Fred Blanchard was a popular early spur maker in the southwestern
part of the United States. He was born near Magdalena, New
Mexico on September 26, 1894. Blanchard was a true cowboy
spur maker. He worked on various ranches in New
Mexico and made bits and spurs as a side line.
From 1940-1948, Blanchard
was in Datil, New Mexico during the summer months, working for the
Forest Service as a fire lookout. He worked in Monticello,
New Mexico during the winters of those years as a cowboy.
Many of his spurs made after the mid 1940s were marked with the
town and state of manufacture. San Antonio, N. M. is one such
mark. Datil, N.M. and Monticello N. M. are others.
The New Mexico marked spurs are very collectable.
moved to Arizona in 1952. He went to work for the Boquias
Cattle Company in northwestern Arizona as a ranch cook. During
that time he made spurs with the Seligman, Arizona
mark. Because of the short time he was in Seligman,
there are not many spurs with this mark.
Blanchard moved to Yucca, Arizona
area in 1953. He bought a 20-section ranch 45 miles southeast
of there on the Bill Williams River. Later, around 1959, he sold his
ranch, moved closer to town, and became strictly a spur maker. He made most of his spurs while he lived
in Yucca, Arizona. It is said he could make a pair of
spurs a day. He told a journalist in 1962 that he made 350
pairs a year. The spurs are usually marked inside the
heel band with one of six style numbers...2,3,4,5,6,8 and PS for
plain steel, SS for stainless steel, or TS for tempered (or tool)
steel and E.F. BLANCHARD YUCCA ARIZ (or other place name)
in all capital letters. Since all Blanchard's spurs were hand
crafted, some stamping differences and errors were made. Apparently,
many of his early spurs were unmarked. Custom-made spurs were
sometimes marked differently, often without style numbers, and many
have silver or brass overlay decoration in the form of designs or brands.
During Blanchard's time in
Arizona, he marked spurs with the state abbreviations ARIZ and
AZ. The AZ markings can be dated as being made after 1963,
the year the United States Post Office instituted two letter state
abbreviations to go with the new zip code system.
Porter's Saddle Company
of Phoenix, Arizona carried Blanchard spurs in their store.
Walls Pharmaceutical Company gave the spurs as premiums to medicine
buyers in the state's cattle feedlots.
Blanchard's spurs were popular
in Arizona, New Mexico, and southern California. Some
also made their way into southern Colorado and to Texas and Montana.
The spurs are expertly crafted and today's working cowboys still
really like the way the spur fits a boot.
work evolved over time from forged one-piece spurs to welded,
polished spurs. He also made spurs using stainless steel beginning
around 1946. Stainless steel is an extremely difficult metal
to work with. Blanchard produced high-quality stainless steel
spurs using an acetylene torch.
One unique feature of most of
Blanchard's spurs is the angled swinging style of the button.
Short shanks and wide heel bands are also a definite mark of Blanchard's
style. His design eliminated the need for "tie-downs"
to keep the spurs in place.
The number-four style is the only one that has chap guards.
Blanchard continued to
make spurs into his 80s and died in Kingman, Arizona on January
We recently received this addition to Ed
Blanchard's tale from someone who was there:
Stumbled upon your site while surfing the
net and I had no idea Ed Blanchard was so collectible. I
spent long hours watching Ed bend the metal and work the
torch and then watching my Grandpa put the final touches on
the spurs. My story is that I'm the grandson of Daniel
Todor (the Yucca Mission Minister) who worked side-by-side
with Ed for years in Yucca. I usually spent a good part of
my summers (59-65) growing up with my grandparents Dan and
Grace who lived in Yucca until around 1985. I spent many an
hour in Ed's little work shop just behind his house in Yucca
watching the two of them craft the spurs that have become as
I now know, quite collectible. Grandpa would get the raw
finished spur minus the rowel and put the spurs through the
paces of the buffing process which would give the spur it's
shiny patina and then Ed would add the rowel to finish off
the spur. The rowels were buffed separately so to get them
completely polished before mounting them to the shank and
inserting the holding pin. I remember a few rowels getting
away from my Grandpa and rolling along the floor or
sometimes impaling themselves into the wood like a throwing
star from being buffed. Once the final assembly was done by
mounting the rowels, he then put the spurs through the final
buffing process to match the overall sheen. One day Ed even
had me stamp some of his spurs with his letter set and of
course, my Grandpa let me try my hand at buffing too,
needless to say, he fixed any spot that I had worked. Being
a young kid this was pretty impressive to me and who knows,
perhaps some of those spurs are still out there. I remember
that Ed would place the spurs in a row on a wood board that
was nailed to the studs of the shop for Grandpa to buff and
when he finished buffing the spur, he then placed it on the
other side of the buffer in a similar arrangement for Ed to
mount the rowel and put it back in line for the final pass
at the buffer before packaging. The spurs would stack up as
Ed would be crafting new pairs while Grandpa was buffing and
by the end of the week, they had a shipment ready for
As for further details, not much to add,
as the saying goes, same job different day. The only thing
that I could add would be that my Grandfather was
the Pastor/Minister for the Yucca Mission located down next
to the Post Office south of the train tracks and the big
wash. He held numerous side jobs mostly handyman as he was
the old type jack of all trades master of none. During WWII
he worked for Consolidated Aircraft in San Diego as a
machinist building aircraft then when he felt the itch he
left that job and was a rock-hound collecting stones that he
fashioned into jewelry, mostly Bolo Ties, Women's
Necklaces/Earrings, and Belt Buckles. Did some prospecting
and road construction worked for a young McCullough
(chainsaw fame) at "Site Six" which is now known as Lake
Havasu, then as the custodian for the Yucca Elementary
School District (one schoolhouse, Yucca wasn't that large
but provided the elementary for the Kingman High School)
then he hooked up with Ed in 1959/60. He became the Pastor
of the "Yucca Mission" in 1960 and he and his wife Grace (my
grandmother) were the center of Yucca's religious circle as
Yucca only had the one church. My Granddad worked side by
side with Ed for over 10 years before he felt the itch again
and moved on and worked for Lake Havasu Estates as their
handyman until about 1983 before retiring completely about
two years before they moved to my mom's place in Ramona, CA.
in 1986. He passed on due to a heart attack on July 7, 1996
Hope you've enjoyed my little passage in time."
Click on the
links below to see more.
Blanchard Spurs - How
to tell an authentic pair.
F. Blanchard Spurs - Examples Blanchard spur photos
and stories from our visitors.