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Old 07-08-2017, 09:21 PM
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Default Brill Holster

Can someone please explain to me why this holster sold for so much ($2070)!

Brill Austin, Texas Holster for a Colt Single-Other Firearms Auction Lot-223
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Old 07-08-2017, 09:24 PM
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Bidding wars sometimes result in unrealistic prices.

And then it's for a Colt SAA and you know how those Colt guys are.
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Old 07-09-2017, 08:02 PM
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If we expect that the buyer could recoup his purchase price, then, no. He will have to hold it for an extended period to do that, and then that calculation says the money should have been invested elsewhere (I believe that's called 'opportunity cost': noun ECONOMICS the loss of other alternatives when one alternative is chosen.)
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Old 07-09-2017, 08:12 PM
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I thought there must be something special about it!
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Old 07-09-2017, 09:23 PM
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That's insane,Someone had too much Scotch at the Big Auction.
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Old 07-09-2017, 10:47 PM
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From what's been learnt over the past year about the history of the Brill holster, it would seem then that this particular Brill was made by N.J. Rabensburg for Brill (the rounded corners of the basketweave template). N.J. appears to have been called back to Austin in 1932 perhaps for this express purpose; and he set up shop literally next door to where Brill had been since 1929. N.J. had been mayor of Llano TX for a year and wouldn't have left there on a whim. He spent the rest of his life in Austin, too, whereas he had moved around a LOT prior. The Brills (August and Arno) were building Brillville on Lake Austin to the NW of Austin itself and after WWII intervened it was opened to the public in 1948. N.J. retired in 1955 (began collecting SS and told at least one interviewer in the 1950s that he was retired) and died 1961. So: between 1932 and 1955, whereas I would expect that an EARLY Brill would have more value (so 1912 to 1929) (appear to have the square corners for the basket perimeter) (not decisive) as being made by the Brills themselves. The design did not exist prior to 1907 when N.J. created it with August at W.T. Wroe in Austin for Capt. Hughes. There is a Brill reputed to have belonged to Butch Cassidy but the design did not exist, nor did the A.W. Brill company, during Butch's lifetime (conspiracy theorists aside).
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Old 07-10-2017, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by rednichols View Post
From what's been learnt over the past year about the history of the Brill holster, it would seem then that this particular Brill was made by N.J. Rabensburg for Brill (the rounded corners of the basketweave template). N.J. appears to have been called back to Austin in 1932 perhaps for this express purpose. So: between 1932 and 1955, whereas I would expect that an EARLY Brill would have more value (so 1912 to 1929) (appear to have the square corners for the basket perimeter) (not decisive) as being made by the Brills themselves.
Red,
Now I am confused. You mention rounded corners and square corners. Do you happen to have a picture of holsters to show the difference. I looked at the Specific Maker - AW Brill thread, but unfortunately almost all of the pictures are gone thanks to photobucket! So, I could not find any to compare. Thanks.
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Old 07-10-2017, 06:32 PM
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Red...you are truly a gifted researcher. Thanks.

It still ain't worth that much..... it is more than my house payment.
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Old 07-10-2017, 09:21 PM
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Red,
Now I am confused. You mention rounded corners and square corners. Do you happen to have a picture of holsters to show the difference. I looked at the Specific Maker - AW Brill thread, but unfortunately almost all of the pictures are gone thanks to photobucket! So, I could not find any to compare. Thanks.
Larry
Sure, did these up for Phil once upon a time (some pics belong to forum members):

Brill Holster-2-jpg which is a known Rabensburg 1955

Brill Holster-1-jpg marked Brill with the same round corners as the Rabensburg

Brill Holster-brill-saa-3-jpg marked Brill with the squared corners.

The theory that the builders are different is my own, based on being a maker myself. And we do know the periods that N.J. Rabensburg was in Texas and when he wasn't (census, newspaper archives, s/s records, etc.). The backside of the two round-cornered holsters are identical as to the odd stitching at the left side, the right side, and at the muzzle; impossible to be a coincidence (and all other clones of the Brill are different in those three places and the lining attachment, and the very weird and seemingly arbitrary way the welts are layered near the muzzle).

The holster attributed to Ranger L.E. Trimble (hey, learnt recently that his names are French in origin not Spanish) has the square corners. Sheriff Wilson tells me that Trimble, despite the legend, did not ever speak of creating any holster including the Brill (of which several were in Lee's estate).
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Old 07-10-2017, 11:50 PM
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It still ain't worth that much..... it is more than my house payment.
House PAYMENT? That's about 15% of what I paid for my first HOUSE!
f.t.
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Old 07-14-2017, 06:00 PM
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As I have said before, I collect mostly floral carved "Big Three" holsters. But, I purchased my first Brill Holster a few days ago. When I was looking I came across the holster that started this thread. That made me think I would not be able to afford one. The one I got was kinda rough, but the Blackrock worked it's magic. I think it also was modified by a previous owner. The safety strap was probably added later (I don't think Brill would cover their Maker's Mark with part of the safety strap), it was probably dyed black later (the back of the holster is brown), and the belt loop on the back of the holster was sewed up so it would fit a narrower belt (1 1/2 inch instead of a 3 inch). Other than that it looks great! It has a pretty thick welt, but I think that is common on a Brill holster. I did not see a model number on it anywhere, so I don't know if Brill holsters have them. If they don't, I sure wonder how you ordered one back in the day. I got it for a good price. It fits a medium frame revolver with a 4 inch barrel. I thought I had gotten all the verdigris off the male end of the snap, but the close up pics say I didn't. Needs more work.

I am hoping Red sees this because from earlier posts in this thread, it seems this holster has rounded corners instead of square corners.

Here are a few pictures (from my computer instead of that evil PB) so they are the thumbnail type:
Attached Thumbnails
Brill Holster-w-brill-holster-1-jpg   Brill Holster-w-brill-holster-2-jpg   Brill Holster-w-brill-holster-3-jpg   Brill Holster-w-brill-holster-4-jpg   Brill Holster-w-brill-holster-5-jpg  

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Old 07-14-2017, 06:01 PM
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Here is a close-up picture of the extra sewing that was done. It is the black thread and makes the belt loop accept a narrower belt.
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Old 07-15-2017, 02:48 AM
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Originally Posted by boykinlp View Post
As I have said before, I collect mostly floral carved "Big Three" holsters. But, I purchased my first Brill Holster a few days ago. When I was looking I came across the holster that started this thread. That made me think I would not be able to afford one. The one I got was kinda rough, but the Blackrock worked it's magic. I think it also was modified by a previous owner. The safety strap was probably added later (I don't think Brill would cover their Maker's Mark with part of the safety strap), it was probably dyed black later (the back of the holster is brown), and the belt loop on the back of the holster was sewed up so it would fit a narrower belt (1 1/2 inch instead of a 3 inch). Other than that it looks great! It has a pretty thick welt, but I think that is common on a Brill holster. I did not see a model number on it anywhere, so I don't know if Brill holsters have them. If they don't, I sure wonder how you ordered one back in the day. I got it for a good price. It fits a medium frame revolver with a 4 inch barrel. I thought I had gotten all the verdigris off the male end of the snap, but the close up pics say I didn't. Needs more work.

I am hoping Red sees this because from earlier posts in this thread, it seems this holster has rounded corners instead of square corners.

