After a devastating fire in 1879, the Rushford (Minn.) Wagon Co. was moved to Winona, Minn. With its new home, it was re-established and named the Winona Wagon Co.
While ironclad hubs and outer bearing axles were primarily used on the company’s heavier vehicles, individual features of every wagon were designed to satisfy specific terrain, user purposes and price ranges.
Throughout its construction, Winona utilized hickory timber for axles and white oak for spokes, hubs and felloes. Box sides were generally constructed from poplar but cottonwood was also used. Box floors were almost always built from pine.
Beyond wheel size and box bed variations, other distinctions between different styles of Winona wagons included choices between wooden or steel axles, stiff or drop tongues as well as multiple brake styles, track widths, and tire widths ranging from 1-1/2 to 4 inches. All wagon builders had geographical regions where they were most competitive. Winona wagons were touted as being particularly well suited to the South and West and, as such, were sold predominantly west of the Mississippi River. FC
Read more about the Winona Wagon Co.: “Winona Wagon Co. Staked Reputation on Quality.”David Sneed is a freelance writer, collector, historian and founder of the Wheels That Won The West® western vehicle archives. Write him at P.O. Box 1081, Flippin, AR 72634; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; online at www.wheelsthatwonthewest.com.