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Do we owe thanks to this man for setting the way for the manufacturers of the very holsters we're wearing?

Paris Theodore - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Excerpt:
In 1966, at the age of 23, Theodore founded Seventrees Ltd., a company that designed and produced gun holsters for professionals who had the need to conceal weapons yet access them quickly. Demand among undercover investigators and intelligence agents grew quickly for his innovative designs and Seventrees was soon awarded several contracts from a variety of U.S. agencies. The growing popularity of the holsters inspired many imitations by other manufacturers. Even the company’s slogan “Unseen in the Best Places” was copied by at least one competitor.
 

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He was an innovator...seventrees leather is known as on of the old legends in leathe rmaking.
 

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Very interesting read... He was definitely an innovator...
 

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My guess would be work for the CIA right out of high school as a "contractor", cough cough,....[assassin], know the right people in our illustrious government and design and build special weaponry for the people who need them.


He was an innovator of the first class and I've read comments from many of the first tier contemporary leatherworkers that his work was influential to say the least.
 

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Didn't know that...interesting...died young.:blink:
 

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Paris Theodore was a gifted designer and a heckuva showman. Not a lot of folks on the fence. They loved him or he owed them money.

I bought a Speed Scabbard from Seventrees in the late 60's. I still have the original catalog. Paris was well known by the early custom holster makers and all have opinions.

And he did do some incredible weapons designs for the agency.

We never met. Had a couple of phone calls on holsters, but I would have loved to have seen more of his work.

I believe that the Seventrees holster designs were acquired by Ken Null.
 

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A New York state of mind: Seventrees

When I officially joined the holster industry in 1970, Seventrees had a presence as an heir-apparent to Chic Gaylord of New York. Theodore and I were similar in age. But Seventrees' profile in the industry was over almost as soon as it began: just before 1970 and just after. He had a smattering of patents at the time, which at least saw production; and those of a decade later may not have seen the light of day. This New York style of holster design was soon absorbed by Cobra and by DeSantis (both of New York), and then only DeSantis became a real player even to this day.

Perhaps we can give Theodore credit for bringing these things into the public consciousness: hand-boning to fit the exact pistol, for the express purpose of of reducing wear and simultaneously retaining the pistol; and rigid rather than soft holsters; muzzles that extended beyond the holster; and molded front sight protection. Prior to that it was believed that a block fit was the ideal, and that a device like a spring or a strap was necessary to hold the pistol into position, and graphite grease was ideal for smoothing the draw. Before Theodore's day, it was believed that a holster needed to be softened, much like with a new baseball glove, and then slicked up to make it right. It was Gaylord who pioneered the molded front sight protector in concealment holsters, and Perkins at Safariland who made it a 'must' to be competitive; and Bianchi who brought both hand-boning and front sight protection to the mass market; but Theodore who led the charge.

I've a copy of the Seventrees catalogue, and I see a copy of it is excerpted here:
Seventrees 1969 catalog..Lots of pics - 1911Forum
 

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My view of Theordore is that he was good at marketing but was also good at taking credit whether deserved or not. Gaylord predates Seventrees and Chic's influence can be seen in many of the Seventrees holsters. In my tiny little holster collection, I have a Gaylord holster and one from
Seventrees. The Gaylord holster is more rigid and more heavily boned.
1958 Gaylord catalog

As a sort of full disclosure, I should mention that Ken Null, who worked with Theodore, is a friend. Ken has graciously donated some of his (Null's) prototype holsters to my collection and he was no slouch himself at thinking outside the box.

Red: point of interest... was the Autodraw one of your design/patents? I have an old Seventrees design acquired by trade that utilizes the trigger guard plug albeit in a fairly crude way compared to the sophistication of the Autodraw. BTW, still have my Autodraw!
 

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Gaylord

Fair enough, Matt; but my copy of Gaylord's book and your copy of his catalog show no photos of boned holsters; perhaps they came into Chic's lineup after 1960 but before 1970.

Yes, the AutoDraw holster is one of mine (named it, too). It took 7 years to develop into its final form and was not a commercial success; whereas the commercially-successful Chapman HighRide holster took just 2 days to perfect, and my SightStrip sight protector just 20 minutes! Wouldn't mind repeating the latter's success, I earned a lot of $$ from that 20 minutes. I think I might go so far as to say that the great ideas come together quickly, despite th e M12 taking 5 years simply because of its scope -- millions of them have been made.
 

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Hey Red:
Well I dragged out my collection and took a gander at them again. The Gaylord holster I have definitely shows more detailing than those pictured in his catalog & book. That holster is for a 4 inch Police Positive and is still very rigid and about 6 1/2 oz leather. The 1.25 inch loop on the Gaylord is VERY accurately sized and snug allowing virtually no rocking on the belt.

However, I was wrong in my previous description of the Seventrees holster. It is for a Model 39 S&W and is actually more boned than I recollected. To about the same level as the SDS shown in the Seventrees catalog. It is much softer that the Gaylord and is made of quite heavy leather, about 9 1/2 oz.

Neither holster appears to have been used a lot. Of course neither is anywhere close to the level of workmanship or boning seen in current concealment holsters from many shops. The stitch job on both holsters is....uh...bad. Overall though, I think the Gaylord (with decent stitching) would still be a pretty sharp looking holster. :image035:

Re: the Autodraw: If you don't mind, I'll PM or email you about that so I don't screw up the OP's post more than I have. :wink:
 
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