Here are a few pictures (from my computer instead of that evil PB) so they are the thumbnail type:
You posed lots of insightful questions on this one. Indeed the odd backside sewing is typical of Rabensburg's. I'll see if I can find the pic I have of the odd way the welts have been laminated near the muzzle, in these holsters. Agreed that the strap was added; though it could have been period because the snap type we call today a 'glove' fastener'; common enough then but one won't find them on holsters today; Heiser switched from that type to the modern 'dot' style at some point though I don't know the timing of that.

There was only one Brill style holster. The variants we see were for the different pistol styles; so the auto had the trigger guard enclosed, and the short barrelled revolvers did too and had safety straps, and the 4" and up revolvers had the guard resting on the welt and normally without a strap. Basket appears to have been standard, floral an option, and I've not ever seen a plain one (doesn't mean they don't exist).

The first image is a pair of Rabensburg's; we know this because N.J. made them for Stan Nelson while telling Stan and his brother the style's history. The second image is the back of a Brill auto (notice it is a black holster with a brown back; this was done as recently as the Hoyt forward draws of the 60s because of dye rubbing off on the tan uniform trousers); and the last image is the odd layering of the welts on a Brill (look and you will see) which I hadn't ever noticed until a friend pointed it out to me.

Brill Holster-x-originals-1-jpg


[ATTACH]293435[/ATTACH


Brill Holster-brill-auto-13-jpg
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Brill Holster-brill-auto-2-jpg  
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Old 07-15-2017, 09:46 AM
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You posed lots of insightful questions on this one. Indeed the odd backside sewing is typical of Rabensburg's. I'll see if I can find the pic I have of the odd way the welts have been laminated near the muzzle, in these holsters. Agreed that the strap was added; though it could have been period because the snap type we call today a 'glove' fastener'; common enough then but one won't find them on holsters today; Heiser switched from that type to the modern 'dot' style at some point though I don't know the timing of that.

There was only one Brill style holster. The variants we see were for the different pistol styles; so the auto had the trigger guard enclosed, and the short barrelled revolvers did too and had safety straps, and the 4" and up revolvers had the guard resting on the welt and normally without a strap. Basket appears to have been standard, floral an option, and I've not ever seen a plain one (doesn't mean they don't exist).

The first image is a pair of Rabensburg's; we know this because N.J. made them for Stan Nelson while telling Stan and his brother the style's history. The second image is the back of a Brill auto (notice it is a black holster with a brown back; this was done as recently as the Hoyt forward draws of the 60s because of dye rubbing off on the tan uniform trousers); and the last image is the odd layering of the welts on a Brill (look and you will see) which I hadn't ever noticed until a friend pointed it out to me.
As usual, thanks for all the interesting information. When I saw the seller's pictures of this holster, I thought it might have the Rabensburg sewing style. Nice to know about the snap type and that it is probably period correct.

Since Brill only made one style holster, I guess when you ordered one, you would just tell them what gun you wanted it to fit and barrel length, and they would make it for you. I think most of the Brill holsters that I have seen are the basketweave pattern. If anyone has a floral carved or plain one, please post a picture of it! I would love to see some!

I do think my holster was dyed black (even though they left the back of the holster brown) after it left Brill, since the back looks kinda crude. I looked at the welt on my holster and it has the same odd layering as the holster you pictured.

After Red's comments, I am liking this holster more and more!

It still really stinks that most of the awesome pictures on this "Gun Leather" part of the forum are no longer viewable! They used to be great to look at and to learn and gather information from! I wish I could say how I really feel about photobucket!!
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Old 07-15-2017, 10:19 AM
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House PAYMENT? That's about 15% of what I paid for my first HOUSE!
f.t.
f.t., I'm bettin this ole boy that bought that holster ain't got a house payment,
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Old 07-15-2017, 05:19 PM
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As usual, thanks for all the interesting information. When I saw the seller's pictures of this holster, I thought it might have the Rabensburg sewing style. Nice to know about the snap type and that it is probably period correct.

Since Brill only made one style holster, I guess when you ordered one, you would just tell them what gun you wanted it to fit and barrel length, and they would make it for you. I think most of the Brill holsters that I have seen are the basketweave pattern. If anyone has a floral carved or plain one, please post a picture of it! I would love to see some!

I do think my holster was dyed black (even though they left the back of the holster brown) after it left Brill, since the back looks kinda crude. I looked at the welt on my holster and it has the same odd layering as the holster you pictured.

After Red's comments, I am liking this holster more and more!

It still really stinks that most of the awesome pictures on this "Gun Leather" part of the forum are no longer viewable! They used to be great to look at to and to learn and gather information from! I wish I could say how I really feel about photobucket!!
I did see that your welt had the unique layering. Here are some floral pics (some belong to other forum members):

Brill Holster-brill-auto-9-jpg

Brill Holster-brill-da-14-jpg
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Old 07-15-2017, 10:01 PM
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[quote=rednichols;139668643]I did see that your welt had the unique layering. Here are some floral pics (some belong to other forum members):

Those 2 are awesome! Now I do remember seeing the first one you posted. I believe it belongs to John. I'll have to keep my eye out for a reasonably priced floral carved model, if there is such a holster. Anybody else have some floral carved pictures?
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Old 07-16-2017, 01:15 PM
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I have different excel spread sheets for my guns, grips, gun leather etc. On all the sheets, I have descriptions and an area where I place the amount paid, as well as, an amount worth. I know some people are of the mind that it is worth what you paid, but if I get a deal, I think it may be worth more than I paid.

I am having a hard time figuring out what this Brill holster (from post #11) is really worth. Any insight from you folks would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 09-14-2017, 04:14 AM
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I did see that your welt had the unique layering. Here are some floral pics (some belong to other forum members):

Attachment 293517

Attachment 293518
This thread is too good to let it fade off into the sunset.
The first floral carved Brill holster that I can recall was a photo
of the so called Butch Cassidy holster. I just Googled Butch
Cassidy auction holster photo and a bunch of them came up.
James D. Julia was the auctioneer. As you (Red) pointed out
it was impossible for Butch Cassidy to own a Brill holster. The
dates don't work out.
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Old 09-14-2017, 11:52 AM
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Brill holsters, like those by Myres, have that sort of Texas mystique about them. I think that contributes to their value, even though that monetary value may be unrealistic except to collectors. I understand Texas Rangers liked Brill holsters.

But this one that just sold for over $2K...well, I don't know. It'd have to have belonged to someone famous for it to interest me.

Of course, the buyer may have wanted it to round out a particular look for a display of his vintage Colt, who knows. As someone else mentions, you never know what those Colt fellas are gonna get up to next.

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Old 09-14-2017, 11:59 AM
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Brill holsters, like those by Myres, have that sort of Texas mystique about them. I think that contributes to their value, even though that monetary value may be unrealistic except to collectors. I understand Texas Rangers liked Brill holsters.

But this one that just sold for over $2K...well, I don't know. It'd have to have belonged to someone famous for it to interest me.

Of course, the buyer may have wanted it to round out a particular look for a display of his vintage Colt, who knows. As someone else mentions, you never know what those Colt fellas are gonna get up to next.

I have found that when some guys find a holster they like,
especially on auctions, they don't let a little thing like money
prevent them from having it. I have been guilty of that syndrome
a few times myself, but not too bad.
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Old 09-14-2017, 02:11 PM
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Late to this party.

