Without question, one of the most important aspects of sustainable research is impartiality. It’s the same commitment to objectivity that has helped our Wheels That Won The West® Archives uncover so many early wagon-related facts and details. One of the latest finds is a photograph that we initially believed would date to around 1870 (We’ll share more about that in next week’s post). The image shows a group of men in a camp setting, gathered around a wagon fitted with chuck boxes. From the weapons and clothing shown in the photo to the wagon, candle lantern and overall trappings, the period image is rich with material for study.
At first glance all seems normal about the wagon; high wheel, square edge narrow tire, pantry up front and what appears to be a hasp for another chuck box at the rear of the wagon. Closer inspection, though, clearly shows a bolster spring positioned between the rocking bolster and wagon box. Another can be seen mounted above the rear bolster. This is significant because it appears to be the earliest image known to show bolster springs in use – especially on a wagon with chuck boxes.
We’ll cover more on this rare, information-filled image next week as we profile some of the process utilized in determining a date for the image.