For most of human history we have moved across the surface of the Earth as more-or-less self-contained units. Rarely alone and generally with all the stuff we owned.
Obviously, this was before the age of Consumption as a way of life.
I love to see the details; the wash basin, table and chair, the little mirror…
It’s really no surprise then that we took to car camping as a natural progression in travel, especially in the West where movement was a theme and great open spaces we’re available. With an auto, long distances can be easily covered, there is plenty of space for essential gear, and we bring the solidness and security that the auto provides with us anywhere we need to go. As for this photo, the beauty is in the details. I really enjoy the domestic scene here as the daily routine continues no matter where we are. The non-travellers I know seemed to lump life while camping or traveling as something very different than life at home. Maybe it’s different for me having been fairly transient for much of my early life and working on the road for many years. Living is done wherever you are.
Photographer and working cowboy Erwin E. Smith gets some coffee from the chuck wagon on the LS Ranch, Texas, 1907. Click the link for more of Smith’s photos.
Erwin E. Smith and His Mount Overlooking the Country from a High Point on the JA Ranch, Texas, 1908.
“My ceiling the sky, my carpet the grass, my music the lowing of herds as they pass;
my books are the brooks, my sermons the stones, my parson’s a wolf on a pulpit of bones.”
— Allen McCanless (cowboy poet), 1885
Erwin E. Smith (1886-1947) Photographer Erwin E. Smith riding a “sunfisher” and he is not pulling leather, Bonham, Texas 1908 Gelatin silver print Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas, Bequest of Mary Alice Pettis P1986.42.135
It isn’t cheap to find good saddle bags these days but excellent ones can still be made with a little time and dedication. The U.S. Army M-1924 model is the culmination of a century of design improvements and feedback from real field use. This model, in one form or another, saw service across the West, through multiple wars, the staking of trails and the migration of a people across a continent. Being a government contract item the design specifications are readily available through the General Services Administration.
Complex leatherwork projects depend on good plans and these are above and beyond perfect.
The plans are printable and can be scaled or drafted into patterns to transfer to appropriate leather; latigo or veg tanned. Click the image for a full-screen version. Clicking again should provide oversized, printable versions for easy use and reading.
Even if you don’t own a horse, this design works well equally on a motorcycle or scooter and add a touch of class in any case. Mine ride on a Vespa Super Sport. I’ll share the Quartermaster version when I get them loaded.