Friday, July 1, 2022

CIRCUS TIME: Baraboo, Wisconsin 1991: Barnum & Bailey Orchestmelochor Wagon


Post card from my collection

Below is a continuation of the thread which my post of the Orchestmelochor Wagon started, and is a good indication of a reference I had made in a previous post about how wagons were repainted or sometimes re-built. In this case the wagon was re-purposed and re-built as far back as 1894!  

Pj Holmes

Circus Wagon fan-atics fb Group expert

  "To go along with Dale Williams comments regarding the Orchestmelochor wagon, here is a Wallace G. Levison photo of the rear of the wagon going down Schermerhorn Street in Brooklyn NY during the Barnum and Bailey stand of April 27th to May 2nd 1891. Wagon was built in 1879 and was rebuilt in the winter of 1894 to a regular tab wagon. Barnum had passed in 1890 and it was Bailey's show in 1891."

CIRCUS TIME: K-Line by Lionel 6-22346 Tableau Wagons (2): 'Lion & Gladiator' Tableau Wagon (White/Silver) and 'The Crusader' Tableau Wagon (Green/Gold)

 Here we see an offering by K-Line by Lionel from 2008. In the '90s when I was buying my first circus stuff from K-Line, they were still a separate company. Then some nastiness occurred, they were sued by Lionel, and Lionel won and took over all the tooling and rights to the name. By 2008, as you can see by the packaging, they were now "K-Line by Lionel". While Lionel continued to make some of the circus toys, they never matched the outcome of the original K-Line offerings. However, this carded set is nice in that the wagons were built-up and ready to play with. Enjoy! Opa Fritz

CIRCUS TIME: Random Circus Photo

Here we have an animal cage wagon from an unknown maker posed in front of the repo Coca-Cola circus tent. The horses are just posed next to the yoke, they're not attached by reins or anything - makes life easier when taking these photos :-)

There are soooo many circus photos in the queue for blogging it's hard to know where to start.  Posting the K-Line wagons from the '90s as well as at least one 'tent' got us going but there is one little drawback. I love circuses and I have tents and wagons, and trains, and stuff. What I don't have is the room to set up a permanent display. That means that anything I do will be temporary - which entails clearing out space, setting up a display, taking pics, and tearing it all down again to make room for the next set-up. Okay, it'll take time so if you're a circus fan, be patient while I attempt to get it all done. Enjoy! Opa Fritz 

I Retired!

Welll, the past couple of weeks have been a tad busy. I've finally retired from my job at Nellis AFB, and for the un-initiated, that means "out-processing" the base. What is that you say? Going through a two-page checklist of offices I have to contact and get signatures from to make sure all loose ends are tied up and that my retirement paperwork was in order, and, and, and...

It's a process, what can I say? Now with more time on my hands will that mean I'll spend more time on my blog? The short answer is: "Yes. No. Maybe"  LOL As with all my endeavors, a lot depends on my drive or conversely, if I find myself in the doldrums. There probably won't be any change in the pattern of blogging but there may be an up-tick in posts for a while before I loose steam again. So, what the heck, enjoy it while you can! Opa Fritz

Sunday, June 26, 2022

CIRCUS TIME: A Re-cap of the Six Original Plastic O-Scale Circus Wagon Designs

This whole circus thread more-or-less started with the K-Line circus wagons I bought in the 1990s when first getting into the whole circus thingie. Since then of course I've learned a bit more - not a lot more, just a little bit. Except for the Bear Cage Wagon posted yesterday these are my original purchases from back in the day. As said before, the tooling for these goes back a long time and they are still being produced. As the whole circus thread on the blog progresses, we'll show you some other color combinations and packaging from the various manufacturers over the years. Enjoy! Opa Fritz

Originally offered as a 'Steam Calliope', K-Line marketed it as a 'Calliope Wagon'

Originally offered as 'The Knights in Armor Band Wagon', K-Line marketed it as simply a 'band wagon'

Originally offered as the "Lion and Gladiator Tableau Wagon', K-Line marketed it as a Tableau Wagon

Originally offered as a 'Lion Cage Wagon', K-Line sold it as an animal wagon

Originally offered as a 'Bear Cage Wagon' I have no examples of this being sold by K-Line

The baggage wagon has retained its original designation through the years

Saturday, June 25, 2022

CIRCUS TIME: Baraboo, Wisconsin 1991: Hagenbeck-Wallace 3 Arch Cage Wagon

A recurring theme throughout the circus world is the repainting of wagons. Here's a beautiful Hagenbeck-Wallace cage wagon from the Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin that was painted in red, gold, and white livery. The post card shows it white sides. Many cage wagons had removable side panels that made them appear like tableau wagons. In the photo from Baraboo, the panels were removed. Also, this particular design sports three arches while other cage wagons had no arches, which you'll see as I post more photos and post cards. Enjoy! Opa Fritz

CIRCUS TIME: Mystery Bear Cage Wagon - Green sides, gold scroll work, white roof, ends, and under carriage and green wheels - and Why Didn't K-Line Make one?

The tooling for the plastic wagons from K-Line I've been posting first appeared in the 1950's (or maybe it was the '60s - I haven't figured out exactly when yet) - and as stated in a previous post, K-Line did not carry forward the original designations. The wagon shown below - posted just a few days ago - was originally called a Lion Cage Wagon but K-Line just called it an Animal Wagon. To confuse matters more, in circus parlance it's simply a 'cage wagon'.

K-Line KUN-6900-03 Animal Wagon

To make matters worse (or fun depending on your outlook) there have been multiple players over the years. My guess is the absolute very first offerings were by Betty Schmid Circusiana. Then they were offered by Circus World Models, Big Top Models, then K-Line, and most recently Gem City Amusements. Mind you, it's absolutely wonderful that these have survived in the marketplace for so long when so many other circus wagon manufacturers have faded out, but it is tricky coming up with a timeline.

Which brings me to the main subject of the post: the Bear Cage Wagon. As much as I've tried, I cannot find where K-Line ever offered this piece, but it's among the six original plastic wagon designs dating from the '50s/'60s. The one posted here I know was offered as a Bear Cage Wagon from original boxes/packaging I have for other color variations. However, the wagon shown below didn't come with its original packaging so I cannot ascribe it to a particular brand. You'll notice that this wagon is a bit shorter and there are two bears inside of it. These older kits included either bears or lions which came as two-piece plastic kits, while K-Line omitted the animals from its kits. Enjoy! Opa Fritz