Marquis Saddle?

Uhlan1916
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OK, my "comfort zone" is German cavalry equipment from 1890 to 1945. I'm a neophyte when it comes to US equipment (but am slowly learning). Perhaps it is my deficit of knowledge in this area that explains my ignorance of the "Marquis saddle" approved for issue to US "officers" and subsequently issued to "enlisted." At least this is the assertion of the owner of these saddle bags currently listed on E-Bay:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... 2136590962


Is this another "E-Bayism" or did such an animal as the "Marquis" saddle exist as an item of issue to US mounted forces?

-Ron


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Todd
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Marquis Saddlery was one of prime makers in Paris/France in early part of 20th century, and later became(or bought out by) Hermes.

As far as the Ebay story, there's a lotta hoo-ha in that. The bags are for a French officers military saddle - the bayonet style attachments would slide into slots made in the tree, hidden under the skirts below the head of the saddle. And from the stamp that's shown, this was made by another source (not Marquis) of LOTS of French military gear - I have a cantle pocket/bag with the same mark.

Hope this helps!

Todd H.
Rick Throckmorton
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Ron,
To add to what Todd has told you, many American officers purchased the French made equipments both while serving in France during the war and afterwards. I have seen two of the French made saddles that bore American arsenal repair tags, even though the pieces themselves were not arsenal made. To me, this points to the common acceptance of the French designed saddles and related equipments among the American officer corps. Of course, the M1916/17 Officers Field Saddle is a fairly close copy of the subject saddle.
Rick T.
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Ladies and Gents:

I have been giving silicon oil treatments to my own "French" M1917 with a JQMD repair tag on it. Would need the standard item to make a full comparison, but it would appear that except for the method of pommel bag attachment, it is identical to the "standard" M1917. No one seems to know for sure, but conventional wisdom is exactly what Rick said. That is also what Dorsey and McPheeters think. However, given the numbers and the constructiuon, I begin ever so slightly to question conventional wisdom. Many very poorly documented things happened with gear in the 1st half of the 20th century. I have stamped bridles that no one can identify, and read in memoirs about army horse gear that I have never seen. ALso recall that conventional wisdom is quite incorrect about the quantities and utilization of the M1912, as Rick and others hae shown.

No doubt the origins of the "bayonet" 1917 were French, but I suspect some of these items were made in America for Americans. Can't prove anything just now, but will keep looking.

Joe
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<BLOCKQUOTE id=quote><font size=1 face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id=quote>quote:<hr height=1 noshade id=quote>
No doubt the origins of the "bayonet" 1917 were French, but I suspect some of these items were made in America for Americans. Can't prove anything just now, but will keep looking.
<hr height=1 noshade id=quote></BLOCKQUOTE id=quote></font id=quote><font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size=2 id=quote>
I'm sure you're on the mark with that thought - perhaps in many of these things the ORIGIN may be some other area, such as Saumur, but domestic manufacturers would pick up on trends fairly quickly. Might be the source for much unmarked gear?

Todd H.
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ALCON,
Thanks for the information. I thought "Marquis" was a particular style that I had not seen before. Presently, I have two M1917 field saddles (one with lug/socket pommel attachment and one with blade-style pommel attachment), both made by Duvaul of Saumur. Until your responses, I thought Duvaul was the only firm that produced M1917s in France under US contract.

-Ron
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Now that is most interesting.

Do you have information that M1917s were made in France under US contract, or were you guessing because of the maker of your own items? I ask because IF regulation saddles were made in France, the "bayonet" variation might simply have been available upon request, or as a normal variation based on the availability of pommel bags to fit. This might in turn account for the large numbers of "bayonet" '17s around with JQMD repair tags. Could be that the "bayonet" is as legitimate a '17 as the "lug" saddle.

All conjecture on my part of course, but as I indicated above, the conventional wisdom, while it may be perfectly correct, is somehow unsatisfying given the few known facts.

Joe
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Gents,
What is the source material that references the M1917's being made in France under U.S. contract? I have never seen such documentation and of course am very curious about it. To the best of my knowledge, the French made M1917's (and polo saddles along with other training saddles and associated tack) were only private purchase, not government contract. That American officers had been attending the cavalry school in France and bringing back the French made equipment which induced others to purchase it, is probably the reason there is so much such surviving equipment here. If there had been a contract let, the saddles should have inspectors marks (not just repair tags) and there should be paperwork relative to the contract(s). I have never seen nor heard of such contracts and so I am asking the question. I'm always ready to learn something new.
Best regards,
Rick Throckmorton
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Joe,

Read somewhere (and for the life of me, I cannot remember where as it was some time ago), that as the AEF was "stood up" and grew, the demand for officer saddles exceeded output capacity here in the US (remember wondering at the time why this was not the case with McClellans). As a result of this, the War Department contracted "local manufacturing" to produce saddlery for officers.

My blade M1917 also has a JQMD repir tag. Interestingly enough however, it is stamped under the seat as "Property of The Cavalry School ISSUED ON MEMORANDUM OF RECEIPT." Cannot believe the schoolhouse would be using anything private purchase - would have to be something out of the inventory.

