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Old 06-10-2014, 06:36 PM   #1
HighlandPark
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Default ID MFR of Contemporary Sporran Made in Scotland

I recently picked up a contemporary Hunting Sporran from a seller in Fife, Scotland: the ubiquitous Hunting Sporran used in so many bands, the design very tasteful, I must say.

The back is stamped "Made in Scotland, Real Leather (which I assume is true) and the cantle is stamped with D&N, which I believe is the Hallmark for Dalman and Narborough in Birmingham (I understand most sporran manufacturers don't make their own cantles). It does appear to be made of 100% leather, the workmanship is adequate enough for my purposes, the cantle appears to be good quality, it is not a leather composite/vinyl Pakistani version, and it is a fraction of the price of a new "Bandsman" L&M of the same design (which is arguably top drawer). It even came with "Real Leather" chain.

Out of plain curiosity does anyone here have an idea who the Scottish manufacturer of this is (I attempted a few web searches with no luck)? I suppose I could also post this over at X Marks the Scot.








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Last edited by HighlandPark; 06-10-2014 at 06:39 PM.
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Old 06-11-2014, 03:51 AM   #2
Klondike Waldo
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Default Re: ID MFR of Contemporary Sporran Made in Scotland

Morrison, maybe? At least the cantle looks like one I got from them for a skunk sporran I made.
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Old 06-11-2014, 05:35 AM   #3
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Default Re: ID MFR of Contemporary Sporran Made in Scotland

Thing is, a large number of different Scottish makers did, and do, make exactly the same range of sporrans, all looking more or less identical, all using identical hardware.

That cantle has been a standard design for at least 50 years.

However the back stamp on your sporran is different from the usual one, which is printed in gold. That should identify the maker.

BTW a large number of different Scottish makers used the same photographs and called the various sporrans by the same code names. The photographs were on a tri-folded sheet. I worked for two different Highland Outfitters in the 1980s and we got this same sheet from several different sporranmakers. The photo sheet would be accompanied by the particular firm's price list. One such firm was William Scott & Son, Edinburgh.

A while back I came across one of these sheets I still happen to have.

Here are the photos! Six in all, both sides of a tri-folded sheet.

Our standard modern "pipe band sporran" as you see is sporran HS/T/B (probably standing for Hunting Sporran/Targe/Black, but note that the standard modern pipe band sporran uses the EW3 cantle instead.











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Last edited by pancelticpiper; 06-11-2014 at 06:00 AM.
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Old 06-11-2014, 07:31 AM   #4
HighlandPark
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Default Re: ID MFR of Contemporary Sporran Made in Scotland

Quote:
Originally Posted by Klondike Waldo View Post
Morrison, maybe? At least the cantle looks like one I got from them for a skunk sporran I made.
I went to the Morrison sporrans page and couldn't find this pierced cantle design -- really nice sporrans, though!

The D&N cantle on my sporran is almost identical to the pierced designs on the L&M website, right down to the slightly misaligned raised bosses, except that the interior 'scribe' detail in the celtic knots is truncataed on the edges on mine. I thought that detail might help me ID it as I can't find any others that have that little diversion from the L&M design. Does your Morrison cantle have interior scribe lines like mine or the L&M cantle?. Someone here must have and L&M sporran with that cantle; who makes L&M cantles? Probably spending too much time on this...
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Old 06-11-2014, 07:46 AM   #5
HighlandPark
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Default Re: ID MFR of Contemporary Sporran Made in Scotland

Quote:
Originally Posted by pancelticpiper View Post
Thing is, a large number of different Scottish makers did, and do, make exactly the same range of sporrans, all looking more or less identical, all using identical hardware.

That cantle has been a standard design for at least 50 years.

However the back stamp on your sporran is different from the usual one, which is printed in gold. That should identify the maker.

BTW a large number of different Scottish makers used the same photographs and called the various sporrans by the same code names. The photographs were on a tri-folded sheet. I worked for two different Highland Outfitters in the 1980s and we got this same sheet from several different sporranmakers. The photo sheet would be accompanied by the particular firm's price list. One such firm was William Scott & Son, Edinburgh.

A while back I came across one of these sheets I still happen to have.

Here are the photos! Six in all, both sides of a tri-folded sheet.

Our standard modern "pipe band sporran" as you see is sporran HS/T/B (probably standing for Hunting Sporran/Targe/Black, but note that the standard modern pipe band sporran uses the EW3 cantle instead.
Richard, that is a fantastic historic-contemporary documentation of sporran styles, thank you! The modern one is indeed really close to the HS/T/B in the photo.

