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BORAX

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BORAX
Posted by BEAUSABRE on Friday, October 11, 2019 1:38 PM

OK, Borax today and proably since the Fifties, has been shipped in covered hoppers. But how was it transported back in the days of 20 mule team wagons? i presume the wagons brought it to a plant on a side track that ground the slabs and chunks to powder that was then bagged and shipped in boxcars. But does anyone know for sure? Thank you for your help!

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Posted by Wolf359 on Friday, October 11, 2019 1:47 PM

I couldn't find anything with mule teams, but I did find a couple of pictures with steam tractors from the early 1900s. It's probably very similar. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/91/Borax_wagons.jpg  https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f9/Hauling_Borax%2C_Death_Valley%2C_1904.jpg

I hope this helps.

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Posted by mbinsewi on Friday, October 11, 2019 1:59 PM

Their web site has lots of info and history, they talk about the mule teams and wagons hauling 165 miles, and maybe if you dig through the web site, you can find some info on it's processing, packaging and shipping.

https://www.borax.com/borax-operations

Mike.

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Posted by gmpullman on Friday, October 11, 2019 2:09 PM

I can't verify but I would be willing to bet that at least some borax was shipped in large wood kegs. These were popular shipping containers for many bulk items and were also used for individual items like enamelware, hardware and even cups, saucers and dishes.

https://www.shorpy.com/node/23120?size=_original#caption

My parents had a large fiber drum of borax in the basement of their old house in the 1950s.

Good Luck, Ed

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Posted by dehusman on Friday, October 11, 2019 4:45 PM

A lot of stuff was shipped bulk in boxcars, not in bags or barrels (grain, sulphur, raw sugar, coal, etc).

Dave H. Painted side goes up. My website : wnbranch.com

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Posted by DSchmitt on Sunday, October 13, 2019 11:41 PM

From  https://ekhms.weebly.com/harmony-borax-works.html

The Map above is included in this book

https://www.billyholcomb.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/6011-F-Clampout-Randsburg-Mojave-Road.pdf

Another Map shown here  It is the best copy I found on line. It is apparently on display as wall map in several museums.

https://hdl.huntington.org/digital/collection/p15150coll4/id/3840/  

 

 

 

I tried to sell my two cents worth, but no one would give me a plug nickel for it.

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Posted by tcwright973 on Monday, October 14, 2019 5:32 PM

I hope this isn't too far off topic, but back in the early 50's I watched Death Valley Days on television. It was sponsored by Boraxo. At some point, they had an offer for some box tops & a very small amount of money, they would send a kit of the 20 mule team & wagon. One of the neatest kits I ever built when I finally got it all together.

Tom

Pittsburgh, PA

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Posted by BATMAN on Monday, October 14, 2019 5:46 PM

tcwright973

I hope this isn't too far off topic, but back in the early 50's I watched Death Valley Days on television. It was sponsored by Boraxo. At some point, they had an offer for some box tops & a very small amount of money, they would send a kit of the 20 mule team & wagon. One of the neatest kits I ever built when I finally got it all together.

 

I still have mine unopened in the box. I wonder what scale it is?

 

Brent

It's not the age honey, it's the mileage.

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Posted by tcwright973 on Tuesday, October 15, 2019 2:42 PM

You still have a kit! How cool is that. I remember my grandpap giving me a spool of heavy black thread which made neat reins. I seem to also recall trying to paint all the mules a little different so they didn't look all alike. It would probably be closer to O gauge than anything else. My goodness, that was a long time ago.

Tom

Pittsburgh, PA

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Posted by BATMAN on Tuesday, October 15, 2019 3:07 PM

My Grandpa ordered mine as well. The Grandparents were living with us in our brand new house that was built with an inlaw suite. The box has his name and that address on it. I'll have to see if the date on the postmark is legible. 

They are going for about $10.00 on Ebay so I guess I'll just keep it.Laugh Who knows maybe I'll build it one day.

Brent

It's not the age honey, it's the mileage.

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Posted by BATMAN on Tuesday, October 15, 2019 3:38 PM

Okay, I had to go have a look. We had not yet moved into the house as it was being built for us, so we were living in an apartment for seven months while that was happening. We moved into the house on my 3rd Birthday. So sometime between July 1959 and the end of January 1960, he received this at the apartment.

Note the whopping 14 cents postage.Laugh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brent

It's not the age honey, it's the mileage.

