Marquis Saddle?

Joseph Sullivan
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Ah, yes. Had looked at that, but missed the fact that it was a swivel-and-lock pommel set up, with a French maker's mark. That is an interesting twist.

Joe


Uhlan1916
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Joe,

By "swivel and lock" I take it you are referring to the socket/lug construction as opposed to the bayonet configuration? If so, how is this a "twist" if it is on a French-made saddle? One of my M1917s has the socket/lug and it is Duvaul made. Have seen two other examples besides the one on E-bay. By "twist" however, am led to believe that you consider this unusual. Can you clarify?

-Ron
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Just a note
The Phillips saddle sold at the US Cav Assn silent auction had the Bayonet style pommel attachment as apposed to the lug and socket style attachment
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Joseph Sullivan
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Ron:

As you can probably tell, I am no expert on M1917s. Until recently, I was comfortable that issue items had the sockewt/lug/twist configuration and French saddles had the "bayonet" mount. As you an see, I now wonder about that. I was interested to see that some clearly French saddles have the lug setup, although that proves nothing except that the French makers were swinging both ways. It would be very interesting to find an arsenal made item with "baynet" mounts, and even more so to find evidence that the French made some under contract to the US instead of just for private purchase.

Now as to the Philips at the auction -- was it arsenal made? If so, we could reasonably conclude that some arsenal-made '17s might have had bayonet mounts, too.

The one thing that is abundantly clear is the US officers liked the "bayonet" mounts.
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Philip S
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I found the following ad this evening in the 1922 edition of the Cavalry School Annual ''The Rasp'':

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Rick Throckmorton
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Now that's interesting! Just what did the government contract to them for? OK, who wants to go to the National Archives?
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OK, plot thickens. See three potential courses of action:

1. Mount up and ride to National Archives (cannot volunteer for this patrol as things are awfully busy here).

2. Accept a commerical advertisement in a semi-official publication as proof that the US Government purchased, under contract, saddles from this manufacturer.

3. Accept a commercial advertisement in a semi-official publication as proof that the US Government bought something under contract from this manufacturer, couple that with the previously cited Arsenal report of 1918 and conclude that the contract only involved trees.

In any case, I'd say were edging ever further away from the pitfall of a "collcterism" on this one.

-Ron
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Philip S
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The advertisement is indeed tantalizingly vague. I could find no other examples in other issues of "The Rasp." It does, however, demonstrate that there was some connection between Marquis, Saddler and the U.S. Army at this date. Also the advertisement says that something (presumably saddles or tack) was being offered for sale by the Post Exchanges of Ft. Riley and Leavenworth. Since these both were officers' schools it is logical to suspect that it was officer's saddles. This would, in turn, suggest an explanation for all the French officer's saddles turning up on ebay. It should be noted that there were advertisements for other manufactures of saddles. None, however, suggested that they had been contracted by the Army or were for sale at Post Exchanges.
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As Ron notes, we do know that the government had purchased trees. Is this what Marquis is laying claim to as being a contractor to the government? We still haven't seen any Marquis production saddles with U.S. inspection marks as would have been required under the normal contract process (for just about everything!) That Marquis offered saddles to the American officer corps is plainly illustrated by the advertisement itself, but, so were other types of saddles, such as Whitmans. I've never paid attention to it, but there are likely commercially made Whitmans out there that are stamped with arsenal repair tags, too. Are we also saying that Whitman marked saddles are government purchased? No, we know better than that. Those manufactured by the government arsenals are marked as such. Those sold commercially to officers have only the Whitman markings, no inspectors marks or US ownership marks. Other saddles were purchased from commercial firms by the government and bear those firms' markings along with inspectors marks, and sometimes a "US" stamping as well. Examples cited are the countless WW1 contract McClellan saddles along with the last two patterns of packers saddles from Kansas City Saddlery and TexTan. I just can't make that leap yet that the government purchased Marquis saddles as a production item. As I intimated previously, this may take a trip to the archives.
By the way, there is an article dated 1925, from the Cavalry Journal that is quoted in Dorsey and McPheeters book, "The American Military Saddle, 1775-1945," refering to a visit to the Marquis saddlery by a member of the Cavalry Association. In it, the writer notes that the shop is a small one with few assistants where saddles are made to order under the personal supervision of Mr. Marquis himself, which accounted for "the considerable time" that it sometimes takes for delivery of saddles ordered from this country. That notation hardly induces me to believe Marquis was set up to fill an order for saddles from the US government, and this letter was written in 1925. One would think a government contractor of saddles would be better set up by then. Of course this doesn't mean anything substantial either in the course of things. We still need something official in nature.
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Uhlan1916
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Additional note: this only addresses Marquis-brand M1917s. What about Duvaul (both of mine are Duvaul variants)? How robust were their production facilities?

