On this day October 6, 1895 W.D. Davis patented an improved riding saddle.
When it comes to the topic of famous inventors, no one will miss the big names, such as Edison, Graham Bell, and Tesla, but only a few would take notice of William D. Davis. In fact, his invention, the modern horse saddle, is better known than he is. He is one of the prominent African Americans who have made a lasting contribution to the American culture. But what makes his invention special since there were already saddles used during his time?
William D. Davis had a novel idea to make such long expeditions more comfortable. Black soldiers typically were issued the roughest stock, and he invented a special type of improved saddle designed to render an easier ride on hard-trotting horses. Davis filed a patent on his improved saddle in 1896. His idea was to add springs beneath the seat and at the tops of the stirrups. While Davis did not invent the use of springs on saddles, the type of spring, its longevity, and its placement were his own. Although never standard army issue, Davis saddles provided a smoother ride for cavalry, cowboys, and gentlemen riders.