Harness Hames Key to the Past

Harness hames held important places in the field, firehouses and mines

| May 2000

  • A firehouse combination hames/collar
    A firehouse combination hames/collar, featuring the bullet-style quick release at the bottom.
  • Some of the hames in Jim Hicks' collection
    Some of the hames in Jim Hicks' collection. The second from the right is the one that started the collection: a souvenir from the Ringling Brothers Circus.

  • A firehouse combination hames/collar
  • Some of the hames in Jim Hicks' collection

Hog snouters are but a part of Jim Hicks' interest in farm collectibles: Harness hames are also on his short list of favorites. 

"I've always been a horse lover," he says. "My wife says I was born 90 years too late. My granddad never had a tractor, and my dad kept a team of horses through the war years."

With that foundation, when Jim stumbled on to a set of harness hames used on baggage horses in the early days of the Ringling Brothers Circus, he was a goner.

"I've always been fascinated with the decorative detail on those old things," he says. "As a kid, I can remember when the neighbors would form a threshing team. We'd get up early to get the horses ready. I can still remember my dad taking time to run a damp, oily rag over the brass on those harnesses so they would look good. They took pride in those teams."

The harness hames varied by use. Jim's collection, for instance, includes a set designed for use in a coal mine.

"They were for mine mules," he says. "They shaft-mined in the old days, with 36-inch or 48-inch shafts, so they had little mules to pull the carts."


Farm Collector April 16Farm Collector is a monthly magazine focusing on antique tractors and all kinds of antique farm equipment. If it's old and from the farm, we're interested in it!

Save Even More Money with our SQUARE-DEAL Plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our SQUARE-DEAL automatic renewal savings plan. You'll get 12 issues of Farm Collector for only $24.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and send me one year of Farm Collector for just $29.95.

Facebook Pinterest YouTube