Life in Old South Central Alabama

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South of Birmingham, Alabama, United States
I am an antique trader in central Alabama....I love old houses... My log home was built in 1817 by my ancestors Benjamin and Hannah Harless Wilson .............. Outside the house are herb gardens and lots of pass-along plants................ No one in Alabama is in a hurry about anything......... Visitors think that the garden needs weeding and the furniture needs polishing....I am a direct descendant of Joseph Towne, whose two sisters Rebecca Towne Nurse and Mary Towne Easty were hanged in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692 as witches. I am also a direct descendant of Pocahontas and husband John Rolfe.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

F. A. Whitney 1910 Child's Carriage

 I loaded a bird's eye maple library table and 4 Drexel ladder back chairs on my truck and headed to Clanton with the intention of returning home that afternoon with something primitive or something old and interesting.  


My first dealer friend couldn't use a table and chairs that were blond,  as his customers aren't the blond furniture type. 


 My second dealer friend thought they were just fine, and told me to look around to see if there was anything he had that I liked so we could make a swap. I spotted the children's buggy in two pieces on the floor behind a large brown break-down pie safe.


 I love anything old on wheels, so my estimation of the value of the buggy was higher than the value of the table and chairs and I really was looking for a flat out swap without any money being involved. 




 " What about this? "  I cautiously asked.  My friend advised that I had made an excellent choice, as he had no time to restore anything like that.  


Plus, he felt that he could kick in fifty dollars more to me to make the swap even. I declined the cash offer and we loaded the buggy on the truck and I came home quite satisfied.


One of the axels had been bent, so needed to take off the front wheel.



Taking off a buggy wheel from 1910 means you need a  buggy wrench from 1910, so I located a selection of candidates and lined them up for the show.  


Surely one of them would work, as the day had gone pretty good so far, so why stop now.


                                                     We have a winner.




 Now the wheels will need sanding and two coats of primer applied. Then I need to decide if the wheels should be black or red or some other color.  


Since the main part of the buggy is a very light sky blue,   I really shouldn't  use my usual hunter green or my favorite color,  mustard, not with a blue top. Dark blue might be great with the light blue on top.




 Here the wooden part of the buggy can be seen with its original blue with pin stripes. 


 It's what prim people call  "attic surface" and I can't bring myself  just yet to sand it off although like the big buggies pulled by horses it is not considered a bad thing to sand, prime, and paint all new.  




Inside the buggy with a place for the children's feet. 

 Full restoration would have all of this replaced with new leather dyed blue.


I need to find what would have held the top and bottom together at the ends of these spring supports. 


They are tied with little ropes now.  The originals would have been some sort of metal clip.






 I found the maker's metal plate still secured to the wood:   F. A. Whitney Carriage Company.    


A quick Google search reveals that Francis Austin Whitney and his cousin started making buggies and carriages in 1858 in Leominster, Massachusetts.



Here is a Whitney carriage for children fully restored .  Now I can see that the bonnet of mine is missing but not impossible to have made.  Isn't this a beautiful piece of Americana?





Here is a 1908 post card that shows my carriage style on the left.  You can see that the company made smaller versions for dolls.




So, now I have to decide whether to leave it alone, or do a partial fix,  or commit to a total restoration.

3 comments:

  1. What ever you decide will be perfect. That will hold a lot of dolls.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have one also and have restored it. Is there any value to them. I have before and after pictures and saved all of the original fabrics.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have one also and have restored it. Is there any value to them. I have before and after pictures and saved all of the original fabrics.

    ReplyDelete