Western spirit was certainly evident when Newton Porter launched his saddlery shop in downtown Phoenix more than 115 years ago. Hardened by more than two decades of operating saddle shops in several western states and Alaska, he was well-suited to the challenge his last venture offered.
Before World War II, N. Porter Saddle and Harness Company would grow to 12 shops throughout Maricopa County, plus one in Tucson. Its annual catalogs found buyers throughout the United States and overseas.
The 117-year-old Porter saddle on view in The A.P. Hays Spirit of the West Collection is the finest early Porter known. It was made during the company’s first year in Phoenix—1898.
It is a classic, California full-seat saddle with exposed horn. It has a 15-inch seat, 27-inch skirt, 11-inch swells, 5.5-inch cantle, 20-inch tapaderos (hooded stirrups), and 5/8-inch rigging.
This “Object of the Month” posting was written by collector Abe Hays. Mr. Hays’ Spirit of the West Collection is comprised of approximately 1,200 rare artifacts.