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Cowboy boots - Page 31

post #451 of 514
Crown Boot Company

Does anyone have any knowledge of this company? I see a good amount of vintage boots with this brand name, and they seem to be well made. However, I can't find any information on the company online.

Any help or info is appreciated!

Thanks
post #452 of 514


Sweet boots!!  I have tons of regular western boots but nothing like these bad boys!!  Love them

post #453 of 514
It's been nearly a year since I was named 2015 Bootmaker of the Year and I thought I'd post a little portfolio of the boots that were shown at the awards ceremony and which impressed the judges. This was supposed to be an award and a recognition of a "lifetime of work." But some of my best work was done before I had a good camera.
Click on them if you want a closer look.

post #454 of 514
Absolutely stunning work! Bravo! Since I've joined here I hadn't seen you around, and I remembered seeing brief glimpses of your work before while searching this forum.
post #455 of 514
Just love seeing all these hot western boots.
post #456 of 514
The second boot in the first row image #201 is a Spanish
style, correct? It has no seams in the front. When I lived in Ecuador
over 40 years ago that type of boot was worn by horsemen
as an alternative to English style boots . In Bullfights the
mounted Picadors wore such boots.
post #457 of 514
Quote:
Originally Posted by comrade View Post

The second boot in the first row image #201 is a Spanish
style, correct? It has no seams in the front. When I lived in Ecuador
over 40 years ago that type of boot was worn by horsemen
as an alternative to English style boots . In Bullfights the
mounted Picadors wore such boots.


That's what is known (correctly) as a "Full Wellington." AFAIK, it first appeared on the scene in the very early 19th century. I don't know of any hard evidence for earlier examples anywhere in the world. The style was made popular by Arthur Wellesley--The First Duke of Wellington--in the wake of his defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815. The first full Wellingtons were made by a famous shoemaker in Britain--Hoby, on St. James Street.

All sideseam boots are now technically known as wellingtons. All typical cowboy boots are technically wellingtons. There is some evidence that the sideseamed boot originated in Eastern Europe. The British and most of Europe in the 18th century preferred the "Hessian" boot which is backseamed. In the wake of Wellington's victory, the FW became, for a time, the most popular boot throughout most of western Europe

The Full Wellington differs from the more common dress wellington in that it is comprised of only two pieces. The dress wellington is comprised of vamp, counter, front panel and back panel. The full wellington is front and back, period--any additional pieces are ornamental and, at bottom, non-functional or non-critical to the construction of the boot..

The Full Wellington was the man's boot in the early to mid 19th century in the US and the historical forerunner of what we call the "cowboy boot." It was worn by cavalry officers on both sides of the "Late Unpleasantness" --AKA the Am. Civil War.

It is a very difficult style of boot to make esp. in bona fide shoe leathers...as opposed to leathers more commonly used for garments and upholstery. There are only a few makers in the world who make it. And even fewer who make it a central part of their repertoire. It is very nearly a lost art.

Yes, some makers in Spain and S. America (and elsewhere) make such boots. But again, I do not believe that there is any objective evidence to support the notion that it originated anywhere but in England or possibly Eastern Europe.[ As an aside, there seems to be a widespread belief that cowboy boots can be traced back to Spanish origins. It is a common but mistaken notion. Historians...esp. shoe historians...who have looked into this have found little by way of evidence to support that notion.]

I have made FW for over 30 years. In contemporary times, I wrote the book on how to do it.

The second and third photos in row five and the third photo in row six are all technically Full Wellingtons (variations on a theme), as well.

And FWIW, the first photo in the last row is a backseamed cowboy boot ...in the spirit of the Hessian boot. This was a very popular style in the early 20th century as it gave the maker (and the customer) a broad canvas to be creative.

edited for punctuation and clarity
Edited by DWFII - 12/25/15 at 7:32am
post #458 of 514
Long as I'm thinking about it...

Just finished this pair of crocodile boots for my "oil baron" customer--his 8th? pair. Cocodile, French calf and 8/8" heel.

He has roses on his ranch and while the colours in this photo are not quite right, the actual roses on the boots are a perfect match for the real life flowers...at least according to him. (don't know what happened to the colour...the camera catches it perfect one time and not another.