Too much money for certain! A similar Brill for a 4 3/4-inch Colt Single Action Army was picked up at a San Anglo, Texas gun show in summer of 2016, from a vintage holster dealer no less, for little more than a tenth of that auction price realized.

For that kind of money, I'd sooner purchase another ratty Colt Single Action Army in an "off-caliber" than the holster for one.





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Old 09-14-2017, 03:11 PM
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Glad this came back up! Remember, this ole boy wasn't bidding against himself. There were others interested at that loftly price also.
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Old 09-14-2017, 04:02 PM
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I have found that when some guys find a holster they like,
especially on auctions, they don't let a little thing like money
prevent them from having it. I have been guilty of that syndrome a few times myself, but not too bad.
I've done the same thing, too. Last time it was a little Heiser, I think. I was determined to have that holster! Didn't even have a gun for it, mind you. So I bought it. Turned around and gave it away to a fellow forum member. What can I say?

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Glad this came back up! Remember, this ole boy wasn't bidding against himself. There were others interested at that loftly price also.
That's right. Makes me think something else was going on...maybe a little personal rivalry or something, who knows. Or maybe someone knew something about the holster no one else knew? $2070 is a lot of money.
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Old 09-14-2017, 04:04 PM
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This thread is too good to let it fade off into the sunset.
The first floral carved Brill holster that I can recall was a photo
of the so called Butch Cassidy holster. I just Googled Butch
Cassidy auction holster photo and a bunch of them came up.
James D. Julia was the auctioneer. As you (Red) pointed out
it was impossible for Butch Cassidy to own a Brill holster. The
dates don't work out.
The holster also is not on the detailed receipt for the Colt. Certainly Brill didnt exist in 1900.
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Old 09-14-2017, 09:10 PM
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For those who don't know, A.W. Brill was the father of Nellie Connolly, wife of TX Gov. John B. Connolly, wounded when JFK was shot in Dallas.

If you want a Brill-like holster today, El Paso Saddlery has it, their Model 1930 Austin. I have one and it has their usual excellent, traditional workmanship.

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Old 09-14-2017, 11:29 PM
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For those who don't know, A.W. Brill was the father of Nellie Connolly, wife of TX Gov. John B. Connolly, wounded when JFK was shot in Dallas.

If you want a Brill-like holster today, El Paso Saddlery has it, their Model 1930 Austin. I have one and it has their usual excellent, traditional workmanship.
A sore point for me. EPS does not make their version according to Brill's ve rsion. In a true 'Brill' (actually developed by Rabensburg for the Texas Rangers) and its period copies, the leather cuff that encircles the holster body forms the belt loop tunnel and quite precisely. That requires the upper edges of the cuff to be parallel to the fold that creates the fender; and the distance from the fold to suit a particular belt width so the holster won't slide along the belt. It was an early concealment holster for the Rangers and wasn't worn on a wide gunbelt of the era. Brills also had three welts and these jammed the revolver into position. Yes, the auto fersion was different.
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Old 09-15-2017, 11:08 AM
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For all the good it will do, what with Photobucket likely to pull the plug on my account with them soon, will stick up the Brill holster tribe this morning, along with the guns they fit.





If ol' Red can trademark "Holsorian" then I need to secure my term for a certain affliction with regards to old leather for I think I have contracted a "Brillness."

I've also tested positive and been diagnosed with Heiserosis, Myres Syndrome, Eubankitis, and Lawrence's Disease as well. It all started with a touch of Bucheimerenza years ago when I was young and bought one new. I'm done for if I ever come down with Meaneamia or get a Frazierus.
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Old 09-15-2017, 12:11 PM
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What a beautiful collection of Brills. I wouldn't mind getting a dose of
Brillness myself. Just beware of that teflonacoccus and nylonitus. I
understand there is a lot of it going around these days.
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Old 09-15-2017, 06:29 PM
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For all the good it will do, what with Photobucket likely to pull the plug on my account with them soon, will stick up the Brill holster tribe this morning, along with the guns they fit.





If ol' Red can trademark "Holsorian" then I need to secure my term for a certain affliction with regards to old leather for I think I have contracted a "Brillness."

I've also tested positive and been diagnosed with Heiserosis, Myres Syndrome, Eubankitis, and Lawrence's Disease as well. It all started with a touch of Bucheimerenza years ago when I was young and bought one new. I'm done for if I ever come down with Meaneamia or get a Frazierus.
Fabulous. Surely one of these pics should be a centrefold in The Book. May I?

Your brillnesses are equally fab. I hear that Lawrence Disease is not fatal, nor Eubankitis; but Heiserosis or Myres Syndrome -- man, you don't want to get those!

I don't suffer from any of those illnesses; I'm the virus itself :-). Will do some research to see; ah, here it is: the common holster virus, proper name Nicholodeon.
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Old 09-15-2017, 06:52 PM
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Fabulous. Surely one of these pics should be a centrefold in The Book. May I?

Your brillnesses are equally fab. I hear that Lawrence Disease is not fatal, nor Eubankitis; but Heiserosis or Myres Syndrome -- man, you don't want to get those!

I don't suffer from any of those illnesses; I'm the virus itself :-). Will do some research to see; ah, here it is: the common holster virus, proper name Nicholodeon.
Sure Red, but you better grab it fast before that wretched Photobucket notification replaces it.

Besides, wouldn't you rather have a superior photograph than that one which was only laid out on the opened tailgate of the pickup this morning before the sun got so high as to play havoc with my pitiful camera?

I mean ... the pistolas are still wearing their coats of RIG from their slumbers in the safe. I didn't even wipe them off before laying them out.

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Old 09-15-2017, 07:35 PM
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Sure Red, but you better grab it fast before that wretched Photobucket notification replaces it.

Besides, wouldn't you rather have a superior photograph than that one which was only laid out on the opened tailgate of the pickup this morning before the sun got so high as to play havoc with my pitiful camera?

I mean ... the pistolas are still wearing their coats of RIG from their slumbers in the safe. I didn't even wipe them off before laying them out.
Hope you fellas don't mind, but I posted these two pictures here on the forum's own storage system, so that they will exist even if Photobucket tries to hold them hostage:





I'm still experimenting with this, so bear with me if it doesn't work the first time. The saved picture is really located in "Pictures &Albums", in an album I named "Some of my Borrowed Pictures", and all you or any forum member has to do is copy the BB Code, and paste it in to the post and the picture will appear in the post without a thumbnail. Thumbnails are great if you are using a desktop computer, but they are a pain if you use an iPad or iPhone like I do.
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Old 09-15-2017, 07:53 PM
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Well, that's keen Les!

Now I need to learn how to use the Forum photo feature you show us.
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Old 09-28-2017, 02:09 AM
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No need to start a new thread --

I found myself scrutinising a newspaper article about Gov. John Connally's wife (written after the death of JFK) and what I saw led me on a search. It's much-mentioned that Mrs. Connally was Arno Brill's daughter. And in this tiny, faded print I notice it mentions that her mother's brother -- that is, Arno Brill's brother-in-law -- was once Mayor of Llano TX.

Say, I think: N.J. Rabensburg, who is said to have invented the Brill and built it 1932 until at least 1955, was also a Mayor of Llano. Wonder what the sequence was?

