Confederate Painted Canvas
Infantry Waist Belt
|Description and Photograph||
Surviving documentation shows that this painted canvas roller buckle belt was made at the Richmond Arsenal. Original Confederate painted canvas belts are much more desirable than their leather counterparts for two reasons. The first and most obvious reason is their short lifespan. The canvas deteriorated quickly when exposed to the elements, both during and after the War. Consequently they are exceedingly rare. The second reason they are so desirable to collectors is because the substitution of cloth for leather exemplifies the straights to which the Confederacy was reduced by the blockade. The same holds true for painted canvas cap and cartridge boxes.
The canvas, leather and buckle on this example are perfect, strong and flexible, with the exception that someone managed to fold the leather back on itself tight enough to break it within about three inches of the end of the ranger, notwithstanding that the leather is strong and supple. It has been repaired very neatly as can be seen in the photographs. The canvas and the leather rangers are strong and solid. The stitching remains strong and tight, and the buckle retains its roller and much of its original paint.
Though I began collecting more than 30 years ago, this is only the second example of this rare belt that I have come across; the other can be seen on page 17 of Collecting the Confederacy. This leaves no doubt that these are much rarer than even the canvas cap and cartridge boxes, of which I have had many. This is, I believe, due to the fact that there were several canvas box makers, but I have not encountered any other makers of painted canvas belts.
If a painted canvas belt is something you want for your collection, this, very likely, will be your only opportunity for acquiring one.