Made in the USA Since 1876 – John R. Craighead Leather Company

We love companies with rich family history.

Companies that are founded on the same principles as F.M. Light and Sons. Companies that make their product in the United States. When we find businesses that are as old as us, we’re excited. When we find businesses older that us, we’re ecstatic. One such company is the John R. Craighead Co., Inc. Below is their history, as recounted by the founders great-grandson.

John R. Craighead Co, Inc. Manufacturer and Wholesaler of Leather Goods

JW Wilson Saddle Department - Circa 1900

J.W. Wilson Saddle Department, Circa 1900

A few years earlier gold was discovered in our mountains and the rush began. “Pikes Peak or Bust” was the slogan on the wagons heading west. My great grandfather heard that saddle makers were in short supply. So he moved his family west and opened a small shop.  He was soon making harnesses, gun belts, holsters and chaps, as well as saddles.

The customers kept coming back because his quality and workmanship was the best.

Four generations later the ranchers and cowboys are still our customers.  But for the last fifty years we have had another customer: the make-believe Cowboy. Craighead’s clothing and toys are made of real leather which means greater strength. As our little cowboy plays, the leather becomes soft and supple.

Wilson, John and Jim Craighead in Craighead Companies Ads from 1930, 1964 and 1966 | Carried at F.M. Light and Sons in Steamboat Springs, CO | Western Wear

It’s no surprise that once the child grows up, these outfits become keepsakes to be handed down to their own kids.

1971 Advertising: Still Used on Packaging Today

1971 Advertising: Still Used on Packaging Today

Today we strive for the same quality and workmanship as we did in 1876. ~ John J. Craighead – Great-Grandson of the founder.

The J.H. Wilson Saddle Company was founded in 1876 by James H. Wilson. His company made saddles and harnesses until about 1919 when he passed away. His son-in-law was John R. Craighead. He re-opened the company in 1920 using his name as the company name. He made belts. His son, Wilson Craighead, began making kids’ stuff in the 1950’s.

Pictured, from left: Katie and Ian Craighead – 1998 Catalog Cover; 2003 catalog cover – Colin Craighead next to his Great-Great Grandfather’s Saddle
Katie and Ian Craighead - 1998 Catalog Cover2003 catalog cover - Colin Craighead next to his Great-Great Grandfather's Saddle


Are you interested in these items? We ship all over the world – give us a call and we can help you find exactly what you want!
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American Flag - Made in the USA
This product is proudly made in America!