Turns out that Mayor Inks, who was a hard-charger who died young, literally handed the key to the city to the new mayor, N.J., in 1931.

By 1932 we know that N.J. himself had bailed and returned to Austin where his address was 302 E. 6th St -- Brill headquarters. Mr. Inks likely maintained the link between the Brills and Rabensburg; though the latter had hundreds of relatives around TX.

Recall that in 1933, unemployment as a result of the Crash of '29 hit 25% (full employment is considered 4-5%). And Inks handed off after 7 years as mayor, citing the difficulty of doing that job and operating his flailing automobile sales business, too.

Likely N.J. felt the same in about a year and jumped at an offer to return to Austin to work with Arno again.

It was a mighty small world in those days (P.S., virtually all the big names were German born or descent and were Masons; even Tom Threepersons was a Mason and so were his wives #2 and #3 as members of the Order of the Eastern Star).(Ditto John Berns of Berns-Martin, and his wife).
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Old 05-17-2018, 08:32 PM
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Cool Newton Joseph Rabensburg-Holster, Belt, Saddle Maker

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From what's been learnt over the past year about the history of the Brill holster, it would seem then that this particular Brill was made by N.J. Rabensburg for Brill (the rounded corners of the basketweave template). N.J. appears to have been called back to Austin in 1932 perhaps for this express purpose; and he set up shop literally next door to where Brill had been since 1929. N.J. had been mayor of Llano TX for a year and wouldn't have left there on a whim. He spent the rest of his life in Austin, too, whereas he had moved around a LOT prior. The Brills (August and Arno) were building Brillville on Lake Austin to the NW of Austin itself and after WWII intervened it was opened to the public in 1948. N.J. retired in 1955 (began collecting SS and told at least one interviewer in the 1950s that he was retired) and died 1961. So: between 1932 and 1955, whereas I would expect that an EARLY Brill would have more value (so 1912 to 1929) (appear to have the square corners for the basket perimeter) (not decisive) as being made by the Brills themselves. The design did not exist prior to 1907 when N.J. created it with August at W.T. Wroe in Austin for Capt. Hughes. There is a Brill reputed to have belonged to Butch Cassidy but the design did not exist, nor did the A.W. Brill company, during Butch's lifetime (conspiracy theorists aside).
I am A. Neale Rabensburg, grandson of Newton Joseph Rabensburg. Newton was born in 1889 in Wilson County, Texas and raised in Fayette County, Texas following the 1890 death of his father, Henry B. Rabensburg, a saddler in Wilson and adjacent counties. There is presently an active exhibit on N. J. Rabensburg in La Grange, Texas at the Fayette Heritage Museum and Archives. Mr. Rabensburg was in business in La Grange from 1915 to 1920. His store located on the town square was Zwiener and Rabensburg. He and his family moved to Llano in 1920 where he stayed until the early 1930's. He received an offer from the A. W. Brill Company in Austin and left his position in Llano as Mayor. There is an Austin American newspaper article written in 1959 on his life and leather career. I was there with him on occasions during his retirement. He had a home office located in his garage located at 1903 W. Lamar located on a hill across from Pease Park and Waller Creek (Austin). I watched him make his holsters and belts. I had one of his holsters and belts as a child. I can identify for the most part his designs. I have much of his home workshop including tools, stitching horse, granite block, a (cc: 1890) Sessions Wall Clock from Parry Buggies, carriage toting box for belts, early photographs including one of his pre-1915 "parade" saddles, 1961 obituary, 1959 PR newspaper article, photos of a Zwiener and Rabensburg restored buggy in the Hidalgo Museum in south Texas, his writing desk and spool draw, early 20th Century wall art painted on leather. I have photographs of him as a young man and in retirement. Newton died of a stroke at the age of 73 or thereabouts He is buried with his wife, Lillian Edna Speckels in Austin. Together, they had three sons and two grandchildren.
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Old 05-18-2018, 04:56 PM
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I am A. Neale Rabensburg, grandson of Newton Joseph Rabensburg. Newton was born in 1889 in Wilson County, Texas and raised in Fayette County, Texas following the 1890 death of his father, Henry B. Rabensburg, a saddler in Wilson and adjacent counties. There is presently an active exhibit on N. J. Rabensburg in La Grange, Texas at the Fayette Heritage Museum and Archives. Mr. Rabensburg was in business in La Grange from 1915 to 1920. His store located on the town square was Zwiener and Rabensburg. He and his family moved to Llano in 1920 where he stayed until the early 1930's. He received an offer from the A. W. Brill Company in Austin and left his position in Llano as Mayor. There is an Austin American newspaper article written in 1959 on his life and leather career. I was there with him on occasions during his retirement. He had a home office located in his garage located at 1903 W. Lamar located on a hill across from Pease Park and Waller Creek (Austin). I watched him make his holsters and belts. I had one of his holsters and belts as a child. I can identify for the most part his designs. I have much of his home workshop including tools, stitching horse, granite block, a (cc: 1890) Sessions Wall Clock from Parry Buggies, carriage toting box for belts, early photographs including one of his pre-1915 "parade" saddles, 1961 obituary, 1959 PR newspaper article, photos of a Zwiener and Rabensburg restored buggy in the Hidalgo Museum in south Texas, his writing desk and spool draw, early 20th Century wall art painted on leather. I have photographs of him as a young man and in retirement. Newton died of a stroke at the age of 73 or thereabouts He is buried with his wife, Lillian Edna Speckels in Austin. Together, they had three sons and two grandchildren.
G'day to you, (Aubrey) Neale Rabensburg. I've been looking to reach you for about two years now, because your grandfather claims to have actually invented the Brill holster. He died, not of a stroke, but of acute pneumonitis, a rare disease that took him quickly:

