About this project

Only a handful of American 18th century vehicles that remain in original, unrestored condition.This chariot is one of only two known vehicles of its type. The Henry Ford Museum contracted with B.R. Howard to assess and conserve their rare Campbell (Ross) chariot  in order to prepare it for exhibition.


What we did

B.R. Howard assessed the condition of the chariot and created a carriage conservation treatment plan. The fractured panel sections were repositioned to close the gap caused by shrinkage of the tulip poplar. The conservation of the painted leather roof covering and front boot began with the consolidation of torn and friable edges.  Patterns of the area of loss of the leather were created, finished to match, and inserted. Decorative metals were polished, degreased, lacquered. Areas of active iron corrosion were mechanically and chemically treated.  


paint and varnish Analysis

Microscopic cross-sectional analysis of the paint and varnish layers were performed. An examination of these samples determined that the vehicle had been repainted over an original paint and varnish layer. This analysis eventually lead to the removal of the later layer of varnish and green over paint which had concealed the dark blue paint beneath.

All interior textile and leather components were removed to perform treatment. The textiles were then secured to “tackles” acid free mat board panels with Ethafoam supports, mimicking the original contours of the under upholstery. These elements were attached to the interior framing Velcro to eliminate the use of tacks.



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