Friday, October 17, 2014

The Russell Family Model Horse Museum, part two

The Russell Family Model Horse Museum, Part Two

Let's pause a moment to consider the man behind this prolific work. E.C. Russell (Clair) worked an overnight watchman at the Dexter Shoe Factory and was married to Winnie for 59 years. He loved horses and ponies, and enjoyed participating in pony pulling events. Here's a photo of him with some of the bigger boys:
Most of Clair's work was traditional scale...
but he wasn't afraid to go smaller.
Each cart... 
and harness was different. 
This is a Snow Roller. When people traveled by sleigh (before cars, for you whippersnappers out there), it was the road crew's task to take their team through the snow and pack it down with a huge, heavy roller so that sleighs could pass over it easily. I wouldn't have wanted that job - as neither man nor beast!
Do you know what this is? It's a hearse! He built a little coffin for it to carry, and Philip tells me that there's actually a doll inside the coffin!
Two Cultivators - single and double hitch.
I love this little hay rack set!
This guy's pulling a V-Plow with wings. It's just like a plow truck of today, just one horsepower!
This is a Dump-body Wagon aka Manure Spreader.
Manure spreader, hard at work:
A pulling team hauling a sled piled deep with "cement" weights.
The Belgian on the top shelf  is pulling a delivery wagon labeled "Hay and Grain."  The Clydesdales are hitched to a winter-fitted log skidder with skis instead of wheels.
Here's another skidder.  This one is transporting firewood (shorter logs, stacked sideways). 
Top is labeled "Jigger Wagon." You can guess what it's hauling.
Another of my