Here's another pair in the works as a graduation gift for his son in March. Elephant and Spanish calf...and the roses.

post #459 of 514

Beautiful stuff.  I wish I could afford a pair of your full wellingtons.  Still holding the dream of taking the class with you someday too.

 

Fwiw, I had heard the cowboy boot was of Spanish origin too.  Were some of the elements Spanish, like perhaps the pointed toe or decorative stitching?

post #460 of 514
Quote:
Originally Posted by emptym View Post

Beautiful stuff.  I wish I could afford a pair of your full wellingtons.  Still holding the dream of taking the class with you someday too.

Fwiw, I had heard the cowboy boot was of Spanish origin too.  Were some of the elements Spanish, like perhaps the pointed toe or decorative stitching?

Strictly speaking, Spanish...probably not. But there surely was some "cross-pollination" with Mexico. That said, brightly coloured tops were already there on Hessian boots--yellows and reds--from the 1700's . And we can find oddly familiar decorative stitching on contemporaneous Eastern European examples.

The pointed toe is probably a universal among working horsemen who ride with a stirrup. It allows you to find that offside stirrup with out looking and "on the fly," so to speak. I suspect it arose in many divergent cultures independently of any cross-cultural influences.

Probably the greatest external influence on cowboy boots was the influx of German immigrants into the hill country of Texas. The square box toe (not to be confused with a "toe box") is, AFAIK, found nowhere else but in German and American SW footwear.
post #461 of 514
Here is a scan (sorry about the quality) of a pair of boots from a German Museum catalog. The boots were made in the Balkans (Transylvania) in the late 19th century (about when cowboy boots were really coming into their own) and as near as I can figure out, from the description, are red and green They also sport that box toe that later became so emblematic of the cowboy boot esp. in the '30's and '40's.



PS...these were more or less folk art traditional Sunday-go-to-meeting boots (Trachenschuhe) and the form may have been in the cultural tradition for some time before this particular pair was made.
post #462 of 514

Those are really interesting.  Thanks.

 

Makes sense about the toe.  I thought I remembered reading that the decorative stitching was originally a Muslim influence (Islamic art has lots of geometrical flora arrangements) that came from Spain to Mexico and then the cowboy boot.  The Eastern European connection could fit that narrative, since Islam has had a strong role there.  Does that sound right at all?

post #463 of 514
Quote:
Originally Posted by emptym View Post

Those are really interesting.  Thanks.

Makes sense about the toe.  I thought I remembered reading that the decorative stitching was originally a Muslim influence (Islamic art has lots of geometrical flora arrangements) that came from Spain to Mexico and then the cowboy boot.  The Eastern European connection could fit that narrative, since Islam has had a strong role there.  Does that sound right at all?

Well, aside from the fact that this ornamental stitching is pretty far from geometrical (IMO), I think, first, you have to remember that for a maker of anything, ornamentation is a natural progression, a creative expression, and often the first indication of better quality.

And that only serves to underscore yet another point--ie. that without hard, objective evidence of a connection it is simply speculation and even fantasy. We see this so often with people who are not historians or don't have a deep enough respect for history. Maybe there is Islamic influences but I've never seen a real connection. What's more, the stitching on the Saxon boots is not significantly different than the stitching on at least one pair of boots in my photo montage (last photo-chocolate and tan lace-ups) . I designed that pattern...whole cloth...with no known contact with Islamic or Spanish aesthetics. tinfoil.gif

The whole story of heels illustrates and underscores this point...there is no evidence for heels as we know them until the second half of the 16th century yet common knowledge (and even contemporary literature) is dead certain they were there on the feet of Vikings and the feet of medieval knights and so forth.

Or kilts being worn by William Wallace and his band of Merry Men.

Without proof, it is the stuff of RenFaires and nothing else.

"No photos...it didn't happen."

--
Edited by DWFII - 12/24/15 at 6:59am
post #464 of 514

By "geometrical," I don't mean triangles and such shapes, but repeated patterns, symmetry, things not really seen in nature but governed more by mathematical formuals.  It's been 20 years since I took a class on Islam, but I remember the prof saying traditional theology forbids representations of people and animals, so repeated geometric or floral figures have long been used for decoration, of rugs, walls, etc.


