Mc Pheeters Antique Militaria
Home Page About Us Ordering Information Links



MODEL 1904 OFFICER’S WHITMAN SADDLE – VERY NICE COMPLETE EXAMPLE WITH THE WHITMAN COMPANY METAL IDENTIFICATION PLATE:  The first in a series of regulation officer’s saddles that would be introduced through the first quarter of the 20Th Century, the Model 1904 Whitman Saddle made its first known appearance in official US Army records in a Rock Island Arsenal blueprint drawing dated May 19, 1904.  Closely following the pattern of the Experimental Model 1879 Whitman Saddle which was recommended during the Indian War era and manufactured in limited numbers, the introduction of the Model 1904 Whitman Saddle after the turn of the century is testimony that it was a well respected pattern and must have had a significant following among the officer corps. 

While the Rock Island Arsenal manufactured the Model 1904 Whitman in limited quantities for several years with at least two modifications incorporated in the quarter strap arrangement, at the same time the Whitman Saddle Company, and later the Melbach Saddle Company, were manufacturing the same pattern saddle, in identical quality, and were offering the saddles for sale to officers just as Rock Island did.  As with all the equipment and uniforms used by officers, it is important to keep in mind that the officers were financially responsible for outfitting themselves, so unlike the equipment issued to the enlisted men, there was an active and competitive market for the officers’ dollars. 

This particular saddle was manufactured by the Melbach Saddle Company of New York City, and the Melbach maker’s stamp, although only partially legible, is present on both of the girth safes, one more legible than the other.  Both of the patented safety stirrup strap hangers are stamped “W.S. Co. STEEL”, indicating these pieces of hardware were part of the Whitman Saddle Company inventory included in the sale of the company to Melbach in 1881.  The Whitman Saddle Company identification plate is attached to the saddle on the underside of the cantle arch – an important marketing feature for which Melbach had paid to continue using due to the popularity and reputation of the Whitman Saddle Company saddles.  The saddle features the same brass furniture - foot staples, equipment rings, saddle bag stud, and girth rings – and the non-adjustable quarterstraps and shield shaped girth safes as were incorporated in the early pattern Rock Island Arsenal produced Whitmans.    

The seat has a bright, smooth surface and a very attractive even medium caramel color.  The leather is supple and very live, and all of the seams are intact.  The rear edge of the cantle “duck tail” has a minor point of wear to the edge of the seam, very characteristic as this area is exposed and subject to wear and mishandling in storage.  It is a very minor flaw and is not noticeable when the saddle is displayed; having aged so as to blend with the surrounding surface and the integrity of the surrounding leather is not affected.  The underside of the side bars is in likewise very good condition with a similar smooth, shiny surface, showing only minimal signs of normal wear. 

The original quarterstraps are present and full length, as are both original girth safes.  The leather surfaces are flexed, but the straps are solid without breaks, and with a shiny surface and a color consistent with that of the seat.    

The full length original stirrup straps are fitted with brass buckles and from them depend a matched pair of wood frame, leather hooded stirrups.  The stirrups are original to the saddle, having a distinctive shape and composition that is consistent with other Melbach Company Whitman stirrups that have been noted in the past.  The wood frames are very solid with no breaks and the leather hoods are full form with a smooth shiny surface.    

The first of the early 20Th Century officer regulation saddles, these Model 1904 Officer’s Whitman Saddles saw significant use along the Texas-Mexican Border and those scarce examples that survive today are often found in very rough condition.  This is a very nice example and one that would display well in your collection.  (0419)  $950



Ordering Instructions

Identified Items  


Edged Weapons

Saddles and Horse Equipment


Collectors Ammunition

Uniforms, Insignia, Hats

Canteens and Mess Gear

Gun tools, Bullet molds and Parts

Field Equipment and Artillery

Original Ordnance Manuals, and Photos 

US Army Medical

Reference Books and Reprints