With 2016 coming to a close, we thought we’d highlight a few of our discoveries from the year. As I’ve shared before, the search for lost and forgotten history can be full of long, dry spells punctuated by the surprise-filled excitement of truly rare finds. As Forrest Gump might say, “It’s like a box of choc-lates!” Ultimately, it’s virtually impossible to predict what will be uncovered or learned next.
Nonetheless, 2016 left us with a wealth of finds. Among those was the discovery of two, previously unknown patents granted for Sheep Camp wagons – one from the nineteenth and the other from the twentieth century. Hidden deep inside a number of issues of “The Hub,” “The Carriage Monthly,” and other old trade journals, we found even more answers to questions tied to America's horse-drawn history. In one instance, we stumbled upon primary source evidence showing what finally happened to the Giant (double-sized) Moline wagon first shown at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. It was used for years in cross-country promotions but over the last century appeared to have simply vanished. After featuring the research in our September 21st blog, the search for this iconic promotional piece can finally be put to rest. In other discoveries, we were equally fortunate to acquire an extremely rare Studebaker-branded wrench made specifically for both sets of nuts on Archibald wheels. While visiting a friend in Mississippi, we also came across a set of 1917 NOS Studebaker Military Ambulance harness (still in the crate).
On other fronts, our Wheels That Won The West® archives added a host of original vehicle maker photos to the files. Along with those glimpses into yesterday, our roster of period catalogs, signs, correspondence, and even vehicles also grew considerably. During the latter part of the year, we ran across several intriguing images of Concord-style coaches. The stages in these photos include distinctive features that may ultimately confirm them to be rare views into the world of stagecoaches built in Troy, New York. Perhaps most importantly, we were able to reunite a number of folks with the history of their vehicle through our brand authentication and identification services. It’s always rewarding to help bring lost provenance back to a set of wheels.
All in all, it’s been a full year of tracking down a wide assortment of history from America’s first transportation industry. Again and again, these types of mysteries have a way of fueling our research and recovery efforts. So, as we look forward to 2017, we thank you for your regular visits to our website and blog as well as the opportunity to share even more discoveries in the days ahead.
Wishing you, your family, and friends a safe, memorable, and very Merry Christmas!
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