Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Early American Wagon Technology

The study of America’s early wagons doesn’t just intrigue me - it has a massive depth that humbles me. 

For the past few months, I’ve been working on a presentation for the upcoming symposium on horse-drawn vehicles presented by the Carriage Association of America and Colonial Williamsburg.  I was initially asked to present details related to the hauling of military ordnance on the American frontier.  Ultimately, I do plan to report a bit on that topic but the area that truly fascinates me is that of technology and design innovation in the world of wooden wagons.

For many, it probably sounds a bit strange to connect the thought of ‘technology’ to horse-drawn wagons.  In truth, there is a lot we can learn by dissecting these old pieces.  As with today’s automobiles, every part of these rolling workhorses was driven by a design need.  As a result, every part had a beginning.  Understanding the why's, when's, and how's of these areas can be invaluable when we’re evaluating a timeframe of manufacture, authenticity traits, originality claims, brand identity, and even vehicle provenance.

While I’m looking forward to the presentation, I’m also looking forward to reconnecting with colleagues and meeting new friends.  Hope to see you there.

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