Identifying Vintage Wagon Manufacturers

An introductory guide to determining vintage wagon manufacturers

| April 2009

  • Schuttler wagon
    Vintage wagons like this 1924 Peter Schuttler with triple box and spring seat are difficult to find with this much original paint still intact.
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  • wagon reach plate
    The center reach plate on vintage wagon gear can provide valuable clues as to the maker.
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  • Schuttler standard
    Bolster standards on a Peter Schuttler wagon typically feature solid, tube-shaped upper ironwork while the lower bracing is fitted snugly to the wood.
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  • Mandt standard
    Mandt wagons often featured patented steel standards with tubes for inserting extensions, thereby offering even stronger support of the box sides.
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  • Springfield standard
    Many wagons built by the Springfield Wagon company utilized a unique fixed loop on the standards as shown on this Springfield lumber wagon.
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  • Stoughton standard
    Stoughton wagons often have fixed rings mounted on the face of the standards instead of loose rings (see Schuttler design, previous photo) on the outer edge.
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  • wagon thimbles
    A thimble skein is the metal thimble upon which the wheel hub rests and rolls. Typically, larger openings in the shoulder of the skein translate into heavier load capacities for the wagon.
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  • Newton drop hound
    The curving “drop” in the forward section of a Newton wagon gear is meant to reduce friction and binding of the reach, or coupling, pole.
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  • wagon logo
    Careful application of distilled water on weak, brittle or faded wagon paint can sometimes reveal information otherwise undetectable.
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  • dealer stencil
    Placing dealer name signage on new wagons was commonplace from the late 1800s through the mid-1900s. It’s a promotional tool still used by automobile retailers today.
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  • wagon collection

    Wheels That Won The West® archive
  • Vintage wagon literature
    Vintage wagon literature can be extremely helpful in the authentication process.
    Wheels That Won The West® archive

  • Schuttler wagon
  • wagon reach plate
  • Schuttler standard
  • Mandt standard
  • Springfield standard
  • Stoughton standard
  • wagon thimbles
  • Newton drop hound
  • wagon logo
  • dealer stencil
  • wagon collection
  • Vintage wagon literature

“Psst! Hey buddy, wanna buy a watch?”

That dubious phrase conjures up visions of a shifty-eyed street peddler hawking a host of inexpensive, brand name timepieces. The picture also highlights a common risk for collectors.

While a “good deal” might be the holy grail for many, locating a truly great find is much more difficult. Chief among the challenges for vintage farm wagon enthusiasts is the need to know and authenticate wagon manufacturers. Brand name is important because it can greatly affect sentimental, historical and resale values.

With a heritage firmly tied to settlement of the West and the great cattle drives of the 1800s, wood-wheeled farm wagons have been prominent fixtures on the American landscape for centuries. It’s a legacy and viability so strong that some brands were still being built into the 1950s and ’60s. Today, their period look and connection to America’s early history have made quality, original wagons increasingly coveted. Certain brand names have taken on particular significance; a provenance (documented history for a particular collectible) can also benefit values.



Wagon identity crisis

A vintage wagon, like nearly anyone or anything today, is susceptible to lost, mistaken and even stolen identities. The ravages of time, weather and neglect have taken a heavy toll on the majority of these retired workhorses. With most relegated to the outdoors and other poorly controlled environments, natural deterioration of recognizable marks only adds to the number of lost and easily mistaken characteristics.

Jamie
7/25/2018 3:25:00 AM

We recently unearthed near our creek the ring from a wagon wheel. And a hub. There is alot of history and very near the louise and Clark trail. They look very old. How would we go about dating them? From pictures i have seen of the hub, it seems to be an 18th century covered wagon. Who could we contact or what kind of research would be best. Thank you for any and all help.


Jamie
7/25/2018 3:21:05 AM

Who can i contact in dating a wagon wheel ring and hub. From what i have researced, they appear to be from an 18th century coveref


Jamie
7/25/2018 3:21:03 AM

We recently unearthed near our creek the ring from a wagon wheel. And a hub. There is alot of history and very near the louise and Clark trail. They look very old. How would we go about dating them? From pictures i have seen of the hub, it seems to be an 18th century covered wagon. Who could we contact or what kind of research would be best. Thank you for any and all help.