Brill Holster-rabensburg-sr-death-1961-2-jpg

I will send you a PM and hope to hear back from you. A group of us are building a coffee table book about 20th century gunleather and the Brill, and your grandfather, figure prominently in it.
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Old 05-19-2018, 09:41 PM
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WOW, welcome Mr. A. Neale Rabensburg to the S&W forum! It is fantastic to have you here. We are lovers of everything holsters around here. We also appreciate and crave the history associated with them. I know we would love to see pictures, of any and all, of the items you mentioned in your post above. Please post them in this thread when you get a chance. Thank you very much for your contributions here.
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Old 05-24-2018, 02:31 AM
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I am A. Neale Rabensburg, grandson of Newton Joseph Rabensburg. Newton was born in 1889 in Wilson County, Texas and raised in Fayette County, Texas following the 1890 death of his father, Henry B. Rabensburg, a saddler in Wilson and adjacent counties. There is presently an active exhibit on N. J. Rabensburg in La Grange, Texas at the Fayette Heritage Museum and Archives. Mr. Rabensburg was in business in La Grange from 1915 to 1920. His store located on the town square was Zwiener and Rabensburg. He and his family moved to Llano in 1920 where he stayed until the early 1930's. He received an offer from the A. W. Brill Company in Austin and left his position in Llano as Mayor. There is an Austin American newspaper article written in 1959 on his life and leather career. I was there with him on occasions during his retirement. He had a home office located in his garage located at 1903 W. Lamar located on a hill across from Pease Park and Waller Creek (Austin). I watched him make his holsters and belts. I had one of his holsters and belts as a child. I can identify for the most part his designs. I have much of his home workshop including tools, stitching horse, granite block, a (cc: 1890) Sessions Wall Clock from Parry Buggies, carriage toting box for belts, early photographs including one of his pre-1915 "parade" saddles, 1961 obituary, 1959 PR newspaper article, photos of a Zwiener and Rabensburg restored buggy in the Hidalgo Museum in south Texas, his writing desk and spool draw, early 20th Century wall art painted on leather. I have photographs of him as a young man and in retirement. Newton died of a stroke at the age of 73 or thereabouts He is buried with his wife, Lillian Edna Speckels in Austin. Together, they had three sons and two grandchildren.
I grew up unaware of the “Brill” design. This is a new subject for me. I knew my grandfather was popular because I continued to get a few forwarded requests for holster orders from as far away as Detroit, Michigan for several years following his death. The Brill name was also a familiar subject including the store location on 6th Street in downtown Austin. Arno Brill III, who was a guest of mine in La Grange, Texas several years ago, was unaware of N. J. Rabensburg and his connection with the A. W. Brill Company. This caught me off-guard since my grandfather supposedly had a strong connection with the Brill company and a probable ownership position. However, Brill III denied any such connection with Rabensburg. The Brill Company website also makes no mention of N. J. Rabensburg and yet displays his holsters as their own. I believe I can readily identify my grandfather’s designs, and many on the Brill website are his work. I have in my possession the A. W. Bill Company leather stamp used on probably many of these same holsters.
I did, however, meet from Mrs. Arno Inks Brill at my grandmother Rabensburg’s home on W. 29th in Austin during the late 1960’s. She had decided to return my grandfather’s writing/spool draw desk, which had been given to her by my grandmother following my grandfather’s death. I gladly accepted the gift. I did see the same Mrs. Brill along with her daughter Nellie (Idanell) Connally during the mid-1980’s in Houston at a local country club. My parents and I were waiting in the Lobby for our car from valet parking. The meeting with Mrs. Brill, Mrs. Connally and my father was a happy reunion.
My grandfather, Newton Joseph Rabensburg, was born in Floresville, Wilson County but raised in Fayette County in the Ellinger area. His mother was Wilhelmina Ehlinger married first to Henry B. Rabensburg, a saddler, born in Bastrop, Texas and, second, to Charles Girndt, who would later become Fayette County Sheriff. The year 1907 appears to be pivotal because Newton departs the Ellinger area and moves to La Grange, the county seat of Fayette County. As a young adult of 18 years, he starts his saddlery career with La Grange Saddlery located on the southwest corner of the town square. I now understand that in 1907 N. J. Rabensburg contacts August Brill, who is a clerk with the W. T. Wroe Saddlery in Austin and submits a design for what became known as the “Brill”, which was approved by Captain Hughes and adopted by the Texas Rangers during the years 1913 to 1955.
Newton’s Ehlinger family are prominent citizens of Fayette County. The town of Ellinger (Anglicized) was named in honor of his grandfather. His uncles were lawyers, judges and the County Clerk and founders of the local Catholic churches. His grandfather was a veteran of the 1836 Battle of San Jacinto, which gave independence to Texas from Mexico and caused the acquisition of the western United States into the Union (the mountain states, California and the upper west coast). N. J. Rabensburg’s wife, Lillian Edna Speckels, was also from prominent family stock. Her father was a local merchant, an architect, Mayor of La Grange, founder of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Chief of the LG Fire Department and President of the State Firemen’s Association. Her von Rosenberg family are considered by some historians to be one of the most important Prussian families of central Texas.
N. J. Rabensburg left La Grange in 1909 for Dallas where he worked for an unknown period of time. His tenure in Price, Utah was perhaps longer. Newton may have also traveled to New Mexico and Montana according to some accounts. He returned to La Grange, Texas in 1915 and purchased a partnership position in an existing saddlery, which was renamed Zwiener and Rabensburg and located in two stores on the northside of the town square. He married that same year to Lillian Speckels in St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. Lillian was a strong Lutheran.
N. J. Rabensburg and his young family moved in 1920 to Llano, Texas and started a saddlery business in that community. I do not have his business history in Llano at this time but do know that he was involved as a town alderman and for a brief time as Mayor. Mayor Inks of Llano handed him the keys. The Inks family name appears in Llano and with Mrs. Arno Inks Brill in Austin.
I was not aware that N. J. Rabensburg moved twice to Austin during the early 1930’s. Perhaps the first time was to test the situation and leave his family behind. In Austin, the Rabensburg family lived on the top of a steep hill west of downtown on 6th or 7th Streets. In the late 1930’s, Newton and Lillian built a new home located on Shoal Creek Boulevard on the side of hill across from Pease Park. Prior to World War II, a four lane N. Lamar Boulevard cut through and shaved off part of their hill and their address changed to 1903 N. Lamar.
During the early 1950’s, N. J. Rabensburg was working out of his home store located in his two-car garage. He may have continued to sell products for the A. W. Brill Company but not at the downtown 6th Street business location. In 1959, the Austin American newspaper wrote an article with photograph about his leather career. That article notes his connection with the Brill Company.
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Old 05-24-2018, 05:47 AM
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I grew up unaware of the “Brill” design. This is a new subject for me. I knew my grandfather was popular because I continued to get a few forwarded requests for holster orders from as far away as Detroit, Michigan for several years following his death. The Brill name was also a familiar subject including the store location on 6th Street in downtown Austin. Arno Brill III, who was a guest of mine in La Grange, Texas several years ago, was unaware of N. J. Rabensburg and his connection with the A. W. Brill Company. This caught me off-guard since my grandfather supposedly had a strong connection with the Brill company and a probable ownership position. However, Brill III denied any such connection with Rabensburg. The Brill Company website also makes no mention of N. J. Rabensburg and yet displays his holsters as their own. I believe I can readily identify my grandfather’s designs, and many on the Brill website are his work. I have in my possession the A. W. Bill Company leather stamp used on probably many of these same holsters.
I did, however, meet from Mrs. Arno Inks Brill at my grandmother Rabensburg’s home on W. 29th in Austin during the late 1960’s. She had decided to return my grandfather’s writing/spool draw desk, which had been given to her by my grandmother following my grandfather’s death. I gladly accepted the gift. I did see the same Mrs. Brill along with her daughter Nellie (Idanell) Connally during the mid-1980’s in Houston at a local country club. My parents and I were waiting in the Lobby for our car from valet parking. The meeting with Mrs. Brill, Mrs. Connally and my father was a happy reunion.
My grandfather, Newton Joseph Rabensburg, was born in Floresville, Wilson County but raised in Fayette County in the Ellinger area. His mother was Wilhelmina Ehlinger married first to Henry B. Rabensburg, a saddler, born in Bastrop, Texas and, second, to Charles Girndt, who would later become Fayette County Sheriff. The year 1907 appears to be pivotal because Newton departs the Ellinger area and moves to La Grange, the county seat of Fayette County. As a young adult of 18 years, he starts his saddlery career with La Grange Saddlery located on the southwest corner of the town square. I now understand that in 1907 N. J. Rabensburg contacts August Brill, who is a clerk with the W. T. Wroe Saddlery in Austin and submits a design for what became known as the “Brill”, which was approved by Captain Hughes and adopted by the Texas Rangers during the years 1913 to 1955.
My good friend crazyphil aka lucky-b let me know about your latest post, Neale. A large amount of information has been gathered about your grandfather's contribution to the creation of the Brill holster and I'm happy to share any and all of it with you if you have an interest. Some of the information you've recited is supported by this evidence, and some of it is contradicted; and we can help each other by sorting it all out for 'holstory' (holster history). Options would be to reach out via the PM (private message) system; or simply keep posting. You should be especially interested in an article written in 2008 by a chap, still living the last time I checked, named Stan Nelson who met your grandfather around 1955 at which time Rabensburg (the name he gave) outlined to Nelson how he came to invent the Brill (didn't call it that but made a pair of them for Nelson) for Capt. Hughes. Here is one of them, and you will surely recognise it:

