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1880s Cabinet Card of Armed Cowboys

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Cabinet Card Photographs386 of 393Crayon/ Enlarged images from the late 19th CenturyPhoto of Horvath midgets by Wendt
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Posted 7 years ago

(848 items)

Here is an 1880s Armed Cowboys Cabinet photograph.

Both wear large hats and work shirts and (in my opinion) look like real working cowboys although some of the weapons may be studio props.

The guy on the right is wearing a cartridge belt with a Civil War surplus "US" buckle. In his belt he has a Model 1877 Colt Lightning double action revolver. I am not sure of the make of the small caliber pocket pistol.

His buddy has a Merwin Hulburt .44 Army revolver in his belt and what may be a Smith & Wesson in his hand. His large bowie knife completes the menacing look.

If you look closely on the guy with the knife, you can even see the lead tips to the bullets in his cartridge belt.


  1. scottvez scottvez, 7 years ago
    WARNING TO PHOTO Posters on this site.

    Be aware that there are some crooks out there copying photos from this site, creating REPRINTS and then selling them.

    I would recommend that you use a watermark or oddly crop your images, so that a REPRINT cannot be created of the entire image area.
  2. Richard, 7 years ago
    I have reported that seller to eBay. You should look into having the photo copyrighted or at least your scans of the photo copyrighted. You could take legal action and possibly get a lot of money out of the seller.
  3. scottvez scottvez, 7 years ago
    Thanks vetraio.
  4. beachbomb beachbomb, 7 years ago
    Looks like they both have their finger on the triggers?!?!?!?! Well trained/experienced people don't do this until they are ready to fire. Could be a mocked up photo type shoot, or real, kinda hard to tell.
  5. scottvez scottvez, 7 years ago
    You are right beach-- I don't how prevalent muzzle awareness and trigger finger safetly was in the 19th century.

    It is not uncommon to see fingers on the trigger and even hammers cocked in these early photographs.
  6. scottvez scottvez, 6 years ago
    Thanks flyrr.

  7. BeauxPurdy BeauxPurdy, 6 years ago
    Scottvez, Love this photo!
    And thank-you for warning...
  8. scottvez scottvez, 6 years ago
    Thanks bellin and Purdy-- as always I appreciate you looking and commenting.

  9. scottvez scottvez, 6 years ago
    Thanks rocker, tom, savoy, kerry....

  10. Hardbrake Hardbrake, 6 years ago
    Scottvez: Nice cabinet card, I tend to agree with you on it containing props but still a nice card. The revolver in the in the belt of the man to the right looks like a Colt 1878 D.A.. Compare it to the 1878 I have picture on my show and tell. Nice card Hardbrake
  11. scottvez scottvez, 6 years ago
    Thanks hardbrake-- I'll double check on the revolver.

    I researched this a while ago and settled on the Lightning-- what stands out that IDs as M1878 vs. the Lightning?

  12. scottvez scottvez, 3 years ago
    Thanks whitman and cultcha.

  13. scottvez scottvez, 3 years ago
    Thanks much rade!

  14. scottvez scottvez, 3 years ago
    Here is a Western photographer "in the field". Seems he was comfortable with a similar set up:

  15. scottvez scottvez, 3 years ago
    Actual study, observation and attention to detail shows differences:

    Belts: Both guys here are wearing "roller buckles"; Haynes (linked #14) wears a snake buckle.

    Shirts: Left guy has bib style button arrangement and the right guy has leather tie and no buttons; while Haynes (linked in #14) has a center button.

    SIMILAR is very different from the SAME-- empirical study requires precise analysis with photographs as well as other areas (glass).

  16. scottvez scottvez, 3 years ago
    Your ASSUMPTIONS on cowboy clothing have little basis in fact.

    How many 19th century cowboy images have you studied?

    Here is an example of a cowboy ("dark clothes would look completely ridiculous on a plains cowboy, riding in the dust, wind and dirt") that I just found on ebay:


  17. scottvez scottvez, 3 years ago
    Unfortunately, actual photographs (albumen, pop) from the 19th century are black and white, unless tinted.

    Here is a photochrom (color photomechanical PRINT) image from the Library of Congress:


    Some of the "working cowboys" are wearing dark shirts, all wear large hats and dark pants!

    Suggest you take a look at some Charles Russell paintings-- he depicted many working cowboys wearing what you have described as "completely ridiculous" clothing.

    There is an abundance of photographic and other documentary evidence of 19th century cowboy clothing available to those who RESEARCH.

    I don't think it is the cowboys that are looking completely ridiculous!

  18. scottvez scottvez, 3 years ago
    Cowboy image sold through Cowan Auctions (Respected Americana Auction House, led by Antiques Roadshow appraiser/ History Detective Wes Cowan):


  19. scottvez scottvez, 3 years ago
    Yes, a studio portrait probably shows a CLEANED UP cowboy, but a cowboy nonetheless. It is more the gear and clothing that would drive a "cowboy" identification for those with familiarity in the field.

    This is also more than a context issue-- clean vs. dirty is not the issue.

    You have made pronouncements with NO basis in fact:

    "these are studio shots not real cowboys"-- Cowboys, like everyone else (Indians, soldiers, miners, store workers, etc...) had studio photographs of themselves made. Location of photograph doesn't change the identity or occupation of the subject!

    "cowboys wouldn't wear those large hats" Documentary evidence shows this is FALSE!

    "... the dark clothes would look completely ridiculous on a plains cowboy, riding in the dust, wind and dirt." Documentary evidence shows this is FALSE!

  20. scottvez scottvez, 3 years ago
    Thanks for looking windwalker and cultcha!

  21. scottvez scottvez, 2 years ago
    Thanks much peggy and walker!

  22. scottvez scottvez, 2 years ago
    Thanks for looking rade!

  23. scottvez scottvez, 2 years ago
    Thanks for looking nice and anna!

    Be sure to check my other items-- I have several images of 19th century cowboys posted on CW.

  24. scottvez scottvez, 2 years ago
    Thanks for looking pikr.

  25. scottvez scottvez, 2 years ago
    Thanks for looking rose!

  26. scottvez scottvez, 2 years ago
    Thanks rattle.

  27. scottvez scottvez, 2 years ago
    Thanks roy!

  28. scottvez scottvez, 2 years ago
    Thanks much filmnet.

  29. scottvez scottvez, 4 months ago
    Thanks again dlpetersen.


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