Friday, October 7, 2016

Active at the time and in the region. Frank A. Meanea

Frank A. Meanea is one of the most famous of the late 19th and early 20th Century saddlemakers. 

Meanea started off his career by working with his uncle, the also famous (in this topic) saddlemaker E. L. Gallatin.  They located in Cheyenne in the very late 1860s, a period in which Cheyenne was in its infancy.  In 1881 Meanea had become sufficiently well known as a maker that the company began to make leather items under Meanea's name as F. A. Meanea Saddlery.  It would continue to operate under that name until 1928, Meanea's death.  It would retain its Cheyenne base that entire time, although oddly enough there was a period of time in which it had a presence in the Yukon, reflecting that Canadian Territory's pioneering days.

Meanea's is very famous for the Cheyenne style of Western stock saddle, some features of which we still see today. The Cheyenne Roll was a Meanea innovation.  His shop was also associated with a type of Mexican Loop holster and it was Meanea who introduced the Cheyenne Plug (closed bottom) to that type of very widely used Frontier Era holster.

Meanea's shop was substantial, employing over 20 people at the height of its production  He operated not only by direct sales, but by mail order, something that was fairly common at the time.

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