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History, Tradition, Heritage As related to the subjects of piping, drumming and pipe bands.

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Old 12-31-2015, 12:55 PM   #1
HighlandPark
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Default Vintage Lawrie Sporran, Patent No 174788, Manufacturer

I recently picked up a vintage dress R.G. Lawrie Ltd. sporran from a UK antiques seller. It's of the standard sealskin type but with the more atypical, if not more vintage-looking, etched cones holding the 'club' tassles in lieu of the balls and fringed tassles we usually see. It is embossed R.G. Lawrie on the back and strap, plus has the ubiquitous patent number found on so many sporrans, 714788. Here are a few images of the sporran:













This sporran was formerly owned by an Merchant Navy Officer who was stationed in Japan from the 1950s to the 1970s. While I was cleaning the sporran I found a green-crusted copper 10 Yen coin which I cleaned up a little. I know one can date these coins from the characters but I didn't have much luck. Perhaps one of our Japanese members can date this for me. Here are some images:




Back to the topic at hand, here are some images of similar and identical sporrans with the same patent number, 174788. Those in this group are embossed with Lawrie (including the first one which is nearly identical to mine):







These are the non-Lawrie sporrans (same patent number), some stamped Hugh MacPherson, J.McPherson (?), and others no-name (the first one is nearly identical to mine but unbranded):







Here is an advertisement (from OC Richard?) of some sporrans that mirror examples from above, including mine:



So, I will now assume that, while my sporran is stamped R.G. Lawrie it was probably not made by Lawrie. What about the patent number 174788? While doing some digging I came across a copy of the actual patent here. The patent holder was/is a Willam Elder Scott. For an easier look at the patent here it is below in jpg format:






So from we know the date of these sporrans is from the 1950s onwards, they are likely made by one manufacturer and then branded, and that the name of the patent holder is Willam Elder Scott. However, who was he and who did he work for?
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Last edited by HighlandPark; 12-31-2015 at 01:07 PM.
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Old 12-31-2015, 01:17 PM   #2
el gaitero
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Default Re: Vintage Lawrie Sporran, Patent No 174788, Manufacturer

e a few images of the sporran:


]

So from we know the date of these sporrans is from the 1950s onwards, they are likely made by one manufacturer and then branded, and that the name of the patent holder is Willam Elder Scott. However, who was he and who did he work for?[/QUOTE]


A nifty find you have with RGL stamp and all. I acquired the same/similar from a popular source for regimental kit some 6 years ago. But with red leather back,no extra pocket and only a simple ' made in scotland' gold leaf stamp. The cantel appears to be silver plated. The baby seal on mine is a lighter yellow- white with spots. Same bells.
But alas...no info about W.E.Scott.
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Old 12-31-2015, 03:07 PM   #3
HighlandPark
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Default Re: Vintage Lawrie Sporran, Patent No 174788, Manufacturer

Quote:
Originally Posted by el gaitero View Post
A nifty find you have with RGL stamp and all. I acquired the same/similar from a popular source for regimental kit some 6 years ago. But with red leather back,no extra pocket and only a simple ' made in scotland' gold leaf stamp. The cantel appears to be silver plated. The baby seal on mine is a lighter yellow- white with spots. Same bells.
But alas...no info about W.E.Scott.
Thanks. It's the first one I've seen. However, once I did some digging a few other Lawrie sporrans showed up.

That "Made in Scotland" in gold leaf is really common on all kinds of sporran styles; there must have been/is a large company pumping these out. My cantle's not silver, so lucky you.

Re the seal fur, coming from the country that probably exported more of the baby kind than any other () I would say 'white coat' sporrans appear to be pretty rare out there. Baby seal is pure white without any spots. Yours probably isn't made from a white coat if it's got spots.

As an aside, while seal skin sporrans do not approach the level of elephant ivory on pipes as an issue, they are certainly not without ethical dilemma or controversy. Or fur in general for that matter.
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Old 12-31-2015, 05:42 PM   #4
Garry
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Default Re: Vintage Lawrie Sporran, Patent No 174788, Manufacturer

Regrettably I cannot add anything informative. Just wanted to say I love it all. Thanks for posting!!
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Old 12-31-2015, 06:18 PM   #5
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Default Re: Vintage Lawrie Sporran, Patent No 174788, Manufacturer

Absolutely stunning!
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Old 12-31-2015, 06:28 PM   #6
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Default Re: Vintage Lawrie Sporran, Patent No 174788, Manufacturer

W E Scott & Son, Edinburgh, was one of Scotland's main sporranmakers for many years.

