Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Brand Builder Answers

Last week, I posted a few of the numerous wagon brands marketed by early vehicle builders and asked for thoughts on who made what.  While there were quite a few visitors to that blog, no one ventured any guesses.  I won’t give away all of the answers this week but, here are a few details on some of the relatively unknown brands...   

  • Overland – This was a lower-priced, sister brand to a Newton wagon.
  •  Chief – ‘Chief’ was a farm truck brand made by the Fort Smith Wagon Company.
  • Superior – Built by the Abingdon Wagon Company in Abingdon, Illinois. 
  • Gate City – Made by the Winona Wagon Company in Winona, Minnesota.
  • L. R. V. – One of several vehicle brands made by the Auburn Wagon Company in Martinsburg, West Virginia.
  • Red Hickory – This was a farm wagon brand built by the Florence Wagon Company in Florence, Alabama.
  • Fairfield – Built and marketed by J. Turney & Company in Fairfield, Iowa, this was a value-priced option to the firm’s flagship ‘Charter Oak’ brand.           

From trademark construction features to differences in brands over time, the information shown above is just a small sampling of the wealth of data found inside our Archives.  Spanning almost 200 years of America’s horse drawn history, this one-of-a-kind collection continues to grow and remains focused on preserving our wood-wheeled past.  Almost weekly, we're fortunate to uncover even more all-but-lost details.  Ultimately, the process is helping countless individuals and organizations understand more about specific vehicles and the true provenance of a set of wheels. 

Coming soon... We’ll cover a different, ‘lower form’ of wagon.  In the meantime, if you’ve run across a brand you don’t recognize, send us some good photos.  We’d be glad to take a look.



Please Note:  As with each of our blog writings, all imagery and text is copyrighted with All Rights Reserved.  The material may not be broadcast, published, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written permission from David E. Sneed, Wheels That Won The West® Archives, LLC

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Wagon Maker Brands

For the next few weeks, my blog will be shorter than normal.  My computer is in the shop and single-finger typing on this iPad is a bit of a challenge.  So, in an effort to keep the length reined in, we'll cover a subject I'm often quizzed about by using a quiz itself.

Over the past few decades, I've shared many of the difficulties involved in the study of America's early wagon and western vehicle makers.  One of the complications is the sheer size of the country's first transportation industry.  While the tens of thousands of manufacturers are impressive in scope, trying to get a handle on such a large crowd can turn almost any research into an intimidating process.  Even more challenging are the massive numbers of additional brands marketed by these companies.  Knowing who built what and where is more than interesting background in the provenance of a set of wheels - it can be crucial to understanding the value, age, originality levels, and desirability of each survivor.

Reinforcing the hurdles mentioned above, I've set up a brief list of brand names from different builders. Take a look below and see how many of the brands you recognize.  Next week, I'll share any correct answers I receive.  There were countless others, all contributing to the complexity of this subject.  (Oh, be advised - some brands were built by multiple makers)

- Jack Rabbit

- Overland

- Ajax

- Chief

- California

- Superior

- The Dutch

- Western Special

- Gate City

- Hickory (not Old Hickory)

- L. R. V.

- Red Hickory

- Rockford

- Fairfield
  


Have a great week!



Please Note:  As with each of our blog writings, all imagery and text is copyrighted with All Rights Reserved.  The material may not be broadcast, published, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written permission from David E. Sneed, Wheels That Won The West® Archives, LLC

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Senter House Stagecoach

Some of America’s most attention-getting horse drawn vehicles are stagecoaches.  So much so, that individuals, museums, and especially businesses, like Wells Fargo, use these pieces as significant elements in advertising and promotions.  Of course, from East to West, there was an amazing variety of staging vehicles.  When it comes to the more recognized Concord-style coaches, though, there are generally three basic types – Hotel, City, and Western.  Each featured a triple reach design as well as a thoroughbrace suspension.  The heavy Concords were also built in a range of sizes including 6, 9, and 12 passenger configurations.  While thousands of stages were built across the U.S., according to well-known stagecoach historian, Ken Wheeling, less than 10% of the legendary Abbot–Downing Concords are known to have survived.  A number of them are showcased in Wells Fargo’s Historical Museums as well as other public and private collections.  (As a side note, I just received an email from Ken letting us known that he'll be profiling the oldest known surviving coach - no. XXXI - in the October 2016 issue of the "Carriage Journal."  As with all of his research, this is bound to be an interesting read.)


