Member: National Bit, Spur & Saddle Collector's Association and Texas Longhorn Breeders Association of America
Item #CH406 / $1,200.
Sale Price: $900.
Hamley Heart Concho Batwing Chaps
These Hamley chaps are in very good condition. The leather is thick and supple, the studs are solidly in place, all the clips and eyes are present and in original condition. 5 wonderful heart-shaped conchos adorn each leg and fastened in their original lacings. This is a gorgeous pair of Hamleys - the kind of workmanship that made a name for the company and the town of Pendleton, Oregon, which has a rich rodeo and cowboy history.
The character and age is evidenced by the wear of the studs just below the lace -- they've worn through the metal to create a pattern that is both pleasing and unique. Two rows of studs marks the edges of each batwing leg. The addition of three large geometric patterns to the design is typical of the great one's designs, which originated as a representation of playing card suits and then became part of the design lexicon and necessarily changed to include circles, triangles and other shapes according to the vision of the maker. The patina of this pair is striking and the photographs only just catch what is in person a deeply colored leather worn smooth by heavy use and creased with age.
The design on the belt is also of the best quality workmanship. The design is a floral pattern which may be that of a clematis flower and leaves, a flowering vine that was heavily favored by homesteaders in the Pacific Northwest.
These chaps measure 40 inches from top to bottom. The belt is 4 inches at the widest of the scalloped edge. They are marked on the belt: HAMLEY & CO. / PENDLETON, ORE. and numbered 500 / 31. There are a few cuts in the leather that are under an inch long and the cuffs are extremely worn. The bottom 2 heart conchos are missing. We do not know whether there were additional conchos inside the double studded geometric circles and diamonds but it seems that there could have been. This in no way detracts from the collectability or beauty of the chaps.
All stitching is original to the period and there have been no repairs made. An original pair of beautiful chaps that are simply impossible to improve upon. Dated to the 1920's to 1930's.
The Hamley family history goes back many generations to Cornwall England, where the trade of saddle and leather craftsmanship had been passed down through many generations of Hamleys. The American history of the Hamleys began in 1850 when William Hamley moved his family to Rupon, Wisconsin, where he opened a small leather goods store. His two sons, John James (J.J.) and Henry Hamley set out in 1883 with two railroad tickets and $10 in cash, bound for Ashton South Dakota where they established Hamley and Co. After three successful years, regional crop failures and the subsequent economic downturn forced them to move. They relocated to Pendleton, Oregon and set up shop on the Oregon Trail in the same building that is home to the company to this day. Hamley was known as a harness and saddle maker, but the business soon developed around it's saddles and became known throughout the West as the maker of "the finest saddles a man could ride".
In 1905, J. J. 's son Lester joined the family business. Four years later, he convinced his father to publish their first mail-order catalogue. In 1910, the Hamley company was instrumental in setting up the first Pendleton Round-up which is still an annual function today.
Their slogan was indicative of the high value they placed on quality and workmanship. Every Hamley catalog contained the saying that became synonymous with Hamley quality:
"QUALITY ARTICLES ARE MADE FOR MEN WHO ARE TIRED OF THE EXTRAVAGANCE OF BUYING CHEAP THINGS".
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Members: National Bit, Spur & Saddle Collector's Association
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