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Question for Professional Leatherworkers

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Apr 6, 2014
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Folks, I have questions about a piece of brass hardware, and where to get it.

I ran across this listing on an auction site, for a shot pouch and powder horn with native provenance:

Cowan's Native Pouch & Horn 1.png

This was on the Cowan's Auction website, which appears to have gone under, but I managed to save a couple of photos. Anyway, this outfit appealed to me, and I thought I might try to duplicate it, more or less. The round items on the flap are silver "moccasin buttons," for which I thought I might substitute brass "penny buttons" (sometimes called "orange buttons") which were available from the traders back in the day, and are easier to find and a heck of a lot less expensive than silver. Another possibility might be domed pewter buttons which are also readily available. That shield-shaped device is another matter. It is not exactly a bridle rosette, and I'm not certain of what to call it. I've seen it referred to as a "harness decoration." I did find something similar on a bridle from a custom tack-maker:

Royal Legacy Leather Bridle.png

I contacted the proprietress, who politely informed me that she did not sell hardware, nor would she divulge her source for these. I respect that, and I now know that at least somebody is making these, but I sure can't find one for sale. I've tried Weaver Leather, Springfield Leather, Carrico, Colorado Saddlery, Hill Saddlery, Frecker's, Outfitter's Supply and I think a couple of others. I have found some cool stuff, including original and reproduction US Cavalry bridle rosettes, but no shield like the one shown.

Any ideas?

Much obliged,

Notchy Bob
If you are somewhat handy, this should be pretty easy to fabricate.

Get some 3/16" thick brass stock and cut the shape out using a jeweler's saw. Then file and polish the rounded/beveled edge.

Then perhaps solder some brass loops to the back to punch through slits in the leather for fastening.
Somebody, somewhere makes these. That’s a new one on the bridle in the photo. I’m a reasonably handy guy, but I would like to find one ready made.

It’s not a matter of just cutting the outline. The surface is slightly convex.

Still looking…

Notchy Bob
Thanks, @maillemaker ! Looks like you hit the jackpot! I did find the ones from Australia and Britain. The Australian one is 55mm, or a little over two inches wide and a bit too big. I didn't find much detail about the British one, but I followed your link and poked around some on that website, and it looks like the shield ornament is the right size (1")* and the price is right (about $3.16 USD). I need to contact them about ordering. Their website is not secure, and I'm reluctant to enter any information, but I will check with them. Thanks!

I also found these on Etsy:

Shield Blanks.jpg
They are not the exact shape, they are not domed, and I would have to solder pins or loops on the back, but they are about the right size and the shape may be close enough. At less than $6 for the lot of five, the price is right. I don't think I could buy the brass for that, not to mention the cost of snapped jeweler's saw blades and the time it would take to cut them out. One of these might be a fall back option if I can't get the one from the UK.

Thanks for all the help! I think I'm on track, at least.

*The seller of the pouch and horn outfit shown in the first post did not provide any measurements. Two average size powder horns I have hanging here both measure just under 10" straight across, long point to long point. Assuming the horn in the photo is 10", I calculated the pouch to be about 7.6" wide, and the shield device would be 1.08". An even inch would be close enough.

Best regards,

Notchy Bob