In a previous blog post, we talked about a number of differences that can set vintage dead axle wagons apart from each other. Among those distinctions are areas that might be termed ‘options’ for these vehicles. Looking through the aged pages of period catalogs, just what was considered to be equipment or feature upgrades with many makers – particularly of farm, emigrant and ranch-style wagons?
Certainly bows and bow staples were accessories. While it may be tempting to look at this feature as somewhat of an age indicator, truth is that it has less to do with age and more to do with region, vehicle purpose/use and vehicle type. There are certainly examples of surviving farm-style wagon boxes from the 1870’s that were never equipped with bow staples.
Other areas of the wagon that were generally considered options and, as such, commanded an upcharge to the base vehicle price are the footboard, brake style & hardware, rough lock chain & associated hardware, drag shoe, spring eat, type of rear end gate, neck yoke, doubletree & singletrees, stay chains, extra box sides, scoop board, tire rivets, tire bolts, larger tire widths, track widths, bois’d arc wheels, steel extension skeins, skein size, reach type (rotating, banded, slip), box tighteners, bolster springs and tongue springs.
Ultimately, elements that constitute an “accessory” can sometimes lead to questions as to why one vehicle has a feature and another doesn’t. It’s an era worthy note as these distinctions play important roles in the provenance, character and overall personality of each set of wheels.