I caught a piece in a “Shopping Guide” the other day, someone wants to sell a wagon made by the OwensborO Wagon Company, Owensboro, Ky.
Man! The piece was described as having the original paint scheme of Forest Green and Yellow logo “OwensborO Wagons” on each side.
Red wheels with white stripes even!
My eyes popped out, my ears picked up and I beat a hasty retreat to the computer.
As I recall, my research indicated a relative worked as a blacksmith in a wagon place in Owensboro!
I found Iverson B Ware as a blacksmith in a Navy yard during WW1. He fit the right time frame, as I discovered later. I believe the B was for Boswell.
From Google I find——
The company was incorporated under the Owensboro name in 1884.
The company area included a large lumber yard and a 12 fire blacksmith shop. Iverson SURELY must have worked there. Or am I dreaming?
Records indicate that at it’s peak in 1910 they could produce 30,000 wagons, and 10,000 buggies per year. Not bad!
Known as the Rolls-Royce of farm wagons, it was sold in several foreign outlets.
In the 1890’s pay at the time was, imagine, $1.37 per day, per 60 hour week, for approximate 400 employees. A 1900 OwensborO wagon, $850.
By 1940 the company was “reduced”, my words, to making trailers for trucks.
When it closed in 1951, they were making “coolie carts” for China.
It has been estimated that during the company’s life time, I million wagons of ALL kinds rolled from their shops.
Not bad for a sleepy little Ohio river town!
Their building was razed in 1999 to make way for a parking lot.
What’s funny to me is, I was born in Owensboro in 1924, moved away in 1939, and wasn’t until recently that I ever heard of Owensboro wagons.
I suppose I was too busy watching the tow boats on the river, and dreaming of being a river boat pilot myself one day. Ah, yes, those were the days!