Monday, December 24, 2012
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Wagon scales, in particular, were used in both pit and pitless configurations. In each scenario, the wagon would be driven across a large, flat and balanced surface which was connected to the balance beam of a scale. The vehicle would be weighed both empty as well as with the entire load. The difference between the two sums told the scale operator the amount of material in the wagon.
Other than images from century-old advertisements, it’s difficult to find these types of scales today. Since many of these wagon scales sat outside, they have typically succumbed to the deteriorating effects of time and weather.
The circa 1880 scale and housing shown here is part of an interpretive presentation within a small portion of the Wheels That Won The West® collection. Incredibly, the scales were found packed inside wooden shipping boxes, still in their original straw and paper wrappings; a rare, unused find that helps reinforce the legendary purpose and legacy of heavier, wood wheeled horse drawn vehicles.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
One segment that saw a wealth of changes involved the foundation of every wagon - the wheel. While some of the evolution in this area took place in the 1700 and 1800’s, other modifications occurred in the 20th century. A good example lies with the conversion by many users from wooden wheels to rubber tires or, more specifically, from steel-tired wooden wheels to rubber-tired steel rims. The transition was understandable. Times had changed and, especially during a good part of the 1920’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and even 60’s, wooden wagons were predominantly used on farms and/or improved roads. Users wanted a smooth, quiet ride that was lower to the ground, typically being more stable and easier to load than the higher wheeled wagons.
The photos shown in this blog feature a set of these skein adaptors that were originally purchased in the 1930’s to be used on a high wheel wagon. These kits included five bolts that connected to the wheel rim while the sleeve, itself, slid over the wagon skein and was held on by the skein nut. The system was extremely efficient and allowed for quick modifications without permanently altering the original wheels belonging to the wagon. Simple, effective and modestly priced, these adaptors also allowed the wagon to be used as a trailer on improved roads. It was one more feature that extended the use of vintage wooden wagons well into 20th century America.
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
One of the great aspects of our library of original vehicle images is that it is a living archive with regular additions and discoveries. To that point, within some of our more recent acquisitions is an original cabinet card showing an ox train pulling Peter Schuttler brand freight wagons. The location of the late 1870’s western image was captured on a well-known and historic part of the American frontier (we’ll share more in the book). Ultimately, the timeframe, itself, is such a significant period within America’s western legacy that it gives me pause every time I peer into the photo. Combined with numerous other ultra-scarce images of Peter Schuttler freight wagons and ranch wagons as well as farm and emigrant wagons, this next book in the series is sure to be a strong reference for years to come.
While Volume 2 is slated to feature the most coverage of the legendary Schuttler brand to date, other sections of the upcoming book are also scheduled to include more profiles of different makers and vehicle types as well as technology, vintage photo essays and much more. Clearly, the upcoming edition will have numerous vehicle details not generally available to western enthusiasts and we’re pleased to share so many rare elements previously unseen by contemporary audiences. Thank you, again, to all who have added the first Volume of this series to their collection. As the only series exclusively devoted to wagons and western vehicles, we remain committed to helping shed even more light on such an important part of America’s western frontier.
Legendary western actor and artist, Buck Taylor recently acquired Volume One of the “Borrowed Time” book series for his own library.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Ultimately, when gauging the best approach between preservation, conservation and restoration efforts, it can be helpful to obtain assistance from those who specialize in these evaluations. With any new collector-quality ‘find’ it’s very possible that some work may need to be performed. However, there is a growing recognition from many that measured caution and careful assessments should prevail prior to changing original elements of a vehicle.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
So it was in July of 1918, during the last months of fighting in WW1, that Charles Lavers of Canada submitted his idea for quickly repairing steel axle wagons. The concept seemed to be particularly focused on military needs, especially those related to heavy gun limbers, ammunition vehicles and army escort wagons. Spelled out in the old government archives is the dual-use concept of employing a spare axle and spindle as a lifting jack to both repair and subsequently replace broken steel axles quickly. Purportedly, once a broken axle was raised, it could then be temporarily propped up, the lifting jack removed and re-used as a new axle section by clamping it in place over the broken axle. Further, each spindle was to be fitted with both right and left hand threads, thereby accommodating use on either side of the wagon.
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Often, the early vehicles at these events will have some type of change or adaptation from their original production design. Once the levels of originality and authenticity have been established, though, it’s easier to spot distinctive features specifically related to the brand… and, while a visual dissection of each set of wheels usually takes some time, the larger number of vehicles on site makes these locations a great place to conduct side by side evaluations of not only different brands but those from the same maker as well. Inevitably, there will be differences that help us to better understand the vehicle and more readily recognize important features.
The next time you’re at a vehicle auction, take some extra moments to look closer at the differences between similar vehicles. It’s a practice that will ultimately – and inevitably – uncover important details that not only help to better understand and appreciate these work horses on wheels but, can also play a key role in preventing buyer’s remorse down the road.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Within a few years, the world wide web had grown to sufficient bandwidth and postings that it began to be more useful in locating primary source materials. (A word of caution and a reminder here that while the internet is full of information, not every posting on-line can be supported by facts.)
The Wheels That Won The West® Archives started with one book purchased in the mid-1990’s. Today, this extensive resource is made up of hundreds of rare books and even more original catalogs and early sales materials. Combined with thousands of primary source images, the collection has become an essential aspect of our research and ability to share historically accurate details with western vehicle enthusiasts the world over.
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
This single box (one set of sideboards) Mitchell wagon still retains remnants of the original logo and paint on the box as well as the original brake assembly and shafts. Likely dating to the early 1900’s, the wagon’s completeness, condition and brand, itself, make it a unique surviving piece. (More details on traits that impact values of early wagons and western vehicles can be found in Volume One of the “Borrowed Time” book series)
Likewise, the Montgomery Ward pony wagon shown immediately above and below is also a rare and seldom-seen piece. While it doesn’t carry as much age as the Mitchell mentioned in this post, there are other features of significant importance, not the least of which is its overall quality and condition as well as the vehicle type and originality levels. Our thanks to Bill Nigg for sharing this exceptional example from his collection. According to his measurements, the wheels of the wagon stand at 34 inches (front) and 36 inches (rear). The box specs out at 7 feet in length by 30 inches in width with the bottom sideboard depth stretching 8 inches and the top board being 5.25 inches.
Each of these wagons is a great surviving example from America’s first transportation industry. A period so intense with competition that the lessons learned then still have relevance today. Thank you to the Woodfords and Bill Nigg for sharing these two vehicles from their collections.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
While our archive collection of literature contains a number of Mandt sales pieces, I’ve yet to come across the ideal Mandt wagon for our vehicle collection. Someday maybe. In the meantime, there is much to be shared before this subject, like so much of our individual and collective heritage, is forgotten and unreachable.