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MODEL 1874 SHOEMAKER CAVALRY BITS – A SELECTION OF VERY NICE PLATED AND BLUED SPECIMENS:  This is a selection of very nice examples of the famous cavalry bit introduced with the Model 1874 Cavalry Equipment.  Included in this selection are examples which were finished with the arsenal bluing and the tin and nickel plating, and a variety of the range of port heights in the mouth pieces.  

Each bit is described below with accompanying photographs.   

These bits would be a nice addition to any cavalry collection, with no need to upgrade them in the future.   

 

NO. 1  MODEL 1874 SHOEMAKER CAVALRY BIT – No. 3  BLUE FINISH IN VERY GOOD CONDITION:  This specimen is a No. 3, indicated by the 1.5” high arch in the mouthpiece.  This bit was treated with the arsenal blue finish.  The bluing has generally turned a pleasant plum color, but there is some limited traces of the blue in protected areas.    

The bit is in excellent condition with little evidence of issue and use.  It is plainly stamped “R.I.A.” on the “off side” or right side bar, indicating this bit was manufactured at the Rock Island Arsenal.  Both of the original “US” bosses are present and intact.  All of the components of this bit are present and in original form, to include the lower lip bar and both rein rings. (0926)  $475 

 

NO. 2  MODEL 1874 SHOEMAKER CAVALRY BIT – No. 2  BLUE FINISH IN VERY GOOD CONDITION:  This specimen is a No. 2, indicated by the 1” high arch in the mouthpiece.  This bit was treated with the arsenal blue finish.  The bluing has generally turned a pleasant plum color, but there is some evidence of the blue in protected areas.    

The bit is in excellent condition with little evidence of issue and use.  It is plainly stamped “R.I.A.” on the “off side” or right side bar, indicating this bit was manufactured at the Rock Island Arsenal.  Both of the original “US” bosses are present and intact.  All of the components of this bit are present and in original form, to include the lower lip bar and both rein rings. (0506)  $495 

 

NO. 3  MODEL 1874 SHOEMAKER CAVALRY BIT – No. 2  TIN PLATED IN VERY GOOD CONDITION:  This specimen is a No. 2, indicated by the 1” high arch in the mouthpiece.  Of particular note, is the tin plating that was applied to this bit.  The Ordnance Department continued to experiment through the Indian War period with tin and nickel plating in an attempt to retard the effects of corrosion on the equipment in the field, and this bit is an example of those trials.

Tin was probably the most fragile of the three finishes applied to these bits, more susceptible to wear and to the environmental conditions to which they were exposed.  These tinned bits did not survive in large numbers and they are generally the least common of the three types.  This bit retains approximately 80% of the tin plating, and still presents as a very presentable example.    

The bit is in very good condition and while showing evidence of issue and use, it is not misshapen or abused.  It is plainly stamped “ROCK ISLAND” on the “off side” or right side bar, indicating this bit was manufactured at the Rock Island Arsenal.  Both of the original “US” bosses are present and intact.  All of the components of this bit are present and in original form, to include the lower lip bar and both rein rings.  (0507)  $475 

 

NO. 4  MODEL 1874 SHOEMAKER CAVALRY BIT – No. 1  NICKEL PLATED CIVILIAN MAKER:  This specimen is a No. 1, indicated by the ½” high arch in the mouthpiece.  Long after the army had replaced the Shoemaker, the civilian market still recognized it as a very good design and the demand for it remained high.  Once the stocks of surplus Shoemakers were sold, civilian bit and spur makers began producing their own Shoemakers.  This bit is stamped “HBH” in bold letters on the inside of the left side bar.  I haven’t been able to identify this particular maker, but no doubt it is recorded somewhere and could be found.   

Like the army, civilian makers recognized that plated bits would last longer and were more popular, and like the Ordnance Department, they plated their bits as this one has been.  The nickel plating applied to this bit is not as heavy as the plating applied by the army, and much of it has worn away. 

In spite of the wear, the bit is still very solid, is complete with all the components to include the lower bar and the rein rings.  Both of the original “US” bosses are present and intact.  Although this bit was manufactured by a civilian maker, it is in the same form, size, and weight as those made by the army, and it is a good representative example.    (0508)  $175 

 

NO. 5  MODEL 1874 SHOEMAKER CAVALRY BIT – No. 1  NICKEL PLATED IN LIKE NEW CONDITION:  This specimen is a No. 1, indicated by the ½” high arch in the mouthpiece.  Of particular note, is the nickel plating that was applied to this bit.  The Ordnance Department continued to experiment through the Indian War period with tin and nickel plating in an attempt to retard the effects of corrosion on the equipment in the field, and this bit is an example of those trials. In particularly fine condition, the plating on this bit survives with 100% coverage and still retains the original bright glitter.   

The bit is in excellent condition with little evidence of issue and use.  It is plainly stamped “R.I.A.” on the “off side” or right side bar, indicating this bit was manufactured at the Rock Island Arsenal.  Both of the original “US” bosses are present and intact.  All of the components of this bit are present and in original form, to include the lower lip bar and both rein rings.  SOLD

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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