About this project

This vehicle was custom built by Studebaker for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition held in Chicago. The Exposition Wagon was more commonly referred to as the “Aluminum Wagon” because all metal components were made from cast and hand wrought aluminum, which was considered to be a rare and precious metal at that time.  The Studebaker Museum contacted B.R. Howard to conserve several historic vehicles made possible through a Save America's Treasures grant, including this wagon. 


What we did

The wagon was first digitally photographed, thoroughly examined, and documented prior to B.R. Howard providing carriage conservation services. The box body and seat platform were removed from the running gear. Many of the aluminum components were removed from the body and the running gear in order to safely remove the darkened varnish coating without damaging the varnished wooden surfaces. The darkened over varnish and polish residue found on the wooden elements of the body and running gear were cleaned using both solvent and aqueous based cleaning systems.  Sections of loose or detached rosewood inlays were cleaned and re-adhered while missing inlays were replicated and adhered. 


The missing gilt brass lettering was replicated using molds taken from extant elements or patterns based upon historic photographs of the Columbian Exposition Wagon. Replicas were recast and attached using the holes made during the time of manufacture. 

Upon completion, the vehicle was safely returned to the Studebaker National Museum for exhibit.



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