Friday, March 29, 2013

Cowboy Collectibles -- Horse Themed Watch Fobs

If you've stumbled onto my blog a time or two then you may be aware that one of my passions has been antique collecting.  Through the years I've collected wood working tools, sporting collectibles (hunting, fishing & canoeing), and -- for the last thirty years -- Old West antiques.

If gives me a good deal of pleasure to learn about some of things that my grandfathers may have used in their everyday life.  Perhaps that's one of the reasons I'm attracted to 'Horse Themed Watch Fobs.'  Take the Bickmore Gall Salve watch fob pictured above.  There's a better than good chance my granddad, his dad, or even his granddad used this product to keep their draft horses working.

What's even more interesting is that -- thanks to the internet -- you can find old advertising pieces and stories about companies that produced these early watch fobs to promote their product.

For example I learned that Bickmore Gall Salve has been around for over 130 years.  It all started when Dr. A. Parker Bickmore saw a need to treat draft horses plagued with gall sores caused by harness use.  His pharmaceutical knowledge coupled with good business sense helped the Doctor create Bickmore's Gall Salve.  His unique product allowed the horse to be worked while healing, thereby relieving the financial strain of a non-productive animal, an important consideration in 1882.  Bickmore's slogan became, "Be Sure and Work the Horse."

Another interesting watch fob in my collection is the one pictured above that advertised "Gray's Tonic Preventive."  E. E. Gray promised his tonic would put your horse in healthy condition and keep it that way.

A century ago there were many so called patent medicines -- medicines protected by a trademark or a trade name so as to establish proprietary rights -- they may or may not have delivered as promised.  Quack medicine became a derogatory term used to describe the promotion of unproven or fraudulent medical practices.  I wonder which category "Gray's Tonic Preventive" fell in?

One of my favorite fobs is this Bradstreet and Clemens Company, Grand Island, Nebraska horse and mule auction advertising piece that lists all the auction dates for 1914.

Grand Island, Nebraska was within a reasonable travel distance of my great grandfather's homestead in Comstock, Nebraska, so I figure he must have been aware of the second largest horse auction in the world.  Maybe he even bought or sold some of his Belgium horses there.  I wonder.

I might have passed on the more or less unimpressive watch fob for the Ruwart Manufacturing Company pictured above.  But, then I happened onto an interesting obituary for the company's last owner -- Chuck Ruwart.

I learned that the Ruwart Manufacturing Company had been a family owned business that produced western saddle trees and custom saddle accessories for more than four generations.  Chuck Ruwart had a passion for the automobile and in 1965, he sold Ruwart Manufacturing to the employees and purchased a Chevrolet dealership in Denver.

I wonder what interesting horse themed watch fob will turn up next?

Links to my other watch fob posts:

Cowboy Collectibles -- Watches and Fobs

Montana Cowboy Saddle-Maker's Watch Fob

Sporting Collectibles -- Du Pont Gunpowder Watch Fob

King Ranch 'Running W' Saddle Watch Fob

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