Wednesday, March 27, 2013

À l'œuvre, on connaît l'artisan

It was out of a desire to know more about early western vehicles that, nearly two decades ago, we began searching for greater information on the subject.  While it began as a hobby, the depth of study has driven our files of primary source research materials much deeper.  In fact, the pursuit has grown to include literally thousands of period photos, original catalogs, broadsides, and promotional and business pieces related to heavy wood-wheeled vehicle makers in the U.S.  No matter how much we discover, though, I never cease to be amazed – and humbled – at how much more there is to learn.  The search for more details about America’s earliest and largest transportation industry is truly never-ending.  The good news is that the quest often turns up extraordinary pieces tied to some of the most exciting eras of American history.  

Recently, the value of our commitment to constantly learn and grow our archives was reinforced as our Wheels That Won The West® collection (WTWTW) of images and information was tapped by the leading French equestrian publication, “Attelages” magazine.  Profiled in an extensive article entitled, “The Conquest of the West,” by Stephan Broeckx, a number of period western vehicle images and historical highlights were selected from our archives.  The story introduction is dominated by a WTWTW photo showing an early freight wagon pulled by a unique hitch of 5 horses.  Other photographic highlights from our files include an early mud coach in Oregon, a small wagon shop in Wisconsin, a surviving Peter Schuttler wagon and a Fish Bros. wagon, restored by Hansen Wheel and Wagon Shop, that we were able to assist with dating, authentication and restoration details. 

In addition to our weekly blog and regular additions of original articles on our website, we expect to have several other articles printed by additional publications this year.  Combined with the upcoming Volume 2 edition of our “Borrowed Time” western vehicle book series (Peter Schuttler), we’re busy sharing even more exclusive and little-known history.  We’re pleased to continue to help fill a niche by showcasing so many of the vehicles that helped build America.
In keeping with the spirit of the recent French article, the title of this blog is À l'œuvre, on connaît l'artisan.  Roughly translated, it’s a reminder that the craftsman is known by his work.  It’s our hope that, along with so many other historians and enthusiasts, our ephemeral archeology and historical preservation work will ultimately be viewed as beneficial research for generations to come.