Once we had the wagon on site, I made a closer examination and the extent of the treatment was unbelievable. This wasn’t just a tough, dense and heavy caked-on finish that clung to the gear, it appeared to be multiple concentrations of encrusted tar or perhaps even deposits of creosote. The solid coating was applied directly over the existing grease, dirt, manure, grain, sand, paint, hair, seeds, and feathers (yes, feathers!!) that were stuck to the wheels and undercarriage.
The photos above show the before-and-after look of one of the 52” rear wheels. While there are still details to finish on this wheel and the rest of the gear, it’s easy to see the difference. What a transformation! The reversal of so much over-treatment to the surface means this piece will soon be able to be showcased as a rare, turn-of-the-century high wheel Schuttler in exceptional condition. Its ultra-narrow 1 ½” tire, through-bolted construction, near full circle iron, and wider 60” track all add to its legacy as a unique and noteworthy example of early wagon design. As time allows, we’ll try to share even more progress by occasionally highlighting the work involved in bringing back the surviving finish of this Chicago made legend on wheels.