The Crates name in the western saddlery industry dates back over 75 years to the 1940s, when Robert H. Crates joined T. Fletcher Sims in building Sims Collar & Leather Company in Chattanooga, Tennessee, established in 1932, into world-wide distributor and industry leader, Simco Leather Company. Robert Crates, a mid-westerner from Ohio moved south during the Great Depression, purchasing the small manufacturer of harness, horse collars, and miners equipment with Mr. Sims.
The years after World War II brought a great demand for recreational saddlery and riding equipment, which soon eclipsed the work harness and farm equipment business. The sport of Rodeo grew rapidly, to become a major factor in the “horse business”. Robert H. Crates became the sole owner of Simco in the 1950’s and was joined in the 50’s after military service by sons Daniel M. and Robert C. Crates.