-Ron
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Rick,

One more note. Do not believe it is Marquis that is offering the saddles for sale in that advertisement. It is the PXs at Riley and Leavenworth that are offering the saddles for sale. In light of this, it cannot be said that the firm is making any inferences of government contracts. Rather, it is the post-exchange system (by that time, formally organized as a government agency) that is making that statement.

-Ron
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Interestingly, Randy Steffen may have done our work for us. On page 44, of Volume IV, of his "The Horse Soldier, 1776-1943," he states that in December, 1922, the Cavalry Board recommended that the Dela Los-model French saddle, manufactured by H. Marquis, be used for the pattern for manufacturing an American version of the officer's filed saddle in use at the French Riding School. He says that in November, 1923, 4 of these saddles were received by the Ordnance Dept. and after a test of 2 years, one was shipped to Jeffersonville QM Depot to be used as a model for manufacturing them for the US Cavalry Service. He further states that in 1926, this American made saddle was designated the M1926 Training Saddle, Saumur style.

He makes no other mention of any large contracts of Marquis saddles and specifically cites that only 4 were purchased for test and models. He would surely have noted any larger purchases by the US government.

Of course he is talking about the training saddle, not the M1917 Officer's Field saddle which I believe this thread was originally speaking of. No mention is made of Marquis made M1917s in Steffen. Am I wrong that we were speaking of the M1917s or were we including the training saddles?
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<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Rick Throckmorton</i>
<br />Interestingly, Randy Steffen may have done our work for us. On page 44, of Volume IV, of his "The Horse Soldier, 1776-1943," he states that in December, 1922, the Cavalry Board recommended that the Dela Los-model French saddle, manufactured by H. Marquis, be used for the pattern for manufacturing an American version of the officer's filed saddle in use at the French Riding School. He says that in November, 1923, 4 of these saddles were received by the Ordnance Dept. and after a test of 2 years, one was shipped to Jeffersonville QM Depot to be used as a model for manufacturing them for the US Cavalry Service. He further states that in 1926, this American made saddle was designated the M1926 Training Saddle, Saumur style.

He makes no other mention of any large contracts of Marquis saddles and specifically cites that only 4 were purchased for test and models. He would surely have noted any larger purchases by the US government.

Of course he is talking about the training saddle, not the M1917 Officer's Field saddle which I believe this thread was originally speaking of. No mention is made of Marquis made M1917s in Steffen. Am I wrong that we were speaking of the M1917s or were we including the training saddles?
Rick T.
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Keen observation. This thread seems to have been mostly on the M1917. Being a "contractor" to an the US goverment wouldn't seem to convey more than that they had contracted to supply something, although not necessarily the item listed. It'd sure be interesting to know what all in the way of contracts had been entered into.

Well, I'll pop back into lurking, knowing nothing about this topic. It is interesting, however, <i>how much</i> in the way of French miltiary material was acquired by the US during this period and the extent to which the US military relied upon foreign designs, or material, in WWI.

Pat
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Philip S
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This picture of ''An Ideal Cavalry Horse'' was published in the 1921 edition of ''The Rasp.'' I am no expert on officer's saddles but the saddle bag and pommel pouch don't appear to match those illustrated by Steffen for the Model 1917 Officer's saddle. As an aside, ''Happy,''the ideal cavalry horse, was a pure thoroughbred, 15-1 1/2 hands, weight 1250 lbs (weight when fit 1040 lbs). The picture was courtesy The American Remount Association.

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Yet another view of officer's rig, circa 1918 - this is of unknown officer at US location. Note two things - the as-yet-undiscussed attachment hardware (I've not seen this stud type before), and the way the breeches drape the saddle. I scanned a high-res copy of a US officer in france during the war, and you see the same effect.

Image

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Is that ideal Cavalry Horse wearing a Halter Bridle? It appears that way to me, am I correct?

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Note that neither of these cavalry horses are the very tall, leggy, greyhound-bodied Thoroughbred popular today. In fact, they look more like race-bred Quarter Horses or small warmbloods.
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Picture is not of an officer - no braid at bottom of the sleeves and the boots are enlisted. The saddle does not appear to be the traditional M1917 design - note the uncovered portions of the bar directly behind the cantle.
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<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Uhlan1916</i>
<br />Picture is not of an officer - no braid at bottom of the sleeves and the boots are enlisted. The saddle does not appear to be the traditional M1917 design - note the uncovered portions of the bar directly behind the cantle.
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Might not be an officer, perhaps some sort of cadet?

I've seen other 1917 pics that show similar situation with ends of bars - I believe if you look closely, you'll see that these are pockets of some kind of pad or cloth that is under the saddle.

Todd H.
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Tom Marsh has a saddle with a JQMD tag and what appears to him to be repair patches where the swivel-lock sockets might have been taken out. It has slots for bayonet mounts. I hope he will tell us more and perhaps post pix.

Joe
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