Brill Holster-nelson-rabensburg-8-jpg
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Old 05-24-2018, 09:59 PM
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My good friend crazyphil aka lucky-b let me know about your latest post, Neale. A large amount of information has been gathered about your grandfather's contribution to the creation of the Brill holster and I'm happy to share any and all of it with you if you have an interest. Some of the information you've recited is supported by this evidence, and some of it is contradicted; and we can help each other by sorting it all out for 'holstory' (holster history). Options would be to reach out via the PM (private message) system; or simply keep posting. You should be especially interested in an article written in 2008 by a chap, still living the last time I checked, named Stan Nelson who met your grandfather around 1955 at which time Rabensburg (the name he gave) outlined to Nelson how he came to invent the Brill (didn't call it that but made a pair of them for Nelson) for Capt. Hughes. Here is one of them, and you will surely recognise it:

Attachment 341585
I do have the Stan Nelson article titled "Some Thoughts on Gun Leather". It was retrieved recently and has been posted in part within the Zwiener and Rabensburg exhibit in La Grange, Texas located 60 miles southeast of Austin. A newspaper article in the Fayette County Record will be published tomorrow on the exhibit. I will try to forward photos from the same. The exhibit, however, has been open for viewing for about 30 days. It continues to evolve as new information such as the "Brill" comes to light.

What I have stated so far are my own personal recollections of my grandfather during the 1950s and from newspaper accounts in Fayette and Travis Counties plus some census data. We (the archivists and myself) are attempting a timeline of N. J. Rabensburg's early leather making career. From what I have read recently, it appears that the "Brill" design was presented in 1907 and adopted for use by the Texas Rangers in 1913. From a newspaper account, N. J. Rabensburg had been working in La Grange at the La Grange Saddlery when he departs for Dallas in 1909. Census data for 1920 has him living in a boarding house in 1920 in Dallas. It is known that he was also in Price, Utah immediately prior to returning to La Grange in 1915. We have a photo of him with a saddle in Price and newspaper account(s) of his LG return, partnership purchase and marriage in 1915. I will ask the archivist if we have any evidence of N. J. Rabensburg in La Grange in 1907, the year of the "Brill". I thought we did.
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Old 05-25-2018, 04:07 AM
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I grew up unaware of the “Brill” design. This is a new subject for me. I knew my grandfather was popular because I continued to get a few forwarded requests for holster orders from as far away as Detroit, Michigan for several years following his death. The Brill name was also a familiar subject including the store location on 6th Street in downtown Austin. Arno Brill III, who was a guest of mine in La Grange, Texas several years ago, was unaware of N. J. Rabensburg and his connection with the A. W. Brill Company. This caught me off-guard since my grandfather supposedly had a strong connection with the Brill company and a probable ownership position. However, Brill III denied any such connection with Rabensburg.
This man surely was not a "Brill III" but A.W. Brill Jr.'s (he also was not a III though the family engraved his headstone that way), brother Bob who died only recently.

There is plenty of evidence including the 1959 article you mentioned that N.J. took over the Brills' saddlery operations. There is also Rabensburg ad of 1937 in which he clearly states he is 'successor to A.W. Brill'. And then there's his address: in 1932 his appearance in the Austin directory is at 302 E. 6th, which was Brill's.

And the prior mayor of Llano was Arno's brother in law; I'd say the two families never lost touch over the years. And the Brills had something far better to do than make holsters: they had created Brillville, which opened in 1948 after the War was over.

I'll admit that from Nelson's article I was assuming (it seems now, incorrectly) that your grandfather was in Austin because Capt. Hughes was stationed there (dismounted). Nelson's chronicling is quite literal elsewhere and in this case he neither says nor implies that N.J. was in Austin; La Grange being their meeting place is quite plausible. Hughes was all over Texas and La Grange is very close to Austin anyway.

The most likely way, then, that your grandfather's new design got to August Brill -- who was not a saddler, by the way, he merely worked for one -- was by Hughes taking the design to W.T. Wroe & Sons in Austin. Both Wroe and Capt. McNelly (d. 1877) were in the 5th Texas Cavalry together during the Civil War (Confederate) and Wroe married McNelly's widow Carey in 1908. It would have been a natural for a senior Ranger to consider Wroe -- and that's just where Brill was working at that time. There were a dozen known makers of Brill copies scattered only in Texas, in about a 200 mile radius around Austin; perhaps Hughes played 'Johnny Appleseed' with the new design (which we speculate was actually developed from King Ranch's earlier, bulkier version) on behalf of his men.

August did not take over Wroe's saddlery company as suggested by the Vintagegunleather site. Wroe continued operations under that name until he retired in 1915; he was a carriage dealer and then a car dealer during that era. At retirement his son changed the name of the operation to W.T. Wroe and Son (not Sons). August's operation appeared for the first time, as you know, in the 1912/13 city directory that was issued after November 1912.
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Old 05-26-2018, 10:35 PM
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My good friend crazyphil aka lucky-b let me know about your latest post, Neale. A large amount of information has been gathered about your grandfather's contribution to the creation of the Brill holster and I'm happy to share any and all of it with you if you have an interest. Some of the information you've recited is supported by this evidence, and some of it is contradicted; and we can help each other by sorting it all out for 'holstory' (holster history). Options would be to reach out via the PM (private message) system; or simply keep posting. You should be especially interested in an article written in 2008 by a chap, still living the last time I checked, named Stan Nelson who met your grandfather around 1955 at which time Rabensburg (the name he gave) outlined to Nelson how he came to invent the Brill (didn't call it that but made a pair of them for Nelson) for Capt. Hughes. Here is one of them, and you will surely recognise it:

Attachment 341585
My recollection is probably not as good as it was just a few years ago, but I thought the Arno Brill, who stayed at my B&B introduced several years ago introduced himself as the 3rd. He would be a grandson of Arno Brill, who was a contemporary of my grandfather. I assume his father was a Junior. I have had no contact with him since, but I am trying to acquire more information so that I can send it to him to convince him of the existence of my grandfather with the A. W. Brill Company. As I said earlier, my grandfather had the A. W. Brill stamp in his collection of tools, and there is the 1959 Austin American article and the advertisement you mentioned. Rabensburg could not be espousing his ownership position in the company and keep the Brill family as close friends and associates if his statements were not indeed true.

There is an article in the LaGrange Journal newspaper that says the following: The La Grange Journal, December 2, 1909

Newton Rabensburg, for the past several years in the employ of the LaGrange Saddlery Company, left Sunday night for Dallas to enter the employ of a wholesale saddlery house. May good luck be yours, young man.

