Oh my goodness, look what I found and am so excited to present this unique offering to you today. There is not only enthralling history to relay about his piece but I can only imagine the countless miles this bucket traveled hanging near the axle of a Conestoga wagon! It stood at the ready and was certainly a useful piece that aided in maintaining the wheels for future travels!
There is a reason that we have an old adage like “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” The wooden axles and wheels on a wagon could break down or seize up without being properly greased. This wooden grease bucket had a place to call home hanging near the oak axle of a Conestoga Wagon. Grease buckets were usually fashioned from wood, leather or canvas and contained tar and grease made of animal tallow. The tar helped hold the wheels in place and by incorporating the use of grease this reduced the possibilities of friction related problems.
The following is a very interesting piece of information regarding Conestoga wagons: Long ago, before the canals and railroads transported raw materials and goods across the state of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Dutch settlers in the Lebanon Valley had developed a vehicle that could travel on undeveloped trails and was capable of carrying large cargo’s, called the Conestoga wagon. It was named for the valley in Lancaster County where it was developed. The wagon was one of the chief freight carriers in the East from 1750 until the coming of the railroads in1828 (the first transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869). Before the Revolutionary War (1775 ~ 1783), 10,000 of these wagons traveled from the Lancaster-Lebanon Valley to Philadelphia hauling whiskey, farm produce, iron ore, charcoal, and finished products. Upon returning, other items that were imported from Europe were loaded and hauled back to the valley. The wagons were custom built, so no two were alike.
I have compiled more interesting information that I will send along with this purchase including why a long cigar was called a “stogie” named after the Conestoga. In the meantime this is a perfect opportunity to actually own a piece of Pennsylvania history dating to around the early 19th century that also is aesthetically pleasing as the primitive form could not be better! This wooden bucket was hand carved from a tree trunk and possesses one metal band located on the bottom. There are two notched out areas on the body revealing a hole to accommodate a piece of rope that was attached to either side.
The protruding lid extends out from the body and also has two opposing holes that would have held the rope for carrying purposes. Only part of the rope remains and is located on the left side and knotted just below the projecting portion of the body. The lid also has a center hole for use of a spoon or some other implement to render the tar from the bucket. In this case a spoon will suffice and came with this piece when I bought it. Even though there are no remains of tar on this spoon, the end does stick up from the lid and still looks great. There are two tight cracks in the wood extending from the outer holes. However the lid is secure with no end play as it was fashioned from a very thick piece of wood. See images 15 & 18. The underside of the lid reflects remnants of dried tar but the amazing thing is the top of the lid only has two small areas of tar as the rest of this area is clean. The sides of the lid have very little tar residue as well.
The body of the bucket is surprisingly clean and still retains the texture of the lumpy and bumpy bark on the tree. The color is “right as rain” boasting a medium crushed walnut hue with dark areas scattered randomly throughout. There are no odors present. The inside does have tar build up on the sides and bottom as shown in images 19, 20 & 21. There is a tight hairline crack that appears on the back near the bottom and runs half way up but does not compromise the integrity of this bucket as shown in image 9. Overall condition is very good considering how old this piece is.
The companion hand carved spoon is amazing as the bowl seems to curve in an upward position while the part near the handle is flat. This piece boasts a light color with features of darker areas present on the handle. There are no chips or cracks to report and the grain in the wood is scrumptious.
If you are seeking a cabin look in your home this bucket would be a perfect fit to aid in accomplishing this theme or if you just love the primitive decorating style this piece could hold high regard atop a bucket bench grouped together with your existing bucket collection! I can also envision this by the hearth too to achieve a rustic look….. maybe near a small hornbeam. This is just an amazing piece to own and the history behind where it came from is even more amazing……what a great survivor! Enjoy!
Overall height of Tar Bucket is 12” tall including the spoon handle measures 9 ¼” tall without the spoon measurement, measures 4 1/2” across the top opening & 5” across the bottom opening, lid measures 9” across the widest point (right to left) and measures 5 ½” front to back, spoon is 9 ½” tall, bowl measures 2 ½” tall & 1 ¼” across (right to left).
~Freight (Standard Mail) included, however Insurance is optional and can be purchased @ checkout ~ within the continental U.S.