I don't know about photos, but a quick Google search shows at least one historian who mentions what I wrote.  He doesn't make any strong claim, but rather uses words like "likely" and "reminiscent." 

 

Quote:
The very embodiment of the American Old West, the cowboy, likely owes much of his equipment -- saddle, spurs, and even his boots -- to the Spanish Muslims, who were skilled horsemen. Donald Gilbert Y Chavez, a New Mexico author and cowboy historian, notes that the pointed-toe, high-heeled, and high-topped boots that Americans identify as "cowboy boots" was designed by Muslims in Andalusia, Spain, for mounted cattle herders who spent long hours in the saddle. The fancy stitching, he adds, is reminiscent of Arab designs.

 

From this site fwiw.  Again fwiw, Wikipedia (citing six book and journal sources) also says a lot of cowboy "culture" came from Spain and Muslim influences.  More reliable, perhaps (I only just found it through Google), The Cowboy Encyclopedia by Richard W. Slatta (p. 180-82) claims this Spanish influence is pretty well documented.  I think I first read the claim about boots and other tooling designs in a museum on a trip a few years ago.    Would have been either Omaha, Denver, or Virginia City.  Not directly related, but I saw firsthand the wide Muslim influence on the world through Spanish culture.  When visiting Egypt with a Puerto Rican friend she was constantly struck by how much the place reminded her of Puerto Rico, and I was struck by how much it reminded me of the Philippines.

 

 

It'd make a fun doctoral dissertation to trace the roots.

post #465 of 514
Quote:
Originally Posted by emptym View Post


It'd make a fun doctoral dissertation to trace the roots.

M,

You're not the first to think that.

I've probably read or run across most of these sources myself. But I don't ever recall seeing a pair of side-seamed Spanish boots with pointed toes and high heels and fancy stitching on the sides that didn't post date the American West. Nothing that could be called antecedent, IOW. Another reason I don't trust Wikipedia or Google or any other source on the internet...or otherwise...short of hard documentation.

I'd like to see the documentation that your sources claim.

Again, I can't tell you how many times we've seen this in the shoe histories and how many supposedly reputable sources--books, authors, etc.--that make claims that cannot be verified.

People...even authors who are not "certified" historians (or steeped in that culture)...speculate--"Well it could have happened this way." Yes, it could. Some Viking with a short leg could have nailed a block of wood to the bottom of his one shoe. Some pre-Bannockburn Scottish knight could have misplaced his leine and wrapped a big woolen blanket around himself on the way out the door to the Battle of Sterling Bridge. The possibilities are endless and mind-blowing and fantastic (in the sense of fantasy) and ninety-nine times out of a hundred dead wrong. There simply is no evidence for any of them.

"Without photos, it never happened." Without evidence, it's fantasy.

I don't have a dog in this fight. I want to believe that heels pre-date the 16th century...it would verify some of my own pet theories.

I don't really care if there are Spanish influences or not. As an aesthetic "meme" there are certainly Spanish influences in Europe going back to a time when the peoples of the Iberian Peninsula self-recognized themselves as a unique culture. There are Islamic influences in Spain dating back to the time of the Umayyad Conquest. The list of English words that have been borrowed from Arabic is long. But so is the list of words borrowed from Latin, or Greek or French or proto-Celtic. Without question, there are Mexican influences in contemporary cowboy boots esp. along the border.

Regardless, bottom line, none of it is seminal.

And for all of that, what is "reminiscent" to one person is just as often entirely the antithesis to another. I have a shoemaker friend/acquaintance of Iranian descent who sees Middle Eastern roots in nearly every aspect of shoemaking. And more than a few people (on this forum) are sure that English shoemaking techniques are the be-all and end-all...with everything else beside the point.

FWIW, I've been "caught up" in popular myths and suppositions too often. And corrected by real historians almost as often ...esp. when it comes to shoe stuff. Now I only trust that for which there is real concrete evidence.

--
Edited by DWFII - 12/24/15 at 7:15am
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