Q&A Questions and Answers:
What did the cowboys call the leather wristbands which were worn over the shirt cuff?
They were (and still are) just called cuffs -- sometimes wrist cuffs. They protect the shirt sleeves from brush, getting tangled in a rope, or catching fire from a campfire or branding iron fire. In addition, if fitted snugly, they give a little extra support and strength to the wrist -- sort of like the wrist wraps you see on gymnasts and other athletes.
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