When I was in school, "few" meant about 2 years and several was about 3 years or more but probably not greater that 5 or thereabouts. If several was a true statement in the article, then N. J. Rabensburg as a 15/16 year-old was working in LaGrange at LaGrange Saddlery (1906 lets say). However, the archivist at the Fayette Heritage Museum and Archives in La Grange and myself believe it is also possible for Rabensburg to have made contacts in Austin and was acting as a wholesale supplier representing his LaGrange business. W. T. Wroe may have been one of the recipients of his wares. My God!, he is so young to be doing all of this and have the respect of much older adults. He had to be some sort of genius in his leather trade and wanted to further his career with travel and exposure. He did not let obstacles stand in his way. The aforementioned sounds very plausible since he went to Dallas as a 19 year-old in the wholesale saddlery business.
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Old 05-27-2018, 11:16 PM
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Your grandfather, N.J. Rabensburg, was born in August of 1889; so in 1909 when he left La Grange for Dallas he was as old as 20 (depending on the month). That saddlery in La Grange is the saddlery that he returned to buy from his new uncle-in-law, Louis Walter, after marrying in 1915.

There don't appear, at least from the sources that I can locate including Findagrave, to be more than two men named Arno William Brill. In that case, the first is 'Sr.' and the his son is named is 'Jr.'. To have an Arno William Brill III, there would need to be a third man and he would have to be the son of Jr.

Nevertheless we know from newspaper clippings and the gravestones, that August Brill was known locally (Austin) as Sr., Arno as Jr., and his son Arno was known as 3rd. I will speculate that was simply to help the locals differentiate amongst the three A.W. Brills not least because it was the name on the building :-).

August had three sons and by all three he had grandchildren. The only grandchildren of August (children of Arno) Brill who lived until recently, were Idanell Connally nee Brill (2006) and her brother Bob (2016). We have to take Idanell off the list because her children weren't born Brills. That leaves Bill, and Bob. On closer examination I see that Bill Brill had a son he named Arno William Brill II. Could that "II" (who is not, genealogically) born 1948 have borne a "III"? Could have, but -- he would not actually be a III, and if he was the chap you met, then he was very young. Was he?

So, perhaps, there are now two tall tales that this man you met, told you: that he was Arno Brill III (who doesn't appear to have ever existed); and that your grandfather didn't succeed the A.W. Brill company (which we all know he did). This is just one piece of the evidence, from 1937:

Brill Holster-27-jun-1937-austin-american-jpg if it's too small to view, simply close its browser window and it will reappear, larger
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Old 05-28-2018, 01:29 PM
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Your grandfather, N.J. Rabensburg, was born in August of 1889; so in 1909 when he left La Grange for Dallas he was as old as 20 (depending on the month). That saddlery in La Grange is the saddlery that he returned to buy from his new uncle-in-law, Louis Walter, after marrying in 1915.

There don't appear, at least from the sources that I can locate including Findagrave, to be more than two men named Arno William Brill. In that case, the first is 'Sr.' and the his son is named is 'Jr.'. To have an Arno William Brill III, there would need to be a third man and he would have to be the son of Jr.

Nevertheless we know from newspaper clippings and the gravestones, that August Brill was known locally (Austin) as Sr., Arno as Jr., and his son Arno was known as 3rd. I will speculate that was simply to help the locals differentiate amongst the three A.W. Brills not least because it was the name on the building :-).

August had three sons and by all three he had grandchildren. The only grandchildren of August (children of Arno) Brill who lived until recently, were Idanell Connally nee Brill (2006) and her brother Bob (2016). We have to take Idanell off the list because her children weren't born Brills. That leaves Bill, and Bob. On closer examination I see that Bill Brill had a son he named Arno William Brill II. Could that "II" (who is not, genealogically) born 1948 have borne a "III"? Could have, but -- he would not actually be a III, and if he was the chap you met, then he was very young. Was he?

So, perhaps, there are now two tall tales that this man you met, told you: that he was Arno Brill III (who doesn't appear to have ever existed); and that your grandfather didn't succeed the A.W. Brill company (which we all know he did). This is just one piece of the evidence, from 1937:

Attachment 342055 if it's too small to view, simply close its browser window and it will reappear, larger
Yes, I am confused with the Brill descendants. The Brill I met was closer to my age perhaps a little younger. John Connally, Jr., Idanell's son, was exactly the same age as me (June 7, 1946). We had a class together at the University of Texas at Austin when his father was Governor. We did not meet at this time but would walk near each other on our way down the South Mall after class. He had security with him. Years later in Houston, he was my client in a real estate transaction. I assumed the Arno Brill at my B & B was John, Jr.'s first cousin.

Louis Walter and his wife, Meta Speckels, raised Lillian Edna Speckels, Rabensburg's wife to be. She was very important to them, and I rightly thought made the introductions. I also thought that in about 1907 Rabensburg apprenticed with the Walter company. It seemed logical. I have learned recently, however, Rabensburg worked for Louis Walter's competitor, LaGrange Saddlery, located on the opposite side of the town square starting about 1906 or thereabouts.

Newton and Lillian met but perhaps a little differently. Rabensburg purchased in March 1915 a partnership position in the saddlery of Speckels and Zwiener, which had formerly been the Louis Walter establishment. The Speckel's partnership, I believe, was from Rudolph Speckels and a 1st cousin to Lillian. I need to get the timeline straight on this, but I think Zwiener and Rabensburg purchased the inventory from LaGrange Saddlery when it ceased operations.
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Old 05-28-2018, 05:50 PM
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So, the pieces come together this way: you're a 1946 boy, the Arno you met was about your age, and Bill Brill's son named Arno was born in '48. My 'new theory', then, is that because there was an Arno William Brill (Sr.), who was August's son; and Arno had a son with the same name (so Jr.); the chap you met thinks of himself as the third Arno William Brill and so calls himself III. His birth certificate calls him II, which would be incorrect because there is no "II"; instead these men are called "Jr.".

All good fun :-)
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Old 05-28-2018, 07:02 PM
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So, the pieces come together this way: you're a 1946 boy, the Arno you met was about your age, and Bill Brill's son named Arno was born in '48. My 'new theory', then, is that because there was an Arno William Brill (Sr.), who was August's son; and Arno had a son with the same name (so Jr.); the chap you met thinks of himself as the third Arno William Brill and so calls himself III. His birth certificate calls him II, which would be incorrect because there is no "II"; instead these men are called "Jr.".

All good fun :-)
I did find a reference to Arno William Brill, who lives in the Houston area (Friendswood) and is an engineer associated with the Exxon Corporation. He is in his 70's according to that business reference, which might make him about my age or older. Like you, I cannot find an Arno W. Brill III living, who is connected with the August W. Brill descendant line.

On another note, I sent an email the other day to Texas historian Mike Cox. He says that he has an August Brill designed holster. I introduced myself and told him of my grandfather's connection to the A. W. Brill Company in Austin. He plans to send me a photo copy of the holster when he returns in June to the US. He is presently out of the country. Have you seen August Brill holsters or other leather products?

Below is a copy of a note sent a decade or more ago to a Floresville historian. I had been there on a trip to look for information relative to Henry B. Rabensburg, a saddler and harness maker. He was the father of Newton Joseph Rabensburg and was killed there in 1890.

