Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Wheels That Won The West® Updates

Most weeks, this blog is filled with behind-the-scenes details related to western vehicles created a century or more ago.  This week, the thoughts are still related to those early pieces, but I wanted to share some more current news related to our website.
We’re in the middle of a number of site changes that are expected to launch this week.  From the beginning, our desire has been to show America’s early western transportation industry for what it was… and still is!  It’s an intricate blend of extraordinary art, science, dreams, devotion, and sweat equity surrounded by a heritage of real world challenges and unforgiving competition.  For me, it’s the most intriguing segment of the Old West because it dramatically impacted virtually every aspect of it.
Conveying those truths has sometimes been difficult since there are a number of misconceptions about the industry, the vehicles, and the times.  One of our primary goals for the Wheels That Won The West® Archives has been to actively search for lost details on brands memorably tied to the development of the American West.  Honestly, it’s not easy.  The journey requires a tremendous investment of time and resources and most of the efforts go unseen.  Fortunately, the passion I have for this subject is its own fuel and that drive continues to uncover some pretty amazing material; the bulk of which is preserved for other projects and often not included in these blogs. 

This screenshot shows some of the rich imagery and storyline details that have been incorporated into the Wheels That Won The West® website.

With that in mind and, in an effort to better explain who we are and what we do, we’ve been working on a number of noticeable changes to the ‘Wheels’ website.  The homepage has undergone a complete overhaul and is designed to more effectively convey the depth, artistry, and complexity of heavy horse-drawn vehicles from the 19th and early 20th centuries.  With such a broad base of original, primary source materials at our fingertips, the site is also fashioned to expound on a world of exclusive Vehicle Services.  Details can be found in the ‘Records & Research’ as well as the ‘Presentation & Media’ sections.  All of it should be more mobile-friendly, so you can take us with you anywhere.

You’ll note the ‘Articles’ section has been updated to include even more of our writings.  With several hundred pieces penned to date, this new section clearly doesn’t include everything we’ve written but at least it’s a start.  Finally, I’m working on material for a special section we’ve entitled, “Search & Rescue,” that will ultimately include information on unique present-day western vehicle finds.  I continue to believe that we may be the last generation with any hope of locating and recognizing remaining survivors tied to the development of the West.  This feature is currently linking to the ‘Articles’ section but will eventually become a separate source of vehicle information.

This is a ‘soft launch’ of the new site – meaning that we’re still working on other areas and some of the link-to pages will be changing as we move forward.  Nonetheless, it seemed noteworthy to let everyone know of the new look.
Other projects on our front burner include an upcoming article for Farm Collector magazine and a final report documenting the restoration of a rare and transitional John Deere wagon that we worked on with the folks at Hansen Wheel & Wagon Shop.  In this project, our files were tapped for access to ultra-rare logos, striping, and other authentication elements.  We also have a few original running gears in the shop that are slated to have darkened linseed oil removed while preserving the original paint. 

Finally, as of late last year, my wife and I are officially grandparents so we’ve been working on backyard playground plans.  Yes, I know, the kid isn’t even crawling yet but let’s not let details get in the way of fun!
We appreciate your continued support, encouragement, and suggestions.  If you’ve been reading this blog for a while and have yet to introduce yourself, please drop us a line.  We really would be glad to hear from you.  Have a great week!