I worked for a Highland Outfitter in the 1980s and we carried their sporrans.

They used the same tri-fold sheet of photos of sporrans as many other makers.

Looks like they're still around

http://www.sporranmaker.com/
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Old 01-01-2016, 01:10 AM   #7
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Default Re: Vintage Lawrie Sporran, Patent No 174788, Manufacturer

David, I don't read any Japanese, but I think I've figured out the characters in the second coin:

First 2 characters - the Showa era i.e. starting in 1926 (Emperor Hirohito)
3rd char - numeral 2
4th char - numeral 10
5th char - numeral 7
6th char - I think it means "year"

So, this should date the coin as being minted in the 27th year of Showa - 1952.

Apparently, the 10 yen coin has a high copper content - throw it into your hide pipe bag, why don't you?

P/S Thanks for the patent info - some useful stuff on that sporran design

Last edited by Leong; 01-01-2016 at 01:13 AM. Reason: P/S
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Old 01-01-2016, 09:59 AM   #8
HighlandPark
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Default Re: Vintage Lawrie Sporran, Patent No 174788, Manufacturer

Thanks for your kind comments and responses everyone. I thoroughly enjoyed wearing this sporran at a Year's Eve party last night -- Happy New Year All!

Leong, you are correct -- great sleuthing and thank you for the step-by-step detail! Those two images are of the same coin. I just received a message from fellow Dunsire member from Japan, Takeshi, indicating that this is a 1952 coin. Interestingly, Takeshi notes that coins with this date are rare. I was surprised at first but thinking about the change that goes through my fingers every day I rarely see any Canadian currency older than maybe the 1980s. In any event, this coin will stay with the sporran.

On the topic of the high copper content, the coin was almost unrecognizeable when I pulled it out of the sporran's change compartment. I wonder if that aspect helped to preserve the sporran while it was stored over the last 60 years. Assuming the sporran was stored under relatively high relative humidity (UK, Japan) I may have to keep an eye on it here in dry western Canada.

Pancelticpiper, thanks for digging up that WE Scott info. I can't believe I missed that! In case the page disappears here's a screen capture of it. Those words on the page pretty much answer the question of who's been flooding the market with unbranded but quality "Made in Scotland" sporrans over the past decades. I suppose WE's contribution to sporran design is one of the more significant developments over the years; pretty well every 'contemporary' cantled sporran out there seems to utilize a variant of this style of closure.

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Last edited by HighlandPark; 01-01-2016 at 10:03 AM.
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Old 01-01-2016, 04:38 PM   #9
pancelticpiper
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Default Re: Vintage Lawrie Sporran, Patent No 174788, Manufacturer

I would guess that the sporran stamped "RG Lawrie" was made by them.

I don't have any special knowledge, it's just a guess or an assumption, because Lawrie had a big factory-like setup where they made all sorts of Highland Dress. It's common to see old sporrans where the cantle is stamped "RGL" which is the same stamp seen on the metalwork on their pipes.

They had a big staff of kiltmakers and jacket makers. The had frames for knitting full tartan hose, They had a row of lathes turning out quantities of bagpipes and lawn bowls. They had forms for fabricating brass instruments.

The Lawrie works, from a c1930 Lawrie catalogue



Their sporran offerings from the same catalogue

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Old 11-16-2018, 03:46 PM   #10
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Default Re: Vintage Lawrie Sporran, Patent No 174788, Manufacturer

Sorry reviving this thread because one of these RG Lawrie sporrans with the Patent 174788 stamps is up on Ebay now.

Here's the back of it. I don't think I've seen a sporran with three different gold oval stamps on the back before.

1) Made In Scotland Real Leather (This is the only stamp on the back of many sporrans.)

2) RG Lawrie Ltd Glasgow

3) Patent No 174788



The front. It's the standard sporran style called EW4. The cantle is silver-plated and made up from five separate pieces (the body, the knob, and the three bosses)

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