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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  Special Interests - Groups & Societies  |  Cas City Historical Society  |  The Old Fashioned Way (Moderators: St. George, Delmonico)  |  Topic: Conway buckle 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Irish Dave
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« on: February 23, 2009, 11:40:37 am »




Anybody know the when the conway buckle was first used?

Much obliged.
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Dave Scott aka Irish Dave
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« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2009, 12:16:20 pm »

No real idea - the earliest ones I've seen were on WWII-era Shoulder Holsters - but not on WWI-era military leather.

The idea has to pre-date WWII - but I haven't seen any on old harness or tack from pre-war years.

Dual-post this in the 'Leather' forum, and you might get a better idea.

Good Luck!

Vaya,

Scouts Out!

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« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2009, 12:18:08 pm »


Thanks, pard.
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Dave Scott aka Irish Dave
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Professor Marvel
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« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2009, 08:13:03 pm »

Greetings Monsieur Dave-
I was able to find a patent for a HARNESS-BUCKLE filed by  FREDERICK CONWAY of Buffalo New York
Patent number: 268781
Filing date: Oct 14, 1882
Issue date: Dec 12, 1882

describing his buckle design, the text of which can be found here:
http://www.google.com/patents?id=vzhxAAAAEBAJ
This is an an improvement on his earlier patent filed on Jan. 1878.

While this dates his invention and patent, it does not however establish when the buckle was commercailly manufactured nor does it place a date on it's availability or general use.

I hope this helps
yhs
Prof Marvel
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Irish Dave
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« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2009, 11:14:26 am »


Many, many thanks, Professor.
I had tried to search the Patent Office archives but was not successful in finding this. It is very much appreciated.
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Dave Scott aka Irish Dave
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« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2009, 07:28:22 pm »

Upon looking through my references,  - neither the 'Sears, Roebuck & Co.' catalog for 1897, nor the 'Montgomery Ward & Co.' catalog for 1895 show a 'Conway' buckle - and these two supply houses sold  pretty much everything to everyone.

These are the full-sized catalogs - not the pocket-sized reprints - and they feature their entire line.

None of the Model 1904 McClellan Saddles, nor the various Cavalry rifle scabbards feature them, either.

Vaya,

Scouts Out!
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« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2009, 12:03:55 pm »


Thanks, Bob. Your research is always impeccable. Guess I'll just hafta keep looking for additional provenance.

Hard for me to believe, though, that an 1882 harness improvement went unmanufactured for 20-25 years by which time, one could argue, its use would most likely have been starting to decline.
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Dave Scott aka Irish Dave
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« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2009, 02:45:30 pm »

It was a time for divers improvements - and horses and harness would continue in general use up until the Great War.

Perhaps it was just the fact that the inventor had no funds available to begin production.

During the era, many items were patented - to be made at a later time - much like folks register 'domain names' today and hope that the name will be purchased by a large corporation.

Hard to say.

I do know that a Conway Buckle'd make building the rigging of a shoulder rig far, far easier.

Vaya,

Scouts Out!

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« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2009, 08:15:22 pm »

Part of the problem is the buckle which is primarily a HARNESS buckle was in use prior to the turn of the twentieth century. Althought it is known as a conway buckle today, it has also been known as a loop buckle. Used as a quick adjustment  on harness hip drops  and pole tugs. I have been a saddler for many years and like I said  I have restored a lot of team harness and I have  seen some really old harness. My Chuckwagon dates to the 1890s and the old harness with it had conway type buckles  on it although the harness date of manufacture is unknown.
 The Army in 1916 lists conway buckles as part of the riding harness for English Artillery draft harness..
 I do not know exactly when the Conway or loop buckle became used commonly but I do know that as of 1916 it was in use in the English Army.
 I would suspect that its use in general Harness work was wide spread before that.
As far as its use in holster making, over the years I have found saddles made in ways that used technology that according to the text books wasnt  around at the time.The old saddle makers were geniuses when it came to innovation,so I am sure that if they saw a use for a loop buckle and had one on hand they would have used it. I also have some single post harness buckles that resemble the the conway loop buckle that date to the civil war.
 You might research harness makers prior to the 20th century and get a better idea as to when the conway buckle came into fashion
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Irish Dave
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« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2009, 11:57:08 am »

Many thanks, Don, for your valuable insight.

Seems that's always part of the problem...finding documentary evidence of what common sense tells you is true.
Guess it's kinda like the observation that there apparently were no pregnant women in the Old West, since photographs of them are impossible (or nearly so) to find.

Not sure how I missed it the first time, but upon re-reading the patent application, it seems perhaps the best evidence so far is "hiding" in the text (starting on Line 68) of Frederick Conway's 1882 patent document, so gratefully located by Prof. Marvel:

Quote
I am aware that buckles similar to mine have been made, having loops on either end and a vertical tongue or pin in the center of the plate; but none hitherto have made the loop at one end higher than at the other, in consequence of which the strap will with difficulty go under the loop where it is double, and will be exceedingly loose at the other end....

I am inclined to consider his statement as pretty strong primary evidence that this style of buckle was not only manufactured, but sufficiently common to be known to Mr. Conway, prior to his 1882 application and therefore correct to be used in our period, even though it may be in a somewhat different application.

Ain't history grand.

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Dave Scott aka Irish Dave
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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  Special Interests - Groups & Societies  |  Cas City Historical Society  |  The Old Fashioned Way (Moderators: St. George, Delmonico)  |  Topic: Conway buckle « previous next »
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