You mention price sheets that accompanied the tri-folded sheets. Were prices for top-end sporrans similarly at a 'premium' like what many would consider L&M, etc. are at today?
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Old 06-11-2014, 08:39 AM   #6
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Default Re: ID MFR of Contemporary Sporran Made in Scotland

Have they reverted to high quality leather product again?
I used to play L&M bags way back... but converted to Gannaway ,then synthetics.
But for a large band order I found the leather belts and some sporrans to be a bit lower quality IMHO than what I'd seen in the early years.
I believe there is new management since then/recent decade ?

IMHO many makers now seem to compete as to whom can provide the cheesiest chain/strap and end fittings/clips.

The leather strap in the picture you posted shows a quality rollered buckle.
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Old 06-11-2014, 11:29 AM   #7
HighlandPark
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Default Re: ID MFR of Contemporary Sporran Made in Scotland

Quote:
Originally Posted by el gaitero View Post
Have they reverted to high quality leather product again?
I used to play L&M bags way back... but converted to Gannaway ,then synthetics.
But for a large band order I found the leather belts and some sporrans to be a bit lower quality IMHO than what I'd seen in the early years.
I believe there is new management since then/recent decade ?

IMHO many makers now seem to compete as to whom can provide the cheesiest chain/strap and end fittings/clips.

The leather strap in the picture you posted shows a quality rollered buckle.
I have no idea about quality consistency, other than to say that much of what I read about L&M leather sporrans is good. For the price one would expect top quality. I suspect that shelling out $300+ for a sporran is not for everyone.

For my money something in full leather, of relatively good manufacture, in a classic design, will do, and that's what I have here. Before this one I made the rookie mistake of getting an 'unbelieveable' deal on a full dress sporran of Pakistani origin. Actually, I will have to admit that even in-hand it looks pretty good. However, upon closer inspection one can see that the materials and manufacture are definitely subpar: leather composite, perhaps some pressed cardboard, vinyl, and some questionable attachment methods; this sporran would not hold up to much use before a 'malfunction' would turn up when you would least want it to.
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Old 06-11-2014, 11:41 AM   #8
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Default Re: ID MFR of Contemporary Sporran Made in Scotland

Quote:
Originally Posted by HighlandPark View Post
I have no idea about quality consistency, other than to say that much of what I read about L&M leather sporrans is good. For the price one would expect top quality. I suspect that shelling out $300+ for a sporran is not for everyone.
I have two L&M sporrans and the quality of both is excellent. The belts are great too. I got the one of them about six years ago. The other belongs to the band. It's hard to spend so much on a sporran, but it is a pleasure to have a good one when you put it on.
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Old 06-11-2014, 07:21 PM   #9
pancelticpiper
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Default Re: ID MFR of Contemporary Sporran Made in Scotland

I myself have never seen an L&M sporran that isn't of the highest quality, precisely the sort of sporrans made by Scottish makers such as Scott & Son Edinburgh back in the day.

L&M has gone one better, coming up with a large number of innovative designs, such as their gorgeous Hunting Sporrans done up in red and green leather.

About prices, like everything else these have gone up. I remember paying $15 new for my first sporran, a high quality all-leather "day" sporran around 1975. Keep in mind that back in those days there were no available alternatives to quality Scottish-made sporrans, kilts, and so forth. Every sporran, pair of hose, kilt, jacket, bonnet, and so forth you could buy were made by old-school established Scottish makers. In other words the things you're describing as 'premium' were standard and ubiquitous. The market being flooded with Pakistani tat was many years in the future.

BTW Scottish-made sporrans have long been stamped 'real leather Scotland" and it seems to me to be redundant in that there is no difference in meaning between 'real leather' and 'leather'. Something is either leather, or it isn't. (Like 'totally nude'... you're either nude, or not. Wear any piece of clothing anywhere on your person and you're no longer nude. Well that was a strange example, wasn't it?)

About cheap Pakistani sporrans, it's pennywise and pound foolish, because oftentimes the cheap cantles and chains have sharp edges that can cut the kilt fabric. Ruining a $500 kilt because you're too cheap to buy a quality sporran makes no sense to me. (Quality UK and North American sporrans and chains are quite smooth on the back.)
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Old 06-11-2014, 08:06 PM   #10
David Marshall
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Default Re: ID MFR of Contemporary Sporran Made in Scotland

I had purchased sample real leather ones from Sialkot Pakistan that look incredibly similar to the first one shown at the top of this thread. Maybe $20.00 each plus shipping. That is 7 or 8 years ago.
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