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Posted by BEAUSABRE on Tuesday, October 15, 2019 6:35 PM

1) If it used the same tooling as this manufacturer

http://muleteamkits.com/

It was 1:67 which is within a whisker of S Scale (1:64)

2) They WEREN'T 20 mule teams ! They had 18 mules and 2 horses - Clydesdales or Percherons as the Wheelers. There were two mule skinners, a teamster (driver) usually rode the nigh wheeler and the swamper who road either the trailer (1st) or tender (2nd). Bringing up the tail was a 1200 gallon tank of water for the animals. Water for humans was in kegs lashed to the sides of the wagons. Total length from lead mules to tail of the tank was 180 feet and the tow weighed in at 60,000 lbs. I have seen the load for each wagon as 10 tons and for both as 25,

"The borax wagons, said to be the largest and strongest of their kind, were built in Mojave, California . The rear wheels were 7 feet high. The front wheels, 5 feet high. Each wheel had steel tires 8 inches wide and 1 inch thick. The spokes of split oak, measured 5 ½ inches wide at the hub and 4 inches wide at the point. The axles were made of solid steel bars 3 ½  inch square. The wagon beds were 16 feet long, 4 feet wide and 6 feet deep.

 

The two wagons held 25 tons, or a carload, of borax. Two of them, together with a trailer tank wagon that carried 1200 gallons of water, constituted a train. Each borax wagon weighed 7800 pounds and the combined weight of the two, loaded, (exclusive of hay, grain, and other provisions) was more than 60,000 pounds. However, there is no record that one of them ever broke down on the trail during the many years they were in service."

 

3) "These great mule teams traveled 162 miles from Furnace Creek in Death Valley to Mojave, California; and from the mines at Old Borate to Dagget, the nearest railroad points. Their routes carried them over some of the most forbidding land on the face of the earth.

 

There was not a single house or any other sign of habitation along the Death Valley trail. One stretch of 60 miles was without water. In the summer, temperatures ranged from 136 degrees to 150 degrees.

 

The 20 Mule Teams could cover from 16 to 18 miles a day. Camp was made on the desert floor each night. The one-way trip, from mine to railroad point, took about ten days."

 

4) "Both men were responsible for readying the team, feeding and watering of the mules, and any veterinary care or repairs that needed to be done. There was a mid-day stop to feed and water the mules in harness. The night stops had corrals and feed boxes for the mules. A day's travel averaged about 17 miles, varying slightly from leg to leg. It took about ten days to make a trip one way. Cabins were constructed by the company for use of drivers and swampers at the night stops.["

5) Twenty million pounds of borax was shipped by wagon before 1898 when the tracks reached the mines

6) Youtube has a bunch of videos showing a modern reconstruction being built and in action. Here's one

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLSLqR6cAVo

7) Looks like a branch or short line (HOn3 anybody?) to a borax transload point would be interesting, although you'd have to scratch the wagon(s) and team(s) in HO. Of course, you could add a "Wild West" settlement around it giving you passenger and goods traffic.

8) Gotta do some research on how the ore was treated before rail shipment

9) Thanks for all the interested and informative responses to my original query !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by PC101 on Tuesday, October 15, 2019 11:11 PM

tcwright973

I hope this isn't too far off topic, but back in the early 50's I watched Death Valley Days on television. It was sponsored by Boraxo. At some point, they had an offer for some box tops & a very small amount of money, they would send a kit of the 20 mule team & wagon. One of the neatest kits I ever built when I finally got it all together.

 

Looks like back then for one Borateem or 20 Mule Team Borax box top and $2.50 you would receive a kit. Sent to 20 MULE TEAM Hobby Kit Dept. P.O. Box 75128, Sanford Station, Los Angeles, California 90075. I'm sure this offer is no longer valid. The plane brown box came from Box CC, Libertyville, IL., 60048. Third class mail. Bulk rate. No postmark dates on the box. My box has been open but the plastic bags are still sealed.  

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Posted by BATMAN on Wednesday, October 16, 2019 1:03 AM

PC101

 

 
tcwright973

I hope this isn't too far off topic, but back in the early 50's I watched Death Valley Days on television. It was sponsored by Boraxo. At some point, they had an offer for some box tops & a very small amount of money, they would send a kit of the 20 mule team & wagon. One of the neatest kits I ever built when I finally got it all together.

 

 

 

Looks like back then for one Borateem or 20 Mule Team Borax box top and $2.50 you would receive a kit. Sent to 20 MULE TEAM Hobby Kit Dept. P.O. Box 75128, Sanford Station, Los Angeles, California 90075. I'm sure this offer is no longer valid. The plane brown box came from Box CC, Libertyville, IL., 60048. Third class mail. Bulk rate. No postmark dates on the box. My box has been open but the plastic bags are still sealed.  

 

$2.50 in 1959 is $22.06 today. Maybe the offer was different in Canada as mine shows it came from Ontario. I can't see Gramps forking over for that, but maybe he did. We have a lot of old 8mm film from way back including a lot of steam engines in and around Winnipeg. Apparently he was one of the first guys to get one of those windup movie cameras so he did have a few bucks.

Brent

It's not the age honey, it's the mileage.

https://www.youtube.com/user/BATTRAIN1

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