About Walton & Taylor

Walton & Taylor Mercantile was established in 2005 to fill the crying need for serious dead-on reproductions of 19th century men's civilian clothing. The proprietors of Walton & Taylor were, and still are, engaged in the reproduction of stitch-count accurate military clothing for military museums, film projects, and living history groups. A few years back, they were approached by a group of their military customers who were also involved in cowboy action shooting. These men were disatisfied with the pseudo-authentic 1917 style "Tom Mix" cowboy wear being peddled as authentic "Old West" clothing and wanted us to manufacture an alternative. Unfortunately, our market research indicated that there wasn't enough demand for truly authentic reproductions of the clothing actually worn by the old time trail driving cowboys and frontiersmen. We were forced to say, "Thanks, but no thanks."

Well, times change. In the intervening years, the new and interrelated hobbies of historical frontier reenacting, historic site living history events, and frontier town roleplaying events have emerged. All these pursuits require clothing of a much higher level of authenticity than has been available heretofore. These new developments combined with the constant begging (bordering on harassment) of our growing number of cowboy action friends, has convinced us that the time is right to reintroduce the clothing of the Centennial Decade of 1866-1876.

Murry Walton, Texas rancher, taken about 1867 at age 37, models a black sack coat, bottle green vest, gray trousers, and pleat front square shirt. Fashion accessories include the fast handling Colt Navy and the mammoth 3rd Model Colt Dragoon.In addition to ranching activities, he was an ex-Confederate cavalryman, a life long gambler, and two-gun pistolero. The list of aliases is long.
Click photo for clothing details.

Walton & Taylor FAQ

What makes Walton & Taylor clothing better than the other "authentic cowboy clothes" on the market?

Other makers of alleged "cowboy clothing" seem to be producing copies of Hollywood film costumes from the Tom Mix silent film days at Selig Pictures about 1917. Nobody in real Old West photographs (pre-1900) is wearing anything remotely like that. The clothes we make here in the United States are precise reproductions of the same clothes described in first-hand accounts and seen in the photographs and artwork of the time. Before, you had to go to your frontier event dressed like an extra from a silent movie (Wahhhh!). Now, you can wear our stuff and you'll look like you stepped out of an old tin-type from Hickok's Abilene.

But all the other manufacturers say they are "authentic", too. Are you calling them liars?

Were not calling anyone a "liar," we're saying look at period photos and then think who you're going to believe; those claims of authenticity or your own eyes? Look at the period photos and the reconstructions we have here on our site. Put our stuff up against their stuff and compare with the original photos in your Old West picture books. No contest. As a certain Hollywood gunfighter used to say, "No brag...Just fact!"

How can you claim to make clothes the way they did it then? Isn't that a lost art? How do you even know for sure what people's clothes looked like back then?

Actually, there's no secret to it. We have in our possession copies of a number of tailoring guides of the period 1853–1895 that we use when patterning and grading our garments. There were also quarterly fashion magazines and trade periodicals that specified all the latest changes to the cut of mens clothing and we have copies of those. We also have original 1870's clothing (coats, shirts, trousers, etc.) in our reference collection (yes, some still exists!). Having these resources allows us to make sure our construction techniques are the same as those used in the original mid-19th century garments. Lastly, don't forget that photography was invented in 1827 and there are millions of images in existence from the Victorian Age. Quite a few depict cowboys, desperados, lawmen, and gamblers, both in the studio and on the job. Believe it or not, photographs are pretty reliable documents.

If it's so easy, why aren't other companies making authentic frontier clothing?

I didn't say it was easy, I said there was no secret to it. Not quite the same thing. For whatever reason, we seem to be the only company making mid-Victorian-era clothing from the original patterns and period grading systems. Our products have the correct Victorian Era cut with the characteristic shaped sleeves, small high armholes, and correct period fit. We use fabrics that are as close as possible to those used in the original garments in our reference collection and for many items that means sturdy wool construction (original period trade sales fliers quote suit fabric weights over 20 ozs!!), not flimsy modern "wool blend" suiting. Hand-bound buttonholes and genuine horn buttons on trousers and sack suits are just some of the small details that make our clothing the most authentic on the market.You won't find that level of detail anywhere else for any price.

Why the initial focus on the Centennial Decade?

We had to start somewhere. Men's fashion changed more rapidly in the 1800's than it does today, so we had to narrow the focus to a ten year period (with maybe a five-year slop on either side). Some changes were obvious and others were more subtle, but contrary to what the hawkers of black cotton twill (?!!) frock coats claim, you can't wear the same item of clothing to cover the time span between 1840 and 1910. So we picked the centennial decade of 1866 to 1876 as our focus, because that was the time of peak action on the frontier.

What could have possibly happened in 1866 – 1876 that could ever be more important than the OK Corral fight?

The list is too long to cover it all, but contray to popular myth, the Earp brothers (often called "The Fighting Pimps") were relatively minor players in the overall panorama of the Old West. This time period had a rich assortment of heroes and characters. Follow this link for a Centennial Decade timeline.

Will any of these clothes work for time periods outside 1866 – 1876?

Some items are correct for as much as a two-decade stretch, if you can overlook some little details like pockets and such. Each item we sell (and some we don't sell) will have a full explanation for you here on the website about its appropriate time, place, and usage. Probably more than you want to know.Be sure to check the Resource Page for more information on clothing and how it was worn.

I don't care about cowboy clothes; I'm looking for the Victorian clothing. Where is it?

Switch the boots for lace ups, trade the Stetson for a bowler, unstrap the Colt and slip an Adams bulldog into your coat pocket and you're ready to take a stroll along the strand. In fact, there were probably as many derby hats being worn in Dallas in 1875 as there were BOP's.

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