Monday, June 1, 2009

The Glam Life of a Carriage Guy - Part 2

So Saturday continues. There was so much work I couldn’t write it all up in one day. By this time I’m beginning to feel the pain. The back is aching and the knees are getting a bit on the sore side.

So here I sit with a four passenger surrey body that needs to go up on a frame. Normally this is a 3 or 4 person undertaking but it’s Saturday and I’m by myself. The body weighs probably 250 to 300 pounds and it needs to go up about 4’ to clear the chassis.

My trusty Bobcat has never failed me yet. So we put the forks on the front grab on and away we go. Unfortunately I can’t take pictures and run the Bobcat at the same time. Well actually I could have if I would have had the camera along inside but the sun kept sinking lower and time was running out.

Once in place it took me a while to fasten the body to the chassis. There were some parts missing so we needed to do a little work to make everything fit properly. The thing was filthy from spending 30 years in a semi open shed so cleaned off all the big crap by hand, blew off the upholstery and hosed off the frame and some portions of the body.

Here we are one very attractive extension top surrey. The Carriage was built by J.L. Clark of Oshkosh Wisconsin. Clark was a large manufacturer of vehicles and we run across this name from time to time.

The vehicle is very solid and tight. An outstanding restoration prospect. It has it’s original pole and shafts along with. You rarely see these restored because the market has been flooded with new reproductions that pale in comparison. This was also a relatively common vehicle in it’s day so people sort of glance right on by an auto top. I love it. If we still have it in a few months we just might pull it in the shop.

Here is one of the runabouts. It is also a Clark of Oshkosh. Talk about brand loyalty. There are some design elements that lead me to believe this was built post 1900. It’s built a little heavier than most, the suspension is pretty advanced, something about the shape of the dash makes me feel it’s a later piece.

But the real kicker is the lamps. 100% original, authentic electric carriage lamps. I’m not sure of the voltage but I’m guessing an early 6 volt system. All the original wiring is in place and this was not a later ad on. Look closely at the bulb. It is a screw in type but if you look closely you can see a little point on the top like that little swirl on top of a dairy queen ice cream cone. How cool is that!

The original J.L. Clark tag still in place.

And here is the cutter. A nice Portland door cutter in pretty solid condition. The tag on the back reads “Lindsey Brothers, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Built by N. C. Co. I would guess that would stand for Northwestern Carriage Company out of Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin but that just a guess on my part. I have had a few vehicles over the years with the Lindsey tag but to my knowledge they were more of a dealer than a manufacturer.

So the sun is setting on the long day and here is what’s left sitting in the yard. I have four wheels left that do not fit the chassis that remains. I have a running gear with four matching wheels on it but one of them doesn’t fit properly. A bunch of poles and shafts and a way cool wagon seat. So a couple disappointments but that is the risk I take when I buy a pile of carriages. All in all it was a great day but at this point I am wiped out.

Have a great Monday.



Peter said...

No Tuesday Post :-(
You must have been worn out by your weekend adventure.
Seriously it is very interesting to see what you can still find in an old barn. Do you think these were family vehicles, and representative of what would have been found on the farm, or was this part of a collection

Kim Bates said...

Beautiful! How cool are those???!!! I can't wait to see the magic you work on them!

Toddersville said...

Hi Pete,

Wow! Someone noticed. On the road making deliveries. Looking to getting back on track later this week when I'm back at home base.


Toddersville said...


They were family vehicles. They never left the farm that I picked them up from.

Hi Kim!

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