This rare Concord coach was ordered in 1850 by Curtis Coe for use at the Senter House in Center Harbor, NH.



Another survivor, a city coach built well over a century and a half ago, is cared for today by the Sandwich Historical Society in Sandwich, New Hampshire.  In 2017, the Society will celebrate its 100th Anniversary and, with that milestone in mind, it seemed like a good time to share a little more about this particular coach.  Inside our Archives is a piece originally published in the April 1904 issue of “The Carriage Monthly.”  On page 162 of that trade publication is a photograph showing this same nine-passenger stagecoach.  At the time, the Senter House Coach was already more than a half-century in age.  The image included the follow caption...      

“The accompanying cut represents a coach built by the Abbot-Downing Co., Concord, N.H., for a hotel at Center Harbor, N.H., known then as the Senter House.  The order was placed on April 20, 1850, and the completed vehicle was shipped June 15th of the same year.  The coach has been in continuous service since that time and the original linings and trimmings are in good condition : the same wheels are under it.  The most of the work was done by Major Downing himself who, in recent years has enjoyed many a ride in it.”

While the image caption above seems to indicate the coach was built by the joint Abbot-Downing firm, the vehicle was actually constructed while J. Stephens Abbot and Lewis Downing had gone separate ways.  The firm of L. Downing & Sons built the coach.  It is said that Major Lewis Downing, Jr. visited the coach in 1900 and claimed that, “with a few general repairs it will stand the racket for many years to come.”    

Like many other early resort communities, the Senter House was a large hotel using coaches for transporting guests and providing tours of the surrounding area.   The photo and details from the century-plus-old story is like so many other parts of our past.  It helps build and strengthen the provenance of the surviving coach while giving us a more complete picture of the era.  Likewise, it’s another example of why we devote so much time and energy to digging through and helping preserve early records.


Coach #84 was ordered in 1865 for the Butterfield Overland Despatch.



Looking at a slightly different-styled Concord; several years ago, I profiled a western mail stage in the Articles section of our website. The coach has an equally storied history and is currently housed in the Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville, Georgia.  Built in 1865, this Abbot-Downing survivor is number 84.  It was historically conserved in 2003 and offers a rare opportunity to see the wheeled West as it was.    

With several hundred period stagecoach photos already in our Archives, we continue to add rare, original images of these pieces to our collection on a regular basis.  Among the more recent acquisitions is a cabinet photo documenting the retirement of the ‘Good Intent’ stage line after completion of the Chartiers railroad in Pennsylvania.  This glimpse into yesterday will likely date to the early 1870’s and prominently features a Concord with 4 horse hitch, coach lamps, and leather boots, front and rear. 

More details on American stagecoaches can be found in a number of early books including “Stagecoach and Tavern Days” by Alice Morse Earle, “Six Horses” by Capt. William Banning and George Hugh Banning, and “Old Waybills” by Alvin F. Harlow.  Wells Fargo even has a more recent book entitled, “Time Well Kept” that includes several high quality images of Concord coaches in their history museums.  All of these and many others have a great deal to share about this part of our early transportation history.  Enjoy the reads!



Please Note:  As with each of our blog writings, all imagery and text is copyrighted with All Rights Reserved.  The material may not be broadcast, published, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written permission from David E. Sneed, Wheels That Won The West® Archives, LLC

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Chicago Wagons

From the moment the first wheel was built in America, there was a need in every community for reliable transportation.  In fact, period records focused on the wagon and carriage trade make it clear that vehicles for personal and business purposes were highly sought after.  As it turns out, some of the most legendary wagon makers were originally based in Chicago, Illinois.  Among the more notable brands are Peter Schuttler, Weber, Louis Palm, and Columbus.  Even Henry Mitchell (Mitchell Wagons) who ultimately made Racine, Wisconsin his home, started out in Chicago.  Of course, St. Louis often receives accolades as a major center for early transportation and the city certainly deserves the ‘Gateway to the West’ moniker.  However, Chicago was no stranger to the vehicle industry either, claiming more than 200 wagon and carriage makers during the heyday of horse-drawn vehicle making. 

With the U.S. economy supporting tens of thousands of vehicle builders in both the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, understanding all there is to know about just one manufacturer can be tough.  Yet, having an awareness of who did what, when, where, how, and why is just part of the role of any historian.  For me, it’s also been helpful in the evaluation process for vehicle purchases. 

