As you know if you’ve been reading my blog over the last several weeks, I’ve been watching a lot of westerns.
I’ve had a fascination with cowboys for some time. As a little boy, I really didn’t get too deep into Cowboys and Indians and Saturday morning western serials and movies on TV. For me it was Creature Feature, and monster B-movies. I ate those up, loved ‘em all, and went back for seconds or thirds.
In some ways, then, I guess I’m making up for lost time and becoming re-acquainted with Cowboys, westerns and really cool things they connote.
As I’ve observed some of the props used in movies, it sparks interest in those things and I look them up. The guns in the westerns, for one – those beautiful, big revolvers and old rifles. They’re gorgeous. Did you know Sam Colt was awarded the first patent in the United States for a functional revolving-barrel side arm? I didn’t. I’ve looked up the Scofield model Smith and Wesson, which was a gun that opened from the top to allow access to the chamber. I’ve looked up the Single Action Army Colt Peacemaker, which was designed so the hammer could be fanned … like a gunfighter on TV or in the movies does it to fire off several cartridges.
The hats, too, struck me as interesting. I always have a favorite I find atop someone’s crown in every western I see. The saddles? Awesome.
How about cowboy boots? Did you know they aren’t just footwear that developed out of nowhere, or from crude manufacturing and materials acquisition? No, they were actually based (some believe) on the boots designed for the US Cavalry during the civil war. They were modified by request for the purpose of … well, being a cowboy. The high shaft is to protect the leg of a horse rider from the leathers of the stirrups. The pointed toe allows insertion of the foot into the stirrup without looking. The fancy stitching across the top of the boot is to allow it to bend in the right location and make it more durable. The heel is designed to prevent the rider’s foot from sliding through the stirrup (I’ve had this happen to me once). The sole of the boot permits fast and smooth removal from the stirrup without hanging. Every aspect is reasoned, and the design of the object’s form reflects its function perfectly.
I miss the artistry of the nineteenth century. Trains were cooler looking; houses were cooler looking; heck, even the clothes were cooler looking; and cowboy hats? Don’t get me started! Heh.
We have far superior technology today, but we seem to have lost some of the artistry of design which seemed so integral to everything then. And in some ways, I still long for it. Even in the first half of the twentieth century, things seemed more … elegant? I don’t know how to explain it. But as we become more efficient, I wonder if we’re losing the ability to make things beautiful and function hand in hand with our efficiency.
What do you think? Are things better now, or were they better before? Does new always mean improved?
All original content © 2009 DarcKnyt
ALL rights reserved.
Related articles by Zemanta
- How to choose the right type of saddle for your horse (raunchyjohnson.com)
- Bill Gates Autographed Cowboy Boots Not Crashing Auction Software (seattlest.com)