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Thread: sporrans

  1. #1
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    sporrans

    I do living history programs on the mid to late Victorian era. I dress in the appropriate period attire. I have recently been re-discovering my Scottish roots and would like to add a few Scottish looks to my repertoire. I have a wealth of vintage photos from which to draw but I am having trouble with one item, the sporran. I do have antiques but prefer not to wear them for certain occasions. I bought a new horse hair sporran that looks good but as with all new ones they look like a broom at the bottom, a barber's razor and thinning shears helped a lot and it now looks more vintage but, The hair is coarser than the vintage ones and wants to fly away and fluff up a little. (Still too much body) Can the hair be conditioned or worked with to make it lay flatter and look a little more broken in?

    I am also always looking for vintage sporrans military and civilian.

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    I was recommended to use "Cowboy Magic" which is for manes and tails, and I was very pleased with it. If you search for it online, its site will help you to search for a dealer near you. As it turned out, my dealer was just across the parking lot from my church.
    Rev'd Father Bill White: Retired Parish Priest & Elementary Headmaster, lover of God, people (most of them!) dogs, joy, humour & clarity. Legion Padre, theologian, teacher, philosopher, linguist, dreamer, traditionalist, bon-vivant, encourager of hearts & souls & a firm believer in dignity, decency, & duty. A proud Sinclair.

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    eBay...

    There are always a number of vintage military sporrans available on eBay.

    SM
    Shaun Maxwell
    Vice President & Texas Commissioner
    Clan Maxwell Society

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    thanks

    Shaun,
    Thank you, I do keep an eye on ebay but sadly I find myself often bidding against friends. We have to let each other know when we are interested so we don't bid each other up. I have heard that sometimes the British Military decommissions used sporrans and other items and they go up for sale to the public. Unfortunately I have not been able to find an in to this information. I also thought there might be folks here who might be interested in selling any old sporrans. I appreciate your help

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    What you bring up is an interesting and inexplicable change in fashion (well, just about all changes in fashion are inexplicable!)

    In the Victorian period it was popular for long hair sporrans (by far the most popular kind) to end in a scraggly wispy way.

    In the 20th century this slowly gave way to the desire to have long hair sporrans to end in a neat way, trimmed in a curve.

    The most recent trend (and one which I despise) is cutting the sporran straight across the bottom. To me it looks ungainly and it unquestionably flies in the face of 200 years of tradition.

    I applaud your desire to get the sporran right, because nearly always people do Victorian Highland Dress wrongly, especially the sporrans! They almost always wear the style of sporrans that weren't invented until the 20th century, and half the time wear jackets that weren't invented till the 20th century too.

    What I've not done is try to trim a modern-cut horsehair sporran to look like a Victorian sporran, which BTW were usually goat hair. I think it could be done, but it would take time.

    Some Victorian sporrans showing the scraggly bottoms (both the sporran body and the tassels end that way)



    Here's one kept in nice shape, showing the distinctive wispy bottom of sporran and tassels



    Note the lovely shape of the sporran on the left. People make them too squared-off nowadays.



    Sometimes you see this Angora-like look



    Though the wispy look is distinctively Victorian, it wasn't universal, and trimmed sporrans are sometimes seen:



    This is the modern standard, trimmed to a curve



    The recent Army straight-across cut, which certainly wouldn't do for a Victorian impression



    Here's a classic late Victorian/Edwardian sporran, goat hair with sheet-metal cantle.



    A classic Victorian look is a leather cantle with metal edging



    Here's a classic Victorian sporran

    Last edited by OC Richard; 7th October 18 at 06:12 PM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

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  9. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by OC Richard View Post
    What you bring up is an interesting and inexplicable change in fashion (well, just about all changes in fashion are inexplicable!)

    In the Victorian period it was popular for long hair sporrans (by far the most popular kind) to end in a scraggly wispy way.

    In the 20th century this slowly gave way to the desire to have long hair sporrans to end in a neat way, trimmed in a curve.

    The most recent trend (and one which I despise) is cutting the sporran straight across the bottom. To me it looks ungainly and it unquestionably flies in the face of 200 years of tradition.

    I applaud your desire to get the sporran right, because nearly always people do Victorian Highland Dress wrongly, especially the sporrans! They almost always wear the style of sporrans that weren't invented until the 20th century, and half the time wear jackets that weren't invented till the 20th century too.

    What I've not done is try to trim a modern-cut horsehair sporran to look like a Victorian sporran, which BTW were usually goat hair. I think it could be done, but it would take time.

    Some Victorian sporrans showing the scraggly bottoms (both the sporran body and the tassels end that way)



    Here's one kept in nice shape, showing the distinctive wispy bottom of sporran and tassels



    Note the lovely shape of the sporran on the left. People make them too squared-off nowadays.



    Sometimes you see this Angora-like look



    Though the wispy look is distinctively Victorian, it wasn't universal, and trimmed sporrans are sometimes seen:



    This is the modern standard, trimmed to a curve



    The recent Army straight-across cut, which I hate. This certainly wouldn't do for a Victorian impression

    Thank you for this. I have some of these photos and this is exactly what I was talking about. I did some barbering on a new sporran and it looks much better, perhaps I will work it a little more. The other thing I was curious about is the type of hair. I was wondering if perhaps this is goat hair I am looking at on the Victorian sporrans. The new sporran looks to be much coarser than the vintage ones I own. And thank you for including the "Swinging Six" I just purchased one of those for my military impression.

  10. #7
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    goat hair sporran

    Quote Originally Posted by OC Richard View Post
    What you bring up is an interesting and inexplicable change in fashion (well, just about all changes in fashion are inexplicable!)

    In the Victorian period it was popular for long hair sporrans (by far the most popular kind) to end in a scraggly wispy way.

    In the 20th century this slowly gave way to the desire to have long hair sporrans to end in a neat way, trimmed in a curve.

    The most recent trend (and one which I despise) is cutting the sporran straight across the bottom. To me it looks ungainly and it unquestionably flies in the face of 200 years of tradition.

    I applaud your desire to get the sporran right, because nearly always people do Victorian Highland Dress wrongly, especially the sporrans! They almost always wear the style of sporrans that weren't invented until the 20th century, and half the time wear jackets that weren't invented till the 20th century too.

    What I've not done is try to trim a modern-cut horsehair sporran to look like a Victorian sporran, which BTW were usually goat hair. I think it could be done, but it would take time.

    Some Victorian sporrans showing the scraggly bottoms (both the sporran body and the tassels end that way)



    Here's one kept in nice shape, showing the distinctive wispy bottom of sporran and tassels



    Note the lovely shape of the sporran on the left. People make them too squared-off nowadays.



    Sometimes you see this Angora-like look



    Though the wispy look is distinctively Victorian, it wasn't universal, and trimmed sporrans are sometimes seen:



    This is the modern standard, trimmed to a curve



    The recent Army straight-across cut, which certainly wouldn't do for a Victorian impression



    Here's a classic late Victorian/Edwardian sporran, goat hair with sheet-metal cantle.



    A classic Victorian look is a leather cantle with metal edging

    Well I think I see where I'm running into trouble here The goat hair sporran in the photos is exactly what I am looking for and the one you have on is amazing (the same one?) Horse hair just isn't going to give you that same wispy look no matter how skilled it is thinned. Thank you

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  12. #8
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    A couple of suggestions that may work - wear the sporran around the house. The more you wear it the quicker it will get worn in.
    Alternatively, try rubbing the hair between your hands as if you were lighting a fire with a stick. This should scrabble it up.

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