A good deal of information that supports this process is contained in the original catalog collection housed in the Wheels That Won The West® Archives.  Even so, there are often gaps in tracking builders from year-to-year.  Those historians and collectors that do search for period literature know that finding wagon-maker brochures from a time just prior to the turn of the twentieth century can be a challenge.  Finding even earlier catalogs published before the 1890’s requires an extra dose of patience.  They are rarely found.  Looking even farther back in time, catalogs and promotional literature connected to the days of America’s Centennial or earlier are practically non-existent.  The result is that, when conducting research during these eras, we often have to rely on books, newspapers, and other accounts printed during the periods.  

To that point, I spend a fair amount of time rooting out forgotten facts wherever they can be found.  So it was that I recently came across a pre-Civil War story highlighting wagon makers in Chicago.  The article gives us some insights into a number of builders who saw and supported so much of America’s westward migration.  One example is the Weber Wagon Company.  After only a decade or so in business, it appears that, Henry Weber’s business was still relatively small.  In fact, prior to the 1860’s, Weber is said to have employed around 18 workers while finishing 200 wagons per year.  Even though the company built quality products, the earliest production numbers were quite modest, especially compared to the growth experienced after International Harvester bought the brand in 1904. 


Certain elements of Weber’s logo design and construction features were changed after the brand was purchased by International Harvester in 1904.



In contrast to Weber, after roughly a decade in business, the Peter Schuttler Wagon Company was a beehive of activity.  Its popularity was clear for all to see.  In fact, during this part of the 19th century, the brand was producing some 1800 (largely hand-built) wagons per year while employing at least a hundred men.  Many Schuttler wagons were sold to Mormons moving West at the time.  From employment to production, by the 1850’s, Schuttler was already more than 5 times larger than Weber.  It’s a point further reinforced by period accounts pointing to Schuttler as the largest factory serving the western trade at the time. (For a look at what they were building during these years, see my article on the Steamboat Arabia find in the ‘Article’ section of our website.  I also wrote an even more detailed look on this 1856 Schuttler in the January 2008 issue of the Carriage Journal magazine.)


Locating original wagons with large amounts of original paint is an increasingly difficult task.  This Peter Schuttler running gear at hansenwheel.com is a rare find. 



By the mid 1850’s, the city of Chicago was just under twenty years old.  Its population had swelled to near 80,000 and it was supported by less than a hundred vehicle builders – many of them of Germans who had yet to learn the English language.  Quality, though, is a universal language.  As folks saw the craftsmanship, attention to detail, and dependability of certain makes, they clamored for more.  The value packed into so many of these early icons was clear with the result being that, still today, the Peter Schuttler and Weber brands remain highly desirable to early vehicle collectors.  Even so, it’s difficult to find a Weber wagon built prior to the company’s purchase by International Harvester.  Nonetheless, from clothing and signage to the vehicles, themselves, collectors continue to scour the country looking for survivors that started out in Chicago. 



Please Note:  As with each of our blog writings, all imagery and text is copyrighted with All Rights Reserved.  The material may not be broadcast, published, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written permission from David E. Sneed, Wheels That Won The West® Archives, LLC

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Happy Birthday America!

Celebrating 240 years of freedom in America, Independence Day 2016 will be marked by countless events and activities across the country.  One hundred forty years ago, (1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia), the atmosphere was also ripe with excitement, expectation, and galas.  At this first World’s Fair, numerous new wagons and horse-drawn vehicles were shown.  In fact, many of the most prominent builders were there. 

Today, we still see auto makers making the most of special happenings.  Marketers even have a special term for it... ‘Event Marketing.’  A century and a half ago, it was called ‘survival.’  Manufacturers knew that to set themselves apart from a sea of makers, they had to aggressively promote their products to consumers.  While there are a few written records of the wagons and carriages shown, little is left of the actual vehicles exhibited during those days in Philadelphia.  Even so, a couple of years ago, we shared a few vehicle images that we’ve uncovered from that first World’s Fair.

As far as I’ve been able to determine, only one of more than six dozen wagons shown at the Fair has survived.  I published a brief look at that wagon on our website years ago.  As we continue to dig through forgotten images from flea markets, attics, antique stores, and other sources, we’ve been fortunate to continually uncover even more history from America’s first transportation industry.  We’ll be sharing some of that in upcoming blogs.  In the meantime, we have a great deal to be thankful for in this country and, as we celebrate the tremendous blessing of freedom, we wish you, your family, and friends a safe and memorable 4th of July celebration.  



