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Vintage Photographs

March 4, 2009

Maytie and Bob Leinweber brought a whip to us for repair.  We’re not sure what the whip is, but it appears to be a California style 8 plait Latigo.  It is a swivel-handle bullwhip.  The white and brown diamond pattern you see near the handle is from an extra set of strands braided into the whip for reinforcement.  An example of the whip can be seen in Whips and Whipmaking on page 25.

Later, Maytie sent us these pictures of Bob as a young man.  She explains:

These are the fun photos (no alcohol involved) taken by Bob Leinweber’s dad, Clarence.  They are of Bob and his friends Doug Peak, Richard Houghton & Doug Marshell for their friend Max Lacey who had joined the Navy and later went to Vietnam.  The pictures were taken in summer of 1961.  One of the pistols held by Bob is an original 1851 Navy Colt.  Bob and Doug learned the skills of the Bull Whip in 1958  and enjoyed their Whip Cracking Display for their friends and classmates all through school and into Bob’s Forest Ranger Days in Sequoia National Park, California.  Bob’s 16 foot Bull Whip was originally purchased out of a nationally known catalog in 1957. 

Thanks Maytie and Bob for the great photographs!  We hope you enjoy them as much as we did.

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More Extreme Marksman to feature David Morgan on February 7th

February 5, 2009

This Saturday, February 7th at 5 pm, the History Channel will air a repeat of Extreme Marksmen.  One portion will feature whip cracking from Anthony De Longis and another will highlight bullwhip making.  The show has footage of basic whip construction and interviews with David, Meagan and Alex.

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David, with Meagan and Alex.  (photo credit Kyle Johnson)

 

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David with the crew from Extreme Marksmen.

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WHIP BRAIDING

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A Weekend of Whip Cracking

January 8, 2009

John Leonetti stopped by the store just after Christmas to introduce his friend, Paul Johnson.  Along with Will Morgan, they examined and photographed several of David’s whips.   

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John and David

 

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David and Paul

Below are some photographs from David’s collection.  (Some photos courtesy of John Leonetti)

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6 ft Pocket Snake made by David Morgan  

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Deer Hoof with thong from Beau Hickory, made in the 1970s.

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Peruvian whip from Bernardo del Carpio

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Peruvian whip from Bernardo del Carpio

 

On Sunday, Will, John and Paul spent the day cracking whips at the SANCA facilities with BWAHAHA (The Barton-Wright Applied Hopology And Historical Antagonistics League).

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Neal Stephenson on left, John Leonetti on right

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John, Paul and Louie Foxx

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Whip Cracking

Braiding Whips

 

Is It Hard to Bash an Akubra?

December 18, 2008
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The Bushman, open crown

We often get requests to bash an Akubra hat, and we are happy to do so.  But the truth is, anyone can bash a hat.  It doesn’t take any fancy equipment.  Here are two popular ways:

 The Cowboy Method:

Cowboys used to get their hats wet by wearing them in the rain or dunking them in a stream.  Once wet, they could bash the hat into the desired shape.  Then, like cowboy boots, they wore them until dry.  Drying it on the head not only kept it from shrinking, but helped it conform to the individual’s own head shape.

The Steam Method:

While we use a steamer, a tea kettle works just as well.  Run the part of the hat to be shaped over the steam for a few seconds.  The steam penetrates the felt, which allows you to work the hat into the shape that you want.  We give step by step instructions online for a number of bash styles at: Bashing Your Open Crown Akubra

Remember, an open crowned hat can always be reshaped.  And don’t worry about making the perfect bash.  Take a look at the hats worn by such icons as Howard Hughes and Al Capone  You’ll see ripples and dents where the hat was creased.  That isn’t a bash with flaws, but a hat with character.

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Akubra Hats
Bashing Your Open Crown Akubra
Hat Sizing

 

“Australia” The Movie

November 18, 2008
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Jackman and Kidman

On November 26th the epic film, Australia opens in the US.  Almost 450 Akubras were used in the filming of the movie.  The hats were designed by milliner, Rosie Boylan, who says,

“With the men’s hats, my role was to create a range of strong character looks that carried the epic Hollywood styling of the film. I took the cinematic vision and worked with Akubra to translate their classic hats into customised pieces.”

And Managing Director Stephen Keir, the fifth generation of Keir to take the helm at the family owned and operated Akubra says,

“We sent fresh, new open crowned hats off and they then had to make them look like they’d been worn through anything from war to years in the outback.  Our hats are renowned for their durability so I’m sure ageing them was an art in itself.”

This isn’t Akubra’s Hollywood debut, with past movie credits including The Man from Snowy River, Crocodile Dundee and 3:10 to Yuma.

By the way, do you see Hugh Jackman wearing a riding coat?  The Driza-Bone riding coat is an icon of the Australian Outback, where drovers would herd cattle over long distances using stock whips.

One familiar hat in the movie is the Slouch.  Also known by Australians as “The Digger”, it is has been worn by the Australian military since 1885.  David Morgan has sold the Slouch since 1965.   These photos are of extras in the movie.  

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Wearing a Slouch    

Many people wonder why we use the term “bash” when we talk about creasing a hat.  The word “bash” comes from Australia where soldiers would receive their hat unshaped.  They were required to bash it into the proper military form.

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Read a review of the movie, “Australia”

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The Slouch

Whips

Driza-Bone

The Morgan Family Business and Akubra Hats

November 7, 2008

“Provide a good hat at a decent price, and back it up with good service.” This philosophy has guided The David Morgan Company for over forty years. The good hat is the Akubra, an Australian hat maker since 1874 and an Australian icon.

David and his wife, Dorothy, started selling Akubras in the early 1960s. Their first wholesale hat went to Eddie Bauer who used it for a national print advertising campaign.

 

 

From the beginning, the partnership between David Morgan and Akubra has flourished. Both companies are, at the core, family run businesses. Several generations of the Keir family have run Akubra, while David and Dorothy are now passing the business on to their son, Will and daughter, Barbara. Family run businesses have both the advantage of continuity and a stronger relationship with customers.

 

 

Forty years in the business also means adaptability. Because of customer demand, the Imperial Quality Akubras are shipped with chin strap hooks. And each hat comes with a lining, also unlike their Australian counterparts. As early as 1996 the company realized the importance of the Internet and created an online presence. And, to accompany the latest Indiana Jones film, David Morgan acquired “The Adventurer”.

 

Will is confident that Akubras will supply more of the American market in the upcoming years. Despite the changes, the family philosophy of providing a good hat at a good price and backing it up with good service, will never change.

 

 

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