it will likely be a good fit for someone with a 36" to a 40" waist size.  It's a size that I don't have in the bag right now, and it's a really beautiful belt.

Thanks, Jim, for thinking of me.  We'll use them for sure.


Old Grafton said...

Happy you like the items!

Old NFO said...

Those are beauiful pieces of leather! :-)

pjk said...

I have a 30+ year old Lawrence 39D that has seen quite a lot of use over the years - it still looks good and the thumb break still works as originally designed. I don't know when they went out of business, but I remember trying to contact them when I finally was able to afford another side arm because I wanted their leather for it. Sadly, they were then out of the gun leather business - and maybe they were completely out of business.

6ShotsOr5? said...

Yes those look awesome. As long as the length is okay, the new Ruger Single Seven in .327 Federal Mag will fit the Model 79 holster too. I have both Single Six and Single Seven revolvers and they seem interchangeable as far as how they fit in my holsters.