Please Note:  As with each of our blog writings, all imagery and text is copyrighted with All Rights Reserved.  The material may not be broadcast, published, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written permission from David E. Sneed, Wheels That Won The West® Archives, LLC

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Mitchell Wagon Company Closes in Racine

One of the most prominent names from America’s early western transportation industry is ‘Mitchell.’  Building countless farm, freight, ranch, stage, business, and family vehicles, Mitchell was a well-known brand on the American frontier.  So successful was the firm that, in its 75th year alone, it produced 1.5 million dollars in business.  A handful of years later, the company sold to a group of eastern investors who changed the name from the Mitchell-Lewis Wagon Company to the Mitchell Wagon Company.  So, if you happen to own a ‘Mitchell-Lewis’ wagon, you immediately know it will be over a century in age.  As a bit of background, the ‘Lewis’ portion of the brand was added after founder, Henry Mitchell’s son-in-law, William T. Lewis, joined the firm in 1864. 

Even with the fanfare attached to the sale to eastern capitalists, within just a few years, the big wagon factory at Racine, Wisconsin fell silent.  Capturing that moment, in August of 1917, “The Hub” published a notice outlining the ending of an era at Racine.  As noted in the articles below, John Deere ultimately purchased the rights to the brand.  Industry directories in the Wheels That Won The West® Archives show that Deere continued building the Mitchell brand in its own factories through the late 1940’s.

Here’s the August, 1917 article from “The Hub.”

“The Mitchell Wagon Co., of Racine, Wis., which was founded in 1855, has ceased to exist, as it was liquidated on July 14.  All stock and much machinery has been sold to Deere and Co., for its plant at Fort Smith, Ark., and the buildings have been taken over by the Mitchell Motors Co., where automobile bodies will be constructed.

Deere & Co., have assumed the obligation of the Mitchell Wagon Co. to its customers to replace defective parts on wagons sold during the last year.  Arrangements are also being made to supply wagon parts from the regular Mitchell patterns to Mitchell customers throughout the country.  Correspondence with reference to Mitchell wagon repairs should be addressed to the John Deere Wagon Works, Moline, Ill.

The Mitchell Wagon Co. was founded by Henry Mitchell in 1855 and a few years later his two sons, Henry and Frank, and two sons-in-law, William T. Lewis and Calvin T. Sinclair, became associated with him in the great industry.  The factory buildings covered 20 acres of land. 

In 1910 the Mitchell Wagon Co. merged with the Mitchell Automobile Co. and automobiles and farm and spring wagons were manufactured.  Three years ago there was a dissolution, one syndicate taking over the automobile plant and the other the wagon plant.  All of the men who were interested in the original company, excepting Frank L. Mitchell, have passed away.”

Some will note that the article above dates the company’s inception to 1855.  This is a reference to the company’s beginnings at Racine, Wisconsin.  The actual start of the firm is tied to the year 1834 at Fort Dearborn (Chicago).  Henry Mitchell moved his business about a decade or so later to Kenosha, Wisconsin and then finally to Racine, Wisconsin.  Adding a bit more detail to the August sale report above is this earlier piece from June of 1917...

“The directors of the Mitchell Wagon Co., Racine, Wis., have decided to discontinue the manufacture of wagons and have disposed of the greater part of the wagon stock which it was their policy to keep constantly on hand.  The wagon business has been carried on by a separate and distinct corporation since the reorganization of the Mitchell Motors Co., two or three years ago.  The wagon company is in sound financial condition and the decision to discontinue manufacturing is a result of present conditions in the wagon trade which have convinced the owners that it is not advisable to continue.  Mitchell wagons have been among the leaders in high grade farm wagons for about 70 years.”


This high wheel, Mitchell wagon is part of Doug Hansen’s personal collection.  It retains an impressive amount of original paint and is an extraordinary surviving example of the brand. 



Clearly, as the years rolled by, the investors in Mitchell could see the writing on the wall.  Times were changing and advancements in farming and the automobile were affecting the way folks looked at horse-drawn wagons.  Even so, where the business didn’t make sense for some, it proved to be a smart opportunity for others.  John Deere already had multiple wagon factories with plenty of capacity.  The purchase of Mitchell allowed Deere to further capitalize on the legacy of a powerful brand without adding significant overhead costs.  Similar manufacturing and marketing tactics took place a few years later when powerhouse brands like Peter Schuttler, Studebaker, Bain, and more were sold to other wagon makers who continued marketing those heralded labels from their own factories.  Today, these efficiency practices are replicated with factories often producing multiple brands of products – whether they be cars, boats, food products or any number of other goods. 



