Wednesday, June 4, 2014

More Moline Discoveries

In keeping with our pledge to share more on the Giant Moline farm wagon should we come across additional details, below is a scanned section from another of our more recent acquisitions.  As you may recall, in our January 8th and February 12, 2014 blog posts, I shared some best-guesses on the uses of this wagon beyond its initial appearance at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis.  After locating multiple photos of the wagon as it was shown at two additional fair venues (Minnesota & Nebraska), it was a safe bet that the Moline Wagon Company had kicked off a multi-level promotional campaign beginning with the huge celebration at St. Louis.

The assumption that the actual Giant Moline was used for years as a promotional tool can now be considered a fact.  It’s one more element of America’s early wagon history we’ve been fortunate to help uncover and confirm.  The photo above shows a portion of a two-sided promotional flyer given out during the tour of fairs attended by the massive wagon.  While the front of the hand-out shows an image taken during the St. Louis event, the back further explains the involvement of this goliath-sized set of wheels in fair events occurring after the 1904 Exposition in St. Louis.  The flyer further outlines the significance of the wagon as it was built to help illustrate the proportioned balance and engineered design strengths of every Moline wagon.  This promotion was likely among the last significant marketing campaigns for the legendary brand; a brand that had become well-known for building premium quality farm, freight, ranch, mining, business, and logging designs for generations.  Less than a handful of years after the close of this promotional tour, the Moline factory was purchased by John Deere with the Deere label ultimately replacing Moline as the top-of-the-line offering from the company.

The image above shows a loaded “New Moline Ironclad” wagon.  Dating to around 1910 or slightly earlier, the full photo shows a number of the design’s construction advantages.  As with the thousands of other images in our Wheels That Won The West® Archives, each offers information helping us to better understand the realities of the day.  Ultimately, we share so many of these discoveries because it serves to help grow appreciation for the intricate and complicated nature of early wagon manufacturing and marketing.  For wood-wheeled vehicle collectors, knowing the differences and distinctions that set the most coveted pieces apart has become increasingly important.  Our archives not only house a world of visual and informational history for countless brands, but simultaneously help restore identities, authenticity, recognition, and appreciation for these rolling survivors of America's past. 

We’ve recently made a number of other early vehicle discoveries and hope to share more in upcoming posts.  In the meantime, if you have a question or subject you’d like to see covered sometime, drop us an email and we’ll do our best to help.