Cool Things - Horse Mannequin
This papier-mache horse stood proudly in a Kansas harness shop for many years.
"A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty 'Hi-yo Silver. . . .'"
No, it's not the Lone Ranger's fabled horse. In fact, this horse doesn't move at all, and the smile on its face is more friendly than fiery.
The horse in question is affectionately known as "Fox," after the name painted on its rump. Made of papier-mache, the only actual horsehair on Fox is the mane and tail. Fox dates from around 1900, a time when horses were far more common than automobiles for traveling. Its manufacturer is unknown.
Papier-mache horses were commonly used to display saddles, harness, and tack in shops making and selling such items. This particular horse was used by Fox and Son of Anthony, Kansas. West Fox started the business in the late 1880s; despite the company's name, West was joined by two sons, Ed and Jud.
During the business' peak, Fox and Son turned out 400 sets of harness annually. When Ed Fox retired in 1947, he kept a workshop at his home and the papier-mache horse came with him. In the workshop, Fox wore a saddle that was sold new by Fox and Son, and had been owned by a bank president in Anthony and used in the 1893 Cherokee Strip land rush.
Over the years, many Anthony children had an opportunity to "ride" the horse. Ed Fox said he could never turn down a child asking for a ride.
In 1971, the smiling steed was put into a horse trailer and brought to the Kansas Historical Society where it was placed in the collections of the Kansas Museum of History. The donor, Clarence Fox, was West's grandson and Ed's son.
Entry: Cool Things - Horse Mannequin
Author: Rebecca Martin
Date Created: June 2006
Date Modified: August 2010
The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.