The original Mitchell logos on these sideboards are accompanied by signage for the selling dealer as well.



On another note, a few weeks ago, I encouraged folks to write in and share about some of their latest projects and happenings.  I’m happy to pass along a few of those emails today...  Texas Cowboy, Glenn Moreland, is in the midst of restoring a 2-seat, mountain hack built by Hesse and Son from Leavenworth, Kansas.  He’s also in the process of bringing a buggy built by Hynes Buggy Co. of Quincy, Illinois back to life.  As a bit of a side note, our research shows that the Hynes Buggy Company was established in 1869 and went out of business on October 31, 1914.  Glenn shared that both pieces are from a local ranch that was settled over a 100 years ago.  They’ve been in a barn for the last 70 or 80 years.  Great to hear from you Glenn and congrats on what we know will be quality restoration work. 


This image of a Yellowstone Touring Coach shows the original number and lettering uncovered during conservation work being done at HWWS. 



Elsewhere, Doug Hansen and his team at Hansen Wheel & Wagon Shop are working on an original Yellowstone Touring Coach.  While engaged in the conservation and restoration efforts, the crew found a fair amount of original paint under multiple layers of re-paintings from years gone by.  Equally significant, they’ve also uncovered the original maker marks from the legendary firm of Abbot-Downing in Concord, New Hampshire.  It’s always good to see valuable history uncovered and preserved. 


This photo of the Yellowstone coach shows the seats and top removed as the coach undergoes a blend of conservation and restoration efforts.



Underneath years of repainting, the team at Hansen Wheel & Wagon Shop found the original maker marks from Abbot-Downing on this Yellowstone coach.



Finally, we’d like to congratulate Jerry Maclin, the new owner/collector of both an original, high wheel Peter Schuttler and also a high wheel Bain wagon we had on-site.  Both vehicle brands carry tremendous heritage and each will date to the earlier 1900’s.  As many know, our ‘For Sale’ inventory is always changing and the website listings are rarely inclusive of all the vehicles we have available.  Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you’re looking for something in particular.  From original Conestoga sideboards to a rare turn-of-the-century high wheel, Schuttler with 42 inch bolsters, we’re committed to both collecting and selling pieces with distinction.


Jerry Maclin is the new owner of this 93-year-old, high wheel, Schuttler wagon.



Stay tuned!  We have even more discoveries and details on early wagons and western vehicles slated for future blogs.  In the meantime, give us a shout if you have a special project or set of wheels you’d like to share.  It’s always great to hear from you.
  


Please Note:  As with each of our blog writings, all imagery and text is copyrighted with All Rights Reserved.  The material may not be broadcast, published, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written permission from David E. Sneed, Wheels That Won The West® Archives, LLC

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

More Early Vehicle Discoveries

Last week, I shared a little about authenticity in early horse-drawn vehicles as well as the importance of tying those wheels to the correct time period.  Little did I know that I was about to come face-to-face with several exceptional examples of that message.  Each piece was another reminder of the importance to keep our eyes open as we travel.  With all that’s been found over the decades, I believe there’s still a lot to be uncovered – and, as you’ll see – among them are some great pieces to study.

This past month, I’ve been on the road a fair amount and, in that time, I’ve had an opportunity to stop by Doug Hansen’s shop in Letcher, South Dakota twice.  Even so, my average span between visits there is more along the lines of once every five or six years.  One of the most impressive parts of a trip like this is that there is always a host of history to take in.  You never know what you’ll run across in the shop or, for that matter, during any trip away from home. 

This Weber Damme wagon will date to the 1860’s and offers a truly rare look into farm style wagons from that era.

  
While I was in South Dakota, I had the privilege of seeing an extremely early Weber & Damme brand wagon.  Established in 1861, Weber & Damme (W/D) is one of a number of legendary St. Louis makers with lengthy histories.  In fact, the W/D shops were located just a short distance from both the Luedinghaus/Espenschied and Gestring wagon factories. 

The condition of the W/D wagon was far from exceptional but it was understandable since the vehicle will easily date to the very early 1870’s and more likely be from the 1860’s.  Yes, that is a very objective and supportable timeframe.  In fact, the iron and woodwork have so many clues pointing to this period that this could actually be one of the first wagons the company built.  I doubt there is an earlier survivor from this firm.  The through-bolted construction includes extra hound irons on a banded reach, 54 inch rear wheels with a 1 ½ inch tire width, extra wide floor and lower sideboards, wider point bands on the hubs as well as heavily worn fore sections to the circle irons.  The more I looked at this rolling artifact, the more it seemed the piece could have been built during or just after the Civil War.  While it was not originally equipped with bow staples (those on it had been added later), the overall wagon is largely reminiscent of many that would have traveled overland with pioneer families looking for a fresh start in the West.  Even though it wasn’t in the best of shape, it was still standing and functioning – a remarkable reminder of everyday transportation 150 years ago.

