Did you know that whips evolve? The Florida Cow Whip has! It started as a whip often made from the hides of whitetail deer and and has really changed over the decades.
A major development was the advent of nylon cow whips during the 1970s. If you look at early nylons compared to their modern descendants, there’s even more changes that have been made. In this post, I intend to show you how they’ve changed.
I was digging around in my shed today and found a cow whip that’s older than I am. It was given to me by my grandfather; according to him, it was purchased off of a ranch supply truck around 1975. The whip has seldom been used, so it still looks much as it did when it was first bought. (click on image to enlarge)
When I was first given the whip, it still had the price tag on it. Believe it or not, even in the 70s, this 7.5 ft nylon whip sold for $75.00! If you consider that the U.S. minimum wage was somewhere around $2.00 per hour back then, you can get a feel for how expensive this whip really was!
Below I am going to post some photos of a whip I just finished compared with this older cow whip. I think you will be able to see that from the colors to the construction, there’s a bit of difference between the 1970’s model and my modern version.
Here you can see how my modern cow whip looks compared with one from the 70s. (Keep in mind that mine only costs $4.00 per foot more in today’s money too!)
Above you see the thong/handle connection. They are still similar, but there are a few variations.
Above we see the traditional method that cow whip makers use to finish tapering a thong. We call it a “tapered twist;” it was even found on the old buckskin whips. On the older cow whips, there was no fall of any kind and the cracker was a piece of paracord tied on the end of the tapered twist as we see on the left.
Today I use a twisted nylon cracker and I’ve converted the single paracord lace into a fall. This is something I started doing a little after I began selling whips online.
Finally, we have the handle of the old school nylon cow whip compared with the one I made yesterday. The old one measures 12″ in length and looks to be hand carved. My handle is 14″ and turned on a lathe.
As you can see, the modern nylon “Florida cracker whip” has come a long way. If you are interested in purchasing one for yourself or have more questions, email me at rhettswhips @ yahoo dot com.