• Red Nichols, Holstorian

Post 48: Once and future (cowboy) kings

Updated: Jun 13

Something that made a big impression on me, as a junior cowboy, was that holster sets were sold with capguns that themselves had no name. To the sellers, and to us kids, the capguns were the accessories to the holster sets and not the other way 'round. That stuck with me!

Much, much later when I embarked on a study of these old sets of what was largely the 1950s (they began earlier and lasted later), I learned that there were three thousand different sets offered to children.

Perhaps we best remember the sets for our TV and Hollywood western heroes. Yet there were lots of clever and stylish sets made without any character names on them. The big names in manufacturing of these better sets were Keyston Bros that also used the Lasso Em Bill name; Service Manufacturing that used the S Bar M label;

S Bar M sets were the most creative:

These have bits of silver foil under the red jewels so they will glisten:

I gave this set to a local youngster who likely has it at the bottom of his closet by now because there will be Scarlett Johanssen poster on his wall to distract him:

Not to be outdone, Keyston Bros sets were the most ornamented. They had their own rivets!

I have one of these in like-new condition, hanging on my wall next to an Anderson rig:

Gene Autry and his 44 Henrys:

Hopalong Cassidey aka Hoppy:

The Lone Ranger:

But nobody did 'fancy' like the Roy Rogers sets (the first image is of the many 'Flash Draw' sets, where the holster came off with the pistol and it was 'fired' that way).

This is one I restored for a collector:

Remember, as I mentioned, there being 3,000 distinctly different 'junior cowboy and cowgirl' sets from the '30s to the '60s, the above is just the frosting on the cake :-). I can't resist adding these from a cache of images taken by a fellow collector many years ago, who gave me permission to use them in a future capgun holster book that never materialized for me:

So this is me (above is Hubley and below is Keyston), experimenting with a 'gallery' function the host provides:


A 'miscellany' of brands in that image collection:


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