During the late 19th and early 20th
centuries some prisons had well equipped machine shops and allowed prisoners
to use them. Prisoners had a lot of time to learn to forge and
engrave their work. Canon City, Colorado, Walla Walla, Washington,
and Huntsville, Texas are a few of the prisons that made spurs. Prison
made spurs, hitched horsehair items, and braided leather items are very
These old spurs are attributed to an inmate of the Carson
City, Nevada state prison. They are made of steel,
with a top edge overlay of brass, and copper, and overlaid
with engraved silver. The rowels have inlaid circles
of brass and copper. They have serpentine stamped
original spur leathers.
Canyon City, Colorado spurs. Most of these spurs
do not bear maker's marks, but have recognizable characteristics.
Note the shape of the chap guard, the style of engraving,
and the little bill protruding from the back of the shank
(bottom right in front of the rowel, below.)
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