New Starts

Published by: David Sneed, Wheels That Won The West® Archives, LLC
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Starting a new year reminds me that every day is full of fresh opportunities to learn while adding even more interesting experiences to the life we’ve been given.  For western vehicle enthusiasts, it’s another shot at exploring, locating and helping preserve the kind of history that played a vital role in the growth of the American West.  To get it all done, all we need to do is to dig… and dig and dig some more.  It’s a process that takes persistence and a readiness to be open to the facts as they fall.  In the absence of unfounded assumptions, the rewards can be surprising.  It’s a lesson that’s helped us open doors to even more rare imagery and information about brands like Moline, Studebaker, Peter Schuttler, Ft. Smith, Jackson, Winona, Weber, Mogul, Mitchell, Kentucky, Old Hickory and so many more in 2012.

Among the more intriguing finds we’ve had in the past year or so have been a series of rare freight wagon tintypes.  One, in particular, has invoked a fair amount of curiosity with questions related to the vehicle’s design and - more specifically - to possible evolutionary clues between the legendary Conestoga freight wagons and the tall-sided freighters that ultimately dominated so much of the western frontier.  Other interesting acquisitions include several cattle-drive-era chuck wagon images as well as a rare photo we’ve identified as a trio of Peter Schuttler freight wagons on the Fort Pierre to Deadwood trail (circa 1880).  We’ll unveil the first glimpses of this photo as another Wheels That Won The West® exclusive in the upcoming Volume 2 edition of our “Borrowed Time” western vehicle book series.
 As we begin this new year, we’re already actively engaged in researching a surviving Montana freight wagon, studying details on early iron wagons, searching for a specific nineteenth century Studebaker gear, exploring multiple mud coach designs and continuing to collect some of the rarest details on St. Louis work vehicles from the mid to late 1800’s.  It’s a process that continues to yield important insights into America’s first transportation industry and we’re pleased to share from these discoveries within our blog, e-newsletters, publications and speaking engagements.  So stay tuned.  If the past is any indicator, I’m confident 2013 will yield even more answers in our quest to know more about America’s early western wheels.

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