-Ron
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Ron,
I'd still like to see actual reference cites before I accept that French made saddles were contracted by the army. Too many "collectorisms" have been accepted as fact which we later find were not so. What you read may indeed be right, I'd just like to see the research before I accept it. An argument in your favor is a French manufactured saber hanger in my collection that has both the French commercial manufacturere's stamp on it as well as unit marks stamped on the front of it (the common 24 point italic stamps that are so commonly seen stamped on American WW1 leather equipments). Why would a private purchase officer's saber hanger have unit marks on it? These little nuances is part of what makes the study of this stuff so interesting.

As for your saddle, I can see the school taking in a private purchase saddle for use. It was an officers school and such a saddle would have been handy. A retiring officer might easily have receipted over such a saddle. Incidentally, I was offered just such a saddle, described exactily as yours, about six months ago. Interesting piece.
Rick T.
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Rick and Ron:

Rick is quite correct to be skeptical. However, my "hunch signals" are blinking furiously. Here is another pieve of the puzzle, right under our noses on the "Studies" section of this very web site (excerpted here):

<i><b>The following is a transcript of a document authored by Col. Harry B. Jordan, Rock Island Arsenal. It was undated, but appears to be from circa 1918.
</b>[</i>



<i>In 1910, saddles, copied from the French Officers' Saddles known as the "Saumur Type", were introduced into the American Army. The Model at the Arsenal is known as the "Richmond No. 2", and is made up with a tree built in England expressly for Raul DuVaul of Saumur, France. Up to the present time no saddle-trees for officers have been fabricated at Rock Island, the trees being purchased and the harness-makers' work only being done here. The Arsenal is easily able to produce better workmanship than can be obtained elsewhere, the superiority of the Rock Island Saddle being only a question of obtaining a good tree and good leather.

3. There are at present six classes of saddles, Saumur Type, in the Service.

Total number manufactured.

(1) Polo Saddle, Model of 1912 489

(2) Training Saddle, Model of 1918 848

(3) Officers' Saddle, Model of 1912 613

(4) Service Saddle, Model of 1912 8983

(5) Officers' Field Saddle, Model of 1917 550

(6) Enlisted Men's Saddle, Model of 1917 138</i>

Here is the link to the complete letter.http://www.militaryhorse.org/resources/ ... report.asp

This is obviouusly not conclusive as to the point at hand, but clearly makes the case that considerable outsourcing was going on with these saddles. I think it odd that such a high percentage of known M1917s are of the "bayonet" type, and have JQMD tags and/or school or unit markings, if it is true that all such must have been private purchase. As mentioned before, a true side-by-side comparison would be useful, but by memory and according to the drawings and specs, the only real difference seems to be the pommel bag mount. If the officers liked the saddle, why not just get the issue model?
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<BLOCKQUOTE id=quote><font size=1 face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id=quote>quote:<hr height=1 noshade id=quote>
Raul DuVaul of Saumur, France
<hr height=1 noshade id=quote></BLOCKQUOTE id=quote></font id=quote><font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size=2 id=quote>
Perhaps a lot of the reason most people purchase things - snob appeal maybe? "Mine's a DuVaul from Saumur" sounds little more uppity then "Rock Island harness shop".

May be wrong on the perception there, since Rock Island gear made on order for officers was probably some of the best work in the world.

Todd H.
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The possibility of "Snob appeal" has some merit. Just as when officers purchased uniforms form Marlow White to Luxembourg as opposed to the post tailor. Quality not withstanding, brand appeal has some impact on purchases made regardless of time.

Many saddles today are bought based on name appeal in lieu of quality and /or applicability to the discipline participated in. It should be remembered that American officers in the pre 1938 period had as much peer pressure from abroad as at home. Also many young officers came from Ivy league -East coast families of prominance. Label based buying was very influential then.

While this does not by any means justify the private purchase consideration of French made saddles over RIA saddles it is a piece of the puzzle worth considering. While we as historians may pursue the black & white elements of rules, orders, and physical equipment, we have a tendancy to over look the human factor. And when a man is buying his own equipment and clothing for military purposes, having the family means to afford more and stay in pace with the Jones as it were is a point to view.

At Ft. Riley 2 years ago, Jim Ottavaere and I viewed a private purchase Artillery Officer helmet, 1885 pattern. It was a jeweler's grade helmet. If I remember correctly, it was made by Tiffany's. Less than 10 inches away was a Arsenal model of the same helmet. What prompted the officer who purchased the finer one to do so. They both served the same purpose, met regulations, and both ended up locked away in later years. The jewler model was absolutely gorgeous, it looked like something a Prussian would have worn instead of the common perception of the rag tag American. It was pure ego and vanity most likely, not to mention the means. When at a formal ball, the officer with the Tiffany helmet made a fine impression on the Generals and the ladies.

