Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Wagon scales, in particular, were used in both pit and pitless configurations. In each scenario, the wagon would be driven across a large, flat and balanced surface which was connected to the balance beam of a scale. The vehicle would be weighed both empty as well as with the entire load. The difference between the two sums told the scale operator the amount of material in the wagon.
Other than images from century-old advertisements, it’s difficult to find these types of scales today. Since many of these wagon scales sat outside, they have typically succumbed to the deteriorating effects of time and weather.
The circa 1880 scale and housing shown here is part of an interpretive presentation within a small portion of the Wheels That Won The West® collection. Incredibly, the scales were found packed inside wooden shipping boxes, still in their original straw and paper wrappings; a rare, unused find that helps reinforce the legendary purpose and legacy of heavier, wood wheeled horse drawn vehicles.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
One segment that saw a wealth of changes involved the foundation of every wagon - the wheel. While some of the evolution in this area took place in the 1700 and 1800’s, other modifications occurred in the 20th century. A good example lies with the conversion by many users from wooden wheels to rubber tires or, more specifically, from steel-tired wooden wheels to rubber-tired steel rims. The transition was understandable. Times had changed and, especially during a good part of the 1920’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and even 60’s, wooden wagons were predominantly used on farms and/or improved roads. Users wanted a smooth, quiet ride that was lower to the ground, typically being more stable and easier to load than the higher wheeled wagons.
The photos shown in this blog feature a set of these skein adaptors that were originally purchased in the 1930’s to be used on a high wheel wagon. These kits included five bolts that connected to the wheel rim while the sleeve, itself, slid over the wagon skein and was held on by the skein nut. The system was extremely efficient and allowed for quick modifications without permanently altering the original wheels belonging to the wagon. Simple, effective and modestly priced, these adaptors also allowed the wagon to be used as a trailer on improved roads. It was one more feature that extended the use of vintage wooden wagons well into 20th century America.