Friday, June 1, 2012

Circus Wagon History--Barnum and Bailey 1909

The other day I posted this picture from 1909 asking for more information about the wagon.  Once again, Flint came through with some great history, and the additional photo's below.

Dear Wade-
This is in response to your question this morning concerning the name of a wagon you had posted. This wagon was called the Queen Balkis Car. It was built by the Sebastian Wagon Co. for Barnum & Bailey. It was part of a 13 wagon order placed by James A. Bailey for the "triumphal return" parade of 1903. As you probably know, the show had been in Europe since the 1898 season and returned home (to the US) in 1903.  Some of the other wagons built in this order were  Africa, Europe, America, Asia, Our Country, Two Hemispheres, Funny Folks, Golden Age of Chivalry, Fairy Tales, etc.
The most distinguishing feature of this wagon is the elephant tusk carvings around the upper deck. These were NOT real ivory. I believe the current disclaimer would be "no animals were harmed or killed during the production of this wagon". The wagon went thru a number of changes during its 15-20 year career. Attached are a couple of pix showing this. I believe the wagon was finally scrapped out at the old Bridgeport, CT winterquarters.

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