This NOS Stoughton sideboard shows the power of color and art in attracting early wagon buyers to the brand.


Pristine designs and vibrant colors dominate this hand painted, century-old piece of transportation history.


As amazing as it was to see such a rare, early piece, I was also intrigued to see elements from a wagon that was a half century newer than the Weber-Damme.  Many readers of this blog share a passion for collecting anything related to old wagons and will understand the term ‘New Old Stock’ (NOS).  Finding period pieces that were never used, whether it be a set of wheels, a doubletree, spring seat, or even sideboards is a rare treat for any collector.  Even before I had arrived at Hansen Wheel & Wagon Shop, Doug told me in a phone call that he had a “little” find he wanted to share with me.  In my mind, I figured he had found a special buggy tag or maybe even an old sign.  I soon found out that my expectations were too small.  When I rolled onto the shop grounds, there were NOS sideboards for not one but, TWO different Stoughton wagons sitting just outside the office.  Wow!  They were beautiful.  Stoughton dated their beginnings to 1865 when the Stoughton, Wisconsin factory was actually home to the T.G. Mandt wagon.  When Mandt decided to take his patents and name elsewhere, the Stoughton shops began producing the “Stoughton” brand.  The sideboards were treasures that Doug had just acquired and they were quite a study in originality.  Yes, I’ll admit to shamelessly coveting the sideboards and ‘No’ they aren’t for sale – I already checked! 

As incredible as it may seem to find NOS sideboards for a two-horse Stoughton wagon, this set for a one-horse Stoughton is truly an all-but-impossible find.


Even though these sideboards are backlit by the sun in this photo, it’s still easy to see the impressive nature of such a connection to our past.



While in Letcher, I also had the opportunity to tour Dvonne Hansen’s leather works and antique saddle collection.  What a treat!  Both areas show extraordinary depth and creative ingenuity.  In fact, with a lifetime of leather-working experience, Dvonne is a true artisan.  Her schooled hands and keen sense of design are seen in countless pieces throughout the buildings on her grounds.  Not only is her work widely sought-after but, Doug (son), often calls on her expertise with special coach, carriage, and wagon projects.  We were privileged to have her help securing period leather for use within the conservation work done on our stage wagon earlier this year.  A special thanks to Dvonne for taking time out of her day to educate this Arkansan on so much history.

Dvonne Hansen stands in the doorway of an early school house on her property.  It houses dozens of period saddles and other western artifacts she’s meticulously curated.



On the trip home from South Dakota, I made a few more stops and ran across still another amazing find... a complete, new old stock Columbus brand wagon.  Columbus is an International Harvester (IHC) brand that many will recognize as the mid-priced alternative to a Weber wagon.  Like Weber, the Columbus brand also pre-dates IHC’s ownership of the company.  Staring at the crisp edges on the wood, the bright, unworn paint, and stenciling that looked like it had just been applied, I was taken aback.  From Doug Hansen’s shop to other stops along the road, it’s been quite a while since I took a trip and saw this much original history just waiting to share its secrets.

Unlike the painted New Stoughton logo, this NOS Columbus wagon uses a pre-printed transfer, called a decalcomine.


This image of the Columbus wagon gives a good idea of the paint condition.  I would estimate that the wagon still has 99.9% of its original paint.



With all that I’ve reported here, there were even more finds on the trip after I left South Dakota... including an 1880’s-era Studebaker Mountain Wagon and an early 1900’s Peter Schuttler logging wagon.  It was a lot to take in but, again, a powerful reminder that there are still a number of discoveries waiting to be made.  The study of each helps us better understand transportation history and pass along proper interpretation of each part. 

While I was traveling, I received several emails and hope to pass along even more wagon-related happenings in the coming weeks.  In the meantime, thanks again for your visits.  It’s always good to hear from you.    



Please Note:  As with each of our blog writings, all imagery and text is copyrighted with All Rights Reserved.  The material may not be broadcast, published, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written permission from David E. Sneed, Wheels That Won The West® Archives, LLC