Next to Montgomery Wards and Mamet’s State and Main, the Queen (Frears 2006) is my favorite shopping opportunities. I love to browse all the classic Barbours, Range Rovers, silk scarves, leather brogues, tweed keeperwear, cashmere crewnecks and matching dog breeds. Like a mail order house lost to time, The Queen stocks a small but deep selection of classic items – unchanged by fashion or consumer demand. Here are a few pages from my favorite catalog:
We asked Tanner Goods, a Portland based leather goods company, to make a special edition of their canine collar for Archival. Constructed from 9/10 oz Vegetable-dyed English Bridle leather, the Archival Canine Collar features a solid brass buckle and a heavy-duty welded D ring for attaching a leash. The edges are dyed, burnished and waxed by hand.
Tanner has added edge stitching for extra durability and visual effect.
With proper care the canine collar will last for years. And unlike synthetic collars with plastic hardware, the canine collar will look even better as it ages.
As a kid, despite not owning a horse, I used to mail away for equestrian supply catalogs. I would browse through the pages of bits, bridles, silks and saddles, kitting out my imaginary Man O War with a full set of racing tack. Over time, horses morphed in bicycles, but I recently found a source for dog collars and leashes made by custom thoroughbred harness goods company, Danzig Bros. I just purchased one of the Amish-made, laced leather collars for my pony sized Weimaraner, Chaz. Designed for the rigors of the track, the lace leather style collar is made from best quality bridle leather and brass hardware. The leather is hand finished and edge polished. I’ve cycled through a number of dog collars but this is the first one that actually looks like it’s going to survive our wet Oregon winters.
Chaz in his Filson collar (on shore of McKenzie River)
In my post on the Filson custom order program, I forgot to mention the collar I purchased for my dog, Chaz. Filson offers their vegetable tanned, bridle leather collars in 14, 19, 21 and 23 inch lengths. Unfortunately, this size range really only covers skinny spaniels or thick necked Labrador retrievers. Filson needs a mid-sized collar in the 16-17″ range which would work for field dogs like Weimaraners and German Shorthaired Pointers (breeds frequently featured in Filson catalog copy).
A Filson staffer once told me about a collar he had made for his bird dog from a Filson bridle leather belt blank (before Filson made dog collars). Inspired, I phoned Filson to see if I could customize a collar for Chaz. For the standard upcharge of 35% above retail, Filson agreed to make the collar (confirming that they had recently customized a 17″ collar for another customer).
Here are some use notes and photographs of the custom Filson collar:
While I love how the Filson collar looks, I’d like to see Filson make a few upgrades to the design. For one, the collar comes with a welded rather than cast brass “O” ring. For a company that prides itself on making products from the “best” materials, I’m surprised by their selection of lower grade hardware for the optical center of the collar. I’m constantly rotating the weld so that it doesn’t show.
Also, after a wet winter’s exposure to rain, the leather is beginning to wrinkle and warp a little. While I regularly treat the leather with Pecard dressing, I’m concerned about how the collar is going to look after a few years.
If I were updating the collar, I’d swap out the brass ring, upgrade the leather and reinforce the pop rivets with double-stitching for extra durability (see the Leerburg collar as an example). While I’m critical of these details (I expect the best from Filson), I’d still recommend it for anyone looking for a quality collar. (Note that for swimming, I’d switch over to something a little more non-archival and water repellent.)
For reference, here are a few additional sources for archival quality leather pet leashes and collars. Ray Allen Leerburg
Searching for historical images of women in uniform, I found these terrific photographs from the National Library of Scotland’s Digital Archive. Many of the original photographs document a less expected, more routinized view of war. My favorite set show dogs (non-trad breeds) and pigeons being trained as messengers. I was also taken by the more candid views of troops in relaxed or sporting, non-combat situations. Visit the collection to curate your own image set.