• Red Nichols, Holstorian

Post 78: A fresh start -- Tex Shoemaker

Updated: Aug 14

Having gotten over my fit of pique about USA politics (it is said that people get the leadership they deserve, see the end of this post) I offer a new holstorical post about Tex Shoemaker:

All was not as it seemed at Tex Shoemaker's operation in SoCal. He retired from being an LEO in '66 and despite the claim that he was a leatherworker at his kitchen table from very early on, fired up his new operation in 1968 just as Bianchi Holsters and Safariland were firing up theirs and Wolfram Leather changed hands multiple times before becoming S&W Leather. For uncertain reasons Tex's range of gunleather was entirely a clone of Wally Wolfram's, to the point where one can't be sure which is which without sighting the markings on the backside!

His company was originally Tex Shoemaker & Sons and he had two sons that I know of (one was Randy) and a daughter, Sharon. And so Tex's original maker's mark matched that notion:

The company made some kind of change and the mark changed, too, with the help of a grinder to Tex Shoemaker & Son. But why anyone would bother to make such a change to the mark, who knows; and his daughter was active in the business anyway:

Then it changed again; this time I reckon it was a new company that had been incorporated so as to be released from the liabilities of the original company and then protect the family from products liability lawsuits. These abound for gunleather makers and the same was done when Bianchi Holsters was acquired by vulture capitalists in 1987:

The exact timing of these changes are anyone's guess. Certainly I wasn't aware of the changes by the time he died (I attended his funeral) but it would be nice to know for dating his products:

And the company finally closed down early this century (this from the company's YELP entry) as is reflected in the filings with the California Secretary of State:

It's likely that internal conflicts caused all the name changes; not uncommon in family businesses. A 1960 Harvard Business Review article that was still being used in business schools at the time of his death claimed that saddleries would still be in business (in 1960) if they had just realized they were in not in the leather business but in the transportation business and stayed in it. Wrong: saddlers Heiser and Keyston both tried staying in the transportation business and after failing, survived only because they stayed in the LEATHER business with family successors (Ewald Heiser's death in '49 was the end of H.H. Heiser Co., Fred Keyston's death in '76 was the end of Keyston Bros) while S.D. Myres did the same with Dace Myres' death in '64. Even the Geo. Lawrence Co. didn't survive the riding accident that crippled the last family member, Bill Lawrence III, in the late 1980s.

What caused these companies' failures was not 'forgetting' the business they were in -- they knew they were in the leather business -- but instead, a lack of a family succession plan. Lack of planning? More likely instead, ageing family members and a lack of interest by family members as is recorded in the notes of Myres' handover to outsiders in 1965. In an interview with Harlan Webb who took on the saddlery then from Bill Myres, he said, "nice folks but they were old and tired". Sam of course, was long gone.


The leadership you all deserve, apparently, is where everyone is equal except the ones who aren't exactly like Rubin at WaPo?

We Yanks have form for this; the Declaration of Independence sets out "the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it and to institute new Government" (see below) and seems to me is exactly what's being attempted. Are you with Them, or with U.S.? Gonna find out.

Want a better way to look at politics in general, especially today's wacko behaviors? Then please have a look at the sister site of mine that is called :-)


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