Taber Wagon


Silas W. Taber's business card, c. 1900

Silas W. Taber's business card, c. 1900
Item 10879   info
Aroostook County Historical and Art Museum (Houlton Museum)

John Taber, a blacksmith, brought his family from Old Town to Houlton in about 1865. Silas W. Taber learned blacksmithing from his father and built his own blacksmith shop in 1871. Silas' shop supplied the standard blacksmith's products such as horseshoes and tools and provided metal working services to work any metal implement that need repair. He also built wagons and other conveyances.

This is Silas' business card referring to his invention.

Taber Blacksmith Shop

Taber Blacksmith Shop
Item 10916   info
Aroostook County Historical and Art Museum (Houlton Museum)

Silas Taber's blacksmith shop, across the street from the original shop, on Mechanic Street, Houlton. Silas Taber was an inventor, fashioning wagons and carriages to order for special purposes.


Taber Wagon advertisement

Taber Wagon advertisement
Item 10880   info
Aroostook County Historical and Art Museum (Houlton Museum)

McCluskey Brothers hardware was the sole agent for the Taber Wagon in Houlton.

Taber gear assembly prototype, Houlton, 1903

Taber gear assembly prototype, Houlton, 1903
Item 10881   info
Aroostook County Historical and Art Museum (Houlton Museum)

The Taber Wagon Gear Assembly Prototype seen from the perspective as it was drawn in Taber's patent application.

Silas W. Taber patent 719,531, Houlton, 1902

Silas W. Taber patent 719,531, Houlton, 1902
Item 15267   info
Aroostook County Historical and Art Museum (Houlton Museum)

Silas W. Taber's patent application.

The truss supported axle (seen in the upper drawing) and the "king pin" brace (seen in the middle drawing) were Taber's patented improvements.

Taber wagon with potato barrels, Caribou

Taber wagon with potato barrels, Caribou
Item 15436   info
Aroostook County Historical and Art Museum (Houlton Museum)

A Taber wagon as it would have been loaded with potato barrels in the early 1900s.

Crank axle, ca. 1900

Crank axle, ca. 1900
Item 19297   info
Aroostook County Historical and Art Museum (Houlton Museum)

This picture shows the shape of the "drop" or "crank" axle.

Taber Wagon truss bar, ca. 1900

Taber Wagon truss bar, ca. 1900
Item 15439   info
Aroostook County Historical and Art Museum (Houlton Museum)

Taber's patented truss bar strengthened the axle and made it more resistant to canting.

Taber wagon link brace, ca. 1900

Taber wagon link brace, ca. 1900
Item 15438   info
Aroostook County Historical and Art Museum (Houlton Museum)

This angled iron bracket supporting the king pin is the second of Taber's two patented improvements.

Taber wagon king pin, ca. 1900

Taber wagon king pin, ca. 1900
Item 15440   info
Aroostook County Historical and Art Museum (Houlton Museum)

The bolt seen coming through the freight bed floor is the king pin.

Taber wagon with horses and farm laborers, ca. 1910

Taber wagon with horses and farm laborers, ca. 1910
Item 9616   info
Aroostook County Historical and Art Museum (Houlton Museum)

The Taber wagon became a standard feature of farm group photos as a valued possession.

Potatoes for starch factory, Houlton, 1890

Potatoes for starch factory, Houlton, 1890
Item 10873   info
Aroostook County Historical and Art Museum (Houlton Museum)

View of North Street with wagons of potatoes waiting to be sold to the starch factory.

The first, second, third and fifth wagons from the right are drop-axle or "jigger" wagons, the fourth wagon is a typically constructed wagon.

Marketing potatoes at starch factories, Houlton, 1895

Marketing potatoes at starch factories, Houlton, 1895
Item 10855   info
Aroostook County Historical and Art Museum (Houlton Museum)

The large building on the left is McLusky's Livery Stable, sole agents for the Taber Wagon in Houlton.

Note the different heights of the wagon freight beds. The wagon farthest left is a Taber wagon.

Taber Wagon Factory

Taber Wagon Factory
Item 10867   info
Aroostook County Historical and Art Museum (Houlton Museum)

The Taber wagon factory on Mechanic Street in Houlton was a three-story building with a blacksmith shop on the first floor, a woodworking shop for making the wagon body on the second and the paint shop on the third.

To the right of the building was a wheel jig for assembling wagon wheels and for mounting the steel tires. On the left of the picture is the Exchange Hotel coach.

Concord Wagon built by Silas W. Taber, Houlton, ca. 1900

Concord Wagon built by Silas W. Taber, Houlton, ca. 1900
Item 10864   info
Aroostook County Historical and Art Museum (Houlton Museum)

Silas also produced Concord Wagons. While better known today for his farm wagons, the shop produced as many driving wagons.

Taber custom built buckboard, Houlton, 1898

Taber custom built buckboard, Houlton, 1898
Item 10860   info
Aroostook County Historical and Art Museum (Houlton Museum)

Silas custom built this buckboard for McCluskey Brothers Livery Stable to transport travelers to and from the train station and the hotel.

Taber pung, Houlton, ca. 1900

Taber pung, Houlton, ca. 1900
Item 10875   info
Aroostook County Historical and Art Museum (Houlton Museum)

In addition to farm wagons, Silas also built wagons and pungs to order. A pung is a work vehicle with space for transporting materials on the bed behind the seat. By contrast, a sleigh has large curling, turned up runners in front and was exclusively designed for transporting people.

Silas died in 1912 as the automobile was beginning to come into general use. After his death, the blacksmith shop and wagon works were closed.

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