Big news…Big wheels!

Creston Museum Logging Arch, News & Articles Leave a Comment

Brian Reynolds, the Manitoba-based wheelwright who has been rebuilding the Creston Museum’s logging arch, has been sending us some pretty exciting progress pictures. Both wheels are now completely finished – wooden parts made and assembled, original steel tires heated up and shrunk back into place, custom-made steel hardware installed, original steel bumpers (the rings that line the wheels to protect the spokes from collisions with the logs) reattached. It’s all looking really, really amazing!

There’s one wheel done, standing upright in Brian’s shop supported by an enormous steel beam.
There’s the pair of them. Really gives you an idea of just how big these things are, doesn’t it?

That third photo shows you some of the custom hardware Brian’s been making to complete the arch as close to original specifications as possible. How do we know what those original specifications were? Well…

Extensive research about the operations of C.O. Rodgers and his Canyon City Lumber Company, the history of logging arches in general, and the details of our logging arch in particular led us to the fairly certain conclusion that our arch was made in Michigan, and if not by Silas Overpack himself (the originator of logging arches), then by someone who was copying his design pretty closely.

But then Brian electrified us with this news: “I was sandblasting the rub rings for the wheels today so I can paint and install them,” he wrote. “When the rings were sandblasted I found the patent date stamped in a couple of places: Feb 27 83.”

Jeremy Masterson, head of the restoration shop at Remington Carriage Museum who has been an incredible historical and technical resource throughout this project, found the actual patent documents: specifications and drawings by a George W. Doxsie of Haring, Michigan, for a variety of improvements to logging wheels…including, specifically, the use of steel rings on the inside of the wheels to protect the spokes.

The advertisements from Silas Overpack that we’d found in our earlier research include detailed descriptions of the wheels and their construction, including this little detail: “I [meaning Silas Overpack] am the sole agent in Michigan for Doxsie’s Patent Wheel Guards.”

So there you have it – almost definitive proof that our logging arch is, indeed, an Overpack arch.

Now, Brian’s working on the axle and the pole. That’s still a fair amount of work, but we are definitely in the home stretch! Then it’s a matter of bringing it back here and welcoming it back with a suitable demonstration. Anyone got a team of fairly confident horses and a big log we can borrow?

In the meantime, enjoy this incredible video of Brian installing the steel tires on the wooden wheels: