• Red Nichols, Holstorian

In Living Colour: Seventrees 1969

Updated: Apr 2

There is only one Seventrees catalog, and it was issued with a 1969 price list. However there is more than one version because it is made up of loose-leaf pages inside a folder; a clever idea meant to make it easy to add and remove products without having to print a new catalog every year.

Missing from every copy, save one, that I have encountered is his horizontal shoulder holster and one of his revolver scabbards. Until we locate full-size images of those, this is the commonly-encountered version that consists of the jacket/folder, 18 product pages, the price list, and the preamble -- all of which here are colourised thanks to a genealogy site's clever software.

This particular one, was in my collection and I gave that original to a friend:

This today would be called a 'Donihoo', for this model was created for him to suit his original concept and Seventrees even made them for Donihoo himself to sell. It was promoted by Jeff Cooper who was an officer in Paris' company (!). As was writer Bob Zwirz who promoted Paris' new brand in two feature articles in gun mags that I know of.

This, though, is the Angell design that was preferred over the Donihoo by writer Mason Williams, who was advising Paris in the mid-1960s. He created this catalog for Paris and wanted to be appointed a director of Paris' company, too. A very commonplace part of today's Seventrees collections.

Historical note: Dog soldiers formed a sort of SWAT team for the Cheyenne and were associated with the Sioux; who were the re-named Lakota. Fight-to-the-death squads that were wiped out by cholera. I've never seen an example of it.

The comment about 'absence of leather at the root of the trigger guard' was claimed as original to Bruce Nelson; but it was Paris who inspired all of Bruce's designs. Did Bruce imagine that somehow Paris and his designer Bob Angell had heard of him, much less the holsters that Bruce was making on the West coast without ANY publicity?

The paddle holster is well-known generally, and indeed was necessitated by beltless slacks.

The holster was patented and the patent's images almost literally 'filled in the blank' caused by a hole being punched through the retention system of the holster on the catalog page. The hole seems like a clever marketing gimmick -- looks like a .38 bullet hole -- but more likely was done with a leather punch when Paris' patent attorney saw it! It's not a shoulder holster; it is clipped to the shirt itself, and 'wherever'.

Ouch. I wonder at the risk of that DA-only High Standard derringer having its trigger caught when it is holstered, then firing. Much better is how the CYX dealt with that (below).

Ditto on the 'obviously the trigger is covered' design of this one for the SA only Remington derringers of that time period. All's well . . . unless the shooter has cocked it against an opponent then holstered again.

One of the very most commonly encountered Seventrees holsters in today's collections. It was the holster that inspired Bruce Nelson to create his Summer Special; a genre that is an IWB with the same expensive attention to ride height, carry angle, and comfort found in the OWBs of the time.

These had an outrageous carry angle of 45-60 degrees positive that today we would associate with S.O.B. holsters because at such angles they m/b worn well-behind. Paris used the pull-through strap extensively yet all makers gave up on these because of the noise and the scraping of the metal when the pistol was drawn -- mainly the scraping.

This one has Chic Gaylord all over it -- or rather, Bob Angell who was both men's designer. Hard to tell one from the other without seeing the backside: the belt loop has a different stitch pattern by maker.

Galco nee Jackass copied this holster of Seventrees' so exactly that one needs to see the mark to tell them apart.

The original prototype, with which Paris was photographed for the 1968 press articles, turned up last year and bears the original Seventrees logo that is a palm tree with eight fronds (so why 'seven trees'?) that is found in FL that is a second home to many New Yorkers.

Poor Bruce. He lived his life telling his buddies that he invented the roughout IWB, and imagined that this roughness kept his Summer Special in position. And they believe it to this day including Hackathorn. It was the belt loop that did all that, Bruce!

Below are the pages that typically are missing from a Seventrees catalog. Yup, the images are poor! It's from a complete layout of all the pages that appears on Worthpoint even today. At right is the missing Federal Scorpion and at left -- well, I'm unable to make out its model.

I have only a very ordinary image of the Federal Scorpion although the rest of my scans are in excellent (his paper is a textured manila-folder color) then the images colourised. This one has Angell's fingerprints all over it (the pronounced sight channel, the bulged pocket for the barrel to slide back into during the draw, the very detailed molding); Williams complained loudly when all the holsters he was sent weren't so-molded (specifically the VAM which couldn't be or the revolver wouldn't rotate inside it to release):

New information since then is that every holster in the catalog and appearing in the publicity that surrounded the company in 1968, was a prototype; Seventrees was not yet operational.

Paris' original partner, who was Steve King full name Steven Kerryn King, appears still to be living in NYC but has been unwilling/unable to respond to queries. Steve's father was a VP of Texaco at the time and the two men sold their shareholdings back to Paris in 1968; likely seeing the writing on the wall about Seventrees' bleak future. Monied fathers also is how both JB and NP got up and running in the '60s :-).

A forum member enquired when I mentioned the Church committees that put Paris out of business. They were two congressional committees that were charged in 1975 with investigating the U.S. government's assassination squads -- and Paris' very raison d'etre was equipping these squads. He was called before the committees to testify and then forced to close down his operations. Hence his specialized pistols and holsters afterwards were made by others (Nonte and Null respectively). And the silenced MACs.

This mark is the adonida palm found in FL and was the original logo for Seventrees gunleather. To find a Seventrees with it is to find the holy grail; for it was used only on the prototypes . This example is courtesy Rob Garrett who has it from Ken Null who succeeded Paris. It gives the erroneous impression that the line of type was used with it; but Mason Williams' complaint about none of his mates being able to i.d. the maker was because the mark was the palm tree alone. This misunderstanding led the Seventrees people to switch to the line of type and then hot stamp it in the horsehide, believing that Mason was complaining about the palm tree being stamped indistinctly in the horsehide.

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