We visited the Fryeburg Fair yesterday, the largest agricultural fair in northern New England. Amid the beautiful horses, farm animals, carnival rides, fried food, and other fun "fair fare," Fryeburg sports a magnificent collection of antique horse-drawn vehicles in their Carriage Museum.
Here are some of the highlights - I hope they inspire some of you model carriage-makers out there!
Bakery Wagon from Washington Bakery. Note the drawers inside and the phone number on the side panel:
English Stagecoach. Along with the rows of seats up top, note the rifle scabbard! These guys were serious about security on their route.
a Merryweather horse-drawn fire engine. Lots of neat shapes and materials here!
Gypsy Wagon #1: The detail in their paintwork and ornate carvings are truly magnificent! Two photos:
H.P. Hood & Sons Dairy van. The short wheel base on this one looks a little scary. Blocks of ice would have kept the milk and cream cold during deliveries.
Gypsy wagon in burgundy and gold. Note the spindles along the bottom. Closeup photo of that area follows.
Where do you keep your chickens when you move around a lot? Here's your answer! Even this little exterior compartment is ornately decorated, as is the undercarriage.
The world's most beautiful mobile homes... Check out the gold filigree around the door. The steps are carved in an arch (see first photo) and are made to fold up when traveling.
The original water tanker engine, this would be a fun one to reproduce in miniature, with it's high driver's seat and hose. While it looks like a fireman's helper, it's main purpose was sprinkling the dirt streets of big cities with water to keep down the dust. With horse- and oxen-drawn vehicles clogging the roads (and covering them with "road apples), this would have been part of a road crew's regular maintenance equipment.
The original of this neat wagon was made as an advertising piece for "The Hub" magazine in 1890. This reproduction was built in England. Information card follows.
Rear view photo showing the entrance to the globe:
Hannaford Bros. produce wagon. This farmer's wagon was purchased as an advertising piece for use in parades, where it was often drawn by a grey Percheron. Wouldn't this be great in a model show, complete with baskets of mini veggies??
Acme Street Sweeper by Studebaker. The same folks who produced the Studebaker sprinkler above made this street sweeper, which came to this Maine museum from South Bend, Indiana. See info card below.
Gypsy wagon in green and gold. Another gorgeous example of the carriage-maker's craft. One of the info cards says that the Romany people (called gypsies by Eurpeans) did not build their own wagons, but purchased them from respected local craftsmen. Closeups follow.
Look at the beautiful suspension system under the wagon! Even these are painted with intricate designs! Note the brakes on the rear wheels.
I hope you've enjoyed this little ride into the past and maybe gotten some inspiration for your next driving or diorama class! We encourage you to visit your local museums or fair's historical displays to check out the construction details on horse-drawn vehicles. Many of the skills used in building these wagons are all but lost today, and are truly impressive to see up close.
Recreating historical vehicles in miniature can be a lot of fun. Here's a horse-drawn snow roller my dad built years ago for me to show with a hitch of Roy drafters.
For more photos of miniature wagons and hitches, read our blog post entitled the Russell Family Model Horse Museum.
Wherever the hobby takes you, I hope it's fun!