History, Horse Equipment, Material Culture, McClellan

The First McClellan Saddle – Pattern of 1857

The complex and convoluted history of the development of the first McClellan military saddle has been covered in a previous article, so we now look a detailed look at the first widely issued example of that process, the 1857 Trial Model McClellan. After the approval was received for the McClellan pattern submission in the last …

Artifacts & Details, History, Horse Equipment, Material Culture, United States

US Stirrups – 20th Century Metal

In this article, we look at regulation US military metal stirrups of the 20th century.  Stirrups are one of those small details in horse equipment that perform a vital function, and yet can take on so many interesting and curious styles and details.  The 20th century brought a renewed vitality to the US military.  The …

Artifacts & Details, Material Culture

1851 US Regulation Blanket 

In the Summer 1984 edition of Military Collector & Historian magazine, there was a wonderful article by Frederick C. Gaede about the US blankets that were in the “Danish Exchange” collection at the War Museum (Krigsmuseet), in Copenhagen, Denmark. The background information on the exchange itself is as important as the article subject itself. I’ll …

Material Culture

L’inspiration de l’Europe

For many years, I’ve seen in many sources comments about the horse equipment, especially saddles, being largely inspired by French hussar equipment.  That sort of discussion is informative, if you know what French hussar equipment looked like.  So began a longtime hit and miss search of foreign designs and influences on the horse equipment of …

Artifacts & Details

Civil War Saddle Tree Maker Plates

In 1863, the Ordnance department of the US Army was making numerous positive actions to improve the horse equipment acquisition process.  One of these efforts was concentrated on quality control of saddle trees – a product notoriously difficult to produce to specification on a mass scale.  All saddle trees were made using hand tools, so …