“110 years of Sporting Tradition”
Boyt Harness Company, the hunting industry standard for gun cases and firearm storage and transport, traces their beginnings to a family owned regional harness shop in turn of the century Iowa.
In 1885 a young Englishman named Walter Boyt set sail to America to find his calling in life. Meeting up with his brother John in Des Moines, the pair settled into the well-worn workbenches of Des Moines Saddlery Company, learning the time-honored trade as saddle makers and leather workers.
Started in 1881, Des Moines Saddlery sat at the confluence of two major rivers and 13 rail lines giving the company a competitive transportation edge over competitors. The ideal location was not lost on the aspiring Boyt brothers.
Between long days of sorting hides, making patterns, tooling leather and then sewing it on massive belt driven machines, the Boyt brothers found time to travel back to England, enjoy the Iowa rural lifestyle and socialize in the many gathering places along Des Moines’ Court Avenue district. Walter married and started a family that would eventually include six daughters, known throughout Des Moines as the “Beautiful Boyt Sisters.”
After twenty years in business, Des Moines Saddlery closed their doors and the industrious Boyt brothers decided to continue building saddles and harness as proprietors rather than employees with the founding of Walter Boyt Saddlery in 1901.The business was moved just a few blocks east, still close to both the rivers and the rail yards. With his business savvy wife Mary as vice president and brother, John, as book keeper and trusted advisor, Walter’s burgeoning enterprise primarily manufactured fine driving harness for buggies, however, the Great War in Europe took the company in a direction that would frame it for the next 100 years. The advent of World War I found the company building the first of many firearm accessories such as military pistol holsters for the then new Colt 1911 .45 pistol along with cavalry saddle bags and harness for artillery and transport horses.