The human factor has to have a place in these saddles, how, I don't know. But more than practical expediancy in manufacturing has some impact here I would assume. But we may never know.

Regards,
Ron Smith

As a note, US officers were required to attend Saumur upon promotion to Major or higher. This was 90 day tour. Prior to that most had rotated through Saumur or one of the Italian schools, perhaps both. European equippage, technique, materials all had impact on US officers.




Edited by - Ron Smith on 09/02/2002 15:04:17
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And again...the letter said only the TREES were being purchased from Europe. The leatherwork was done right here at the arsenal. I share Todd's opinion that the finest saddlework was found right here at Rock Island Arsenal (and later at JQMD). There were lots of officer quality items that were offered by the army, but officers saw fit to buy commercially. Look at the variation of spurs procured by officers. I think horsetack was just another of such items.
Good discussion, here folks.
Rick T.
PS - Am I mistaken, or weren't the arsenals available to officers to special make items at their expense (if time allowed)? This would explain the repair tags on the private purchase saddles. RT
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<BLOCKQUOTE id=quote><font size=1 face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id=quote>quote:<hr height=1 noshade id=quote>
PS - Am I mistaken, or weren't the arsenals available to officers to special make items at their expense (if time allowed)? This would explain the repair tags on the private purchase saddles. RT
<hr height=1 noshade id=quote></BLOCKQUOTE id=quote></font id=quote><font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size=2 id=quote>
Absolutely - if an officer wanted something, they pretty much could just ask and the Arsenal (or at least the section that made up custom gear) would bend over backwards to accomodate - they only charged for materials; I don't believe there was any labor fees. How sweet a deal is that?

Interesting example was the 1883 request by capt. in charge of Light Artillery school at Ft. Leavenworth - he wanted a set of McClellans made up for the school, made to a particular specification, sent in the request to Chief of Ordnance. They signed off on it (literally, on the back of the letter) and forwarded to Rock Island. He had his equipment in about five weeks; lets see some captain try to get something like that done today!

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Well, yes. The trees indeed. What I suspect is that some of the "bayonet" saddles were arsenal or JQMD made to begin with, rather than being French imports that somehow became Army property and rotated through JQMD for repair later on. Of course, if additional evidence comes to light that the Army did indeed contract with French makers, there could be another axplanation.

I just feel that all the pieces do not yet fit together on this. COnsider that there were only a bit over 500 of these made by sometime in 1918, and that the trees were outsourced even then. COnsider also that despite these VERY low numbers, many of us have seen one or more "bayonet" '17s with JQMD tags, and Dorsey and McPheeter mention that there are a good many around. This is a strikingly high percentage of M1917 saddles in circulation. I feel that, as with M1912 issue and utilization, there is more to this story than we now know.

Joe
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I agree on the point that there is more to this than we now know.
A repair tag means just that, though, it was repaired at JQMD or RIA. If it were manufactured there, it would have a "Manufactured By.." tag. I don't know of any bayonet fitted saddles that have a "manufactured by" tag on them, only "Repaired by" tags. The early RIA produced 1917's have the "Manu. by" stamp in the leather such as my M1917 (dated 1918) which also has a 1930 dated "repaired by" tag(brass) next ot it. It wan't until later that the brass "manufactured by" tag was put on instead of the leather stamp. By the way, some of the brass "repair" tags were put on right over the "manu." tags, so at least one somewhere should either have the source stamped into the leather or on a brass tag. A bayonet style M1917 with a "manufacted by RIA or JQMD" stamp or tag should settle the issue. I've never seen or heard of one, though. I'm still of the opinion that the French style M1917 Officer's Field Saddle(bayonet version), other than models purchased for study, were not purchased by contract by the American Army nor were they manufactured at American military arsenals.
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Oh, quite right Rick, and I do not by any means discount your opinion. You may prove to be perfectly correct. However, there are enough loose ends that I do not consider the matter settled and believe that there are reasonable alternative hypotheses, if you will -- but no proof as yet. This is one of those topics that has raised my consciousness, as the '60 phrase went. I will now be scrutinizing both equipment and written materials for further evidence.

Joe
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Joe,
I quite agree. I just didn't want another "collectorism" to develop, especially from this site. I feel that we should strive to be able to back up what we say with either veteran testimony, photographic evidence, or official documentation before we accept something as fact on this site and keep it as well respected as possible. Please don't think I am against arguing hypothesis and opinion. That was all I was doing. I just don't think there is document or physical evidence to back up the subject theory yet. It may occur and if it does, it needs to be brought out in the public. I'm all for learning something new. Example cited is S. Cox's information about the late model mounted canteen. I had seen these before and didn't have a clue as to what they were, and sadly, I've been studying and collecting this stuff since the early 1970's (no commentary necessary, Windjammer!). Talk about missing the boat on a major artifact.
Rick T.
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Here is a recent ebay auction of a French-American mix of tack. I would not be surprised if the saddle wasn't French too.
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... 2135155526

Something to keep in mind is that at the time of WWI most officer's saddles were used by branches other than cavalry.
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