MARCH2016 - page 4

Page4
Several years ago, when we de-
signed and built the transportation
exhibit, it was necessary to decide
which vehicles needed to be exhib-
ited. Each vehicle has a story to tell
– the ox cart, the 1908 Cadillac, the
three sleighs, the carriage made in
Batavia,EdwardButler’sC-SpringVic-
toria - - and theHull family“pleasure
wagon.”Thisvehicle iswithoutques-
tion, themost rare and perhaps the
oldest vehicle in our collection. We
hope that thisyearwewill beable to
find funding tohave itpreserved.
SusanBlakney, fromWestlakeCon-
servators inSkaneateles spent sever-
al hours testing and photographing
the carriage and shewill be prepar-
ing a condition report that we will
submit to theLowerHudsonConsor-
tiumofHistoricalAgencies inagrant
request. Thismightbeahardproject
to justify, sincemost of the projects
are paintings and sculptures, and a
carriage doesn’t fit into that genre.
But it is thepainton thecarriage that
needs to be conserved and protect-
ed. It is all original, which is most
unusual for acarriageof thisage.
Fromtherecordsandphotographs,
we know that the carriage came
to LeRoy through the wife of Roy
McPherson, Etheyn Hull. They were
married in 1910., so the carriage
probably came to LeRoy between
their marriage and 1934, when
the carriage appeared in the LeRoy
sesquicentennial parade. It alsowas
photographed in 1940 at a meet-
ing of the LeRoy Historical Society
whichwas held at RoyMcPherson’s
houseonOatkaTrail. It is suspected
that the carriagewas made in Con-
necticut or NewHampshire, and by
it’s styleand constructionwasmade
prior to theCivilWar.
The term “pleasure wagon” is a
little perplexing. Noted carriage au-
thority, KenWheeling, in a 2007 ar-
ticle in the “Carriage Journal”writes
that the term first appears in 1819.
An entry in George Holcomb’s di-
ary inRensselaerCounty,NY in1846:
“Today I tookmy twohorsepleasure
wagon andwent to Pittsfield to the
fair.” Wheelinggives someevidence
that the styleof thepleasurewagon
wasDutch inorigin.Thereareonlya
few documented pleasure wagons.
AMostUnusualCarriage
Someare rather boxy,butmost have
curved linesand thebody isa riband
panel construction.
The two seats of the Hull-LeRoy
wagon resemble the seats on an
1815 pleasurewagon owned by the
Long Island Museum of American
Art,History andCarriages - formerly
the Museum at Stoneybrook. The
seatshave spindlesandaremounted
on rails along the sides. The arms of
the seats on both wagons are pad-
ded.TheHull-LeRoywagonhas three
original cushions, aswell as the dust
ruffles, attached to both benches.
Thecushionsand rufflesare trimmed
withcoach lace.Aphotographof this
coach lace and the Hull-LeRoy wag-
on are included in a recent book on
coach lacebySusanGreen.
The Hull-LeRoy wagon is richly
decoratedwith strippingandbronze
leafing, Evenmore interesting is that
themetaltrimonthearmsoftheseats
is silver plated andmore than likely,
the metal trim on the dashboard
was silver plated. The original paint
on thewagonneeds tobe stabilized.
The process is rather simple, but has
to be done
in a con-
trolled en-
vironment.
The flaking
paint will be
adhered to
the
wood
with the ap-
plication of
a special liq-
uidwhich allows thepaint surface to
becleaned later.
Research continues on the Hull-
LeRoypleasurewagon.Onequestion
that we hope to answer is the sig-
nature on the arm of the front seat,
which appears to read “Rochester”
which perhaps indicates that it was
madeorpainted inRochester,Hamp-
shire.Therestof thesignaturehasnot
been deciphered,
but we hope that
will be solved. We
are also in contact
with several muse-
ums and collectors
who will hopefully
shed additional in-
formation.
1,2,3 5,6
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