• Red Nichols, Holstorian

Post 96: Now it can be revealed (adjusted)

Updated: Oct 13

Now it can be revealed, exactly how we established the dates for each and every H.H. Heiser, Heiser-Keyston, Heiser-Keyston-Lichtenberger, and Keyston-only catalog. Our methodology is copyrighted because it is not a mere list; it's a historical document that is authentic because it is a correlation of interrelated data.

It is the complex interweaving of Heiser's catalogs especially their covers that are always numbered even though they are not always dated; there are anniversary issues; there are addresses on some issues; there are company names on all issues; and the Heisers were meticulous about recording their changing company names and company addresses in the Denver city directories. This one's the very first: 1875.

It helps to understand that The Heiser Building address that appears on their catalogs, is not the saddlery but rather is the brothers' Velie automobile dealership; Hermann was long dead since 1904. So even though the catalogs of a certain era show, on the same line, The Heiser Building and 15th & Wynkoop, the Heiser Building itself was not there but quite far away at 7th and Broadway. The former building burned down in 2000 and the latter building was vacated by Heiser to become a Buick dealer in 1928 and then, still a Buick dealer, demolished in 1971.

This first grouping is from a period when there were no catalogs, and Keyston is intermingled here because Samuel Keyston was Hermann's original partner when the pair journeyed to Colorado Territory after the Civil War (not during it as the book by Bender claims). Ironic because Samuel's grandsons were to own the Heiser company long after both his and Hermann's deaths.

When the catalogs did appear, it took our deduction that at first they were not issued annually, but rather every other year, to fit the catalogs we had in hand. You will see that some catalogs still have not been 'sighted' yet -- that is, verified by seeing at least their numbered covers -- and these blanks are an opportunity to prove/disprove the deduction.

Having said that, since the chart was completed initially in 2018, several more Heiser catalogs have been discovered and they have always fit precisely into the chart; and to do that, the number and the address and the company name all have to be consistent. And they changed a lot.

Examples of new issues discovered and fitting the chart without any modification: Numbers 16 and 18. Nos. 13 and 14 show off how the address changed in between (simply renumbered by the city; Heiser didn't actually move quarters until 1919, to 15th & Wynkoop aka 1701 15th St.).

There is more minutiae consisting of things like dated price lists and brochures that further reinforce the dateline for catalogs; see No. 21 for example. Now notice the numbers in the LH columns in orange? These note that there are anomalies caused by the brothers when they used 1857 as a founding date in some instances but 1858 in others. The most perfectly aligned Heiser catalog is Number 29: it has that number on it, the Heiser Saddlery Co. company name, the 1705 15th St. (a.k.a. 15th & Wynkoop) address, that it is the 78th anniversary issue, and uses the 1858 founding date and that it is the 1936 issue. And these also align with the city directory for that year (we have them all for Heiser beginning in the 1870s, thanks to a research librarian in that city):

We then had to acknowledge after learning that the H. Heiser Co. name was only a 'dba' adopted by Keyston Bros. in Colorado early in 1950, then the catalog number 50 that has no address but uses that company name is indeed from that year, and Nos. 51 and 52 appeared in those respective years but now with the correct address, too. Heiser-Keyston No. 52 was used until Keyston changed the catalog numbering system quite suddenly for 1959 from what otherwise would have been 53 instead to 86 onwards (so now the years since the first Keyston brother started up his whipmaking operation but not Keyston Bros. itself): `

In the final period (above) the Keyston Bros. company abandoned the fiction that the H. Heiser Company was anything other than Keyston Bros. itself in CO, and dropped all the names but Keyston until the final issue in 1976 that not only was the country's bicentennial year but also the year that its vital force, Fred Keyston, died. In 1968 the name and the catalog number was changed to descend from the founding of Keyston Bros. itself.

This one, Number 103, is the last known catalog in the series:

The images on the catalog cover, remind of 'Heiser ephemera' -- advertising bits and bobs:


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