HENRY B. RABENSBURG An Early Citizen of Floresville, Texas

The following information was transmitted to Shirley Grammer by Neale Rabensburg:

Henry B. Rabensburg was born in Bastrop, Bastrop County in 1864 and would have been 26 years old at the time of his death. He was married in 1886 in Fayette County to Wilhelmina Ehlinger. Three children were born to this marriage. The first two died as infants. The third, Newton Joseph Rabensburg, was born August 22, 1889 in Floresville. Henry moved to Floresville and set himself up in the leather and harness making business. He purchased two Floresville town tracts in 1886 with one of these fronting on the west side of the town square where it is assumed that he placed his business. Henry purchased three more land tracts in 1888 with one of these being another plot on the town square adjacent to his shop.

In a Floresville business publication, Henry B. Rabensburg was listed among the leaders of the Floresville community for the years 1890-91. However, Henry was not able to see the year 1891 since he was killed on November 26, 1890. Abruptly in the spring of 1890, Henry and his wife began to sell off their property in Floresville and indicated their new address on one of the deeds as Bexar County. By October 7, 1890, Henry had sold all six tracts of land in Floresville. The following month he would be dead, but apparently killed in Wilson County and not, Bexar County. The Bastrop Advertiser, November 29, 1890, made note of Henry Rabensburg’s death as follows:


Henry Rabensburg Killed by a Boy

“Telegrams from Floresville state that Henry B. Rabensburg, brother of Ed and George Rabensburg of Bastrop, was killed at Newton Brother’s ranch, near Brockenridge, Wednesday evening, by Tom Cooper, a 17-year-old boy. Our account says that “Young Cooper” had accidentally poured hot water on Rabensburg’s head while they were cleaning hogs and Rabensburg threatened to kill Cooper with a knife, that he ran Cooper away from the house with a Winchester rifle. Cooper ventured back and Rabensburg again started for his gun, when Cooper picked up a shot gun and shot him down. Cooper went to Floresville and surrendered to the sheriff.” Another account says: “Cooper and Rabensburg engaged in a dispute Tuesday evening over the value of a saddle. Rabensburg became infuriated and would have killed Cooper with a butcher knife but for the interference of friends. Cooper then left the house, but Rabensburg swore he would kill the boy on sight. Wednesday evening about 4 o’clock, Cooper returned, and the row was resumed, resulting in the shooting and instant killing of Rabensburg. Cooper immediately went to Floresville and surrendered to sheriff Seale of the county. Cooper is about sixteen years old, and eye witnesses say he was perfectly justifiable.” The dispatch says that “there is a case pending in the district court in San Antonio, against Henry, for the killing of Dr. Fonts a year ago and another against him in Karnes County for assault with intent to kill Dr. Layton several months ago.”

Note: Neale Rabensburg is researching his family history and is trying to find the grave of his ancestor Henry Rabensburg. He has been communicating with Shirley Grammer, and she is requesting help in attempting to locate his grave site or any additional information regarding the family. Should anybody have any information regarding the Rabensburg family or the location of the Newton Brother’s Ranch in Wilson County, please share it with Shirley Grammer 830.947.3176 1/03

The article was circulated on the internet for many years with no response. The Rabensburg men, according to a cousin of mine in Bastrop, harbor a temper. Murder and threatening to kill are perhaps carrying temper tantrums to the extreme, and I think (and I hope) these temper problems are waning over the generations. N. J. Rabensburg was a disciplinarian and an artist with ironically a keen sense of shrewdness for business and marketing. He had no patience with children, me being one. My father held respect for his Dad but they shared little affection. There was a reason.
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Old 05-28-2018, 10:34 PM
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Neale, you and I are really on a parallel road with forum members who have an interest in Brills. But, inspired by one of your queries, this will be of interest to all.

I may not have these in order but the captions will sort that out. Only the final image is mine; the rest belong to others:

Brill Holster-ricky-brill-1-jpg This is an 'early' Brill; it has only one welt in the seam, the cuff is hand stitched on one end and by machine on the other, the stitching on the front side ends with a single stitch at right angles to the main. That main welt line is quite straight, too; on all revolvers and the autos.

Brill Holster-ricky-brill-3-jpg This is a 'late' Brill; it has two and even three welts in the seam, the cuff is hand stitched at both ends, the stitching on the front side has one more return stitch that parallels the main. The bulge in the welt line is quite pronounced. Made by N.J.

Brill Holster-unmarked-early-brill-1-jpg This unmarked version, is considered the very earliest of the brill-style. Its carving type is very, very similar to the one attributed to Butch Cassidy (d. 1908). The Mexican carving of 'late' Brills by N.J. is very different.

Brill Holster-nelson-rabensburg-6-jpg This is a known Rabensburg. The image is from Stan Nelson and is one of the two holsters made for him by N.J. in Austin circa 1955. From these two holsters, was derived the 'late' and 'early' formula.

Brill Holster-nichols-sessums-1-jpg This is a Sessums. The image is mine and is of a holster I bought here in Oz that was discovered in a storage shed that hadn't paid its rent (well, the owner of the goods hadn't). Sessum are also considered collectibles and are less common than Brills. For my money, after I had a 'late' Brill, I'd want a King Ranch version, too.

There were a dozen Texas makers of the Brill style who marked their names on their holsters circa 1910-1920. Rabensburg outlived them all. All were within a 200 mile radius (it's quite exact) of Austin except S.D. Myres; which 'fits' if my Johnny Appleseed theory (Hughes) is correct because Sam Myres did not enter the holster biz until the 1930s.

There are also brill-style holsters that are neither marked, nor obviously constructed by any of the 'name' makers.

It must mean 'something', that I have NO Mexican carved 'early' Brill-marked holsters in my image files, except the one attributed to Cassidy. The carved ones otherwise are always Rabensburgs. Also, there appears to be no such thing, as a plain Brill-marked holster.
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Old 05-29-2018, 05:06 PM
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The other known players; will take three posts because there are more than 10 :-)

A.W. Brill (plenty of pics in this thread already)

Brill Holster-11-frank-beaumont-1-jpg Frank, in Beaumont

Brill Holster-1-huber-lubbock-1-jpg Huber, in Lubbock

Brill Holster-14-king-ranch-1-jpg King Ranch, in Kingsville

Brill Holster-3-lutz-bastrop-1-jpg Lutz, in Bastrop

Brill Holster-4-martin-del-rio-1-jpg Martin, in Del Rio
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Old 05-29-2018, 05:14 PM
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Brill Holster-10-moores-henderson-jpg Moores, in Henderson

Brill Holster-5-myres-el-paso-1-jpg Myres, in El Paso (this is turnerriver's)

Rabensburg, in Llano (identical to a 'late' Brill but always unmarked)

Brill Holster-6-rogers-stamford-1-jpg C.L. Rogers, in Stamford (there are four known makers named Rogers in holstory)

Sessums, in Longview (already pictured; employed one of the other (actually, two) Rogers)

Brill Holster-7-voss-orange-1-jpg Voss, in Orange

Brill Holster-8-wade-rosenberg-1-jpg Wade, in Rosenberg
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Old 05-29-2018, 05:16 PM
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"The Map"

Brill Holster-aw-brill-his-clones-jpg
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