Wagon Land Adventure : Collections
Object ID:
WG 2011-015
Object Name:
Peter Schuttler Farm Wagon
This ubiquitous wagon hauled almost every kind of hauling job on the farm. Its standard wagon box could be lifted off and other types of boxes or racks put on instead. Among other things, the boxes carried potatoes; hogs; corn; and boxes of apples. When haying time came, the "hay rack" was used for hauling loads of sweet smelling hay to the barns. At threshing time "bundle racks" were attached to haul the bundles of ripe grain to the threshing machine. After the grain was threshed, the original box was put back and loaded with sacks of grain to be hauled to the warehouses and flour mills in nearby towns.

This important manufacturer of wagons was founded by Peter Schuttler, who emigrated from Germany to the United States in 1834 when he was 22 years old. After working as a wagon maker in Sandusky, Ohio, Schuttler moved to Chicago in 1843. He soon set up a new wagon shop and took advantage of the growing demand for heavy vehicles with the rise in westward migration to California after the 1849 Gold Rush. By the middle of the 1850s, Schuttler employed about 100 men at his wagon-making facility, which turned out about 1,800 wagons (worth about $75 each) per year. By this time, Schuttler was one of the leading wagon makers in the United States. Although his company did not serve as a major military contractor during the Civil War, civilian demand allowed Schuttler's business to prosper. In 1863, he was one of only three Chicago residents (Potter Palmer and John V. Farwell were the others) to pay taxes on an income of over $100,000 . After the founder died in 1865, his son Peter took charge of the business, which continued to produce large numbers of wagons. By 1880, about 300 workers produced over $400,000 worth of wagons per year. As late as 1910, when Peter Schuttler III led the company, it still employed about 300 people at its factory on 22nd Street. But the dawn of the automobile age meant the end of the line for the Schuttler wagon works, which closed by the mid-1920s.
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