Out of the Vault: King Ranch Branding Iron

Posted on August 24, 2021 by Tim in

Welcome again to “Out of the Vault.” This is our blog series where we take you behind-the-scenes to show off our newest acquisitions and why we think they are an important addition to the Museum’s mission to tell you the diverse stories of the West.

Finding a classic branding iron from King Ranch is very “on brand” (lol!) for Michael Grauer, McCasland Chair of Cowboy Culture / Curator of Cowboy Collections & Western Art.

WHAT IS THIS?

This is a branding iron from the famous King Ranch in South Texas. The brand was first registered in 1869. This piece is probably from the 1950s.

WHERE DID WE GET IT?

We acquired it from a man in Kentucky who found it in a closet in a house he purchased from a former King Ranch cowboy. Always check your closets for vintage branding irons.

WHY DID WE ACQUIRE IT?

The King Ranch is one of the most important—and famous—cattle and horse ranches in the United States and at one time was one of the largest. It had a significant role in the West.

WHEN CAN I SEE IT ON DISPLAY?

After the iron is researched and catalogued, it will be placed on exhibit in the King Ranch section of our American Cowboy Gallery.

The Western Heritage Fund helps make acquisitions like this possible. The West is full of different cultures, peoples and stories, and you can help us share those stories.

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About Tim

Director of Security & Operations Services (and sometimes social media)