With a beginning dating prior to theCalifornia gold rush, the Newton Wagon Company produced a wide variety ofvehicles during almost a century in business. Several years ago, I wrote a brief history of this brand and you canstill find the two-part article on our website by clicking here.
Moving from New York to Batavia,Illinois in 1854, founder Levi Newton worked hard to establish the brand as apremium builder of buggies and carriages as well as a vast array of wagonsincluding farm, freight, spring, delivery, mountain, potato, and rack bedwagons as well as teaming gears and lumber and log wagons. The firm employed a number of differentconstruction designs throughout its history. As with many other brands, the paint and striping of earlier designs wasoften more flamboyant and ornamented. Circular box rod washers, triple riveted side board cleats, and evenmultiple folding end gates were common on some models.
Another unique feature of later Newtonmodels is what was referred to as a ‘drop front hound.’ With this design the front hounds on the gearwere curved downward. This featurereduced wear and tear on the reach and sway bar while also allowing for tighterturning when the box was removed. Whilea drop front hound is fairly easy to spot on a wagon gear, it was not common inthe industry as a whole. Even so, Newtonwas not the first to have promoted this feature. As I shared in Volume One of the “BorrowedTime” western vehicle book series, the legendary Peter Schuttler brand actuallyhad a patent on a very similar design in the 1880’s (see a portion of the patent below).
As a further note to this innovation, itdoesn’t appear that Newton made use of the design until well after the originalSchuttler patent expired. For historiansand collectors, it’s an important point as collective examination of allvehicle features can help to identify, date, authenticate, and place values onindividual wagons. That commitment to historical details and collector support is another reasonwe continually search for the rarest details from this industry. As of this writing, illustrated Newton materials in ourWheels That Won The West® Archives span almost sixty years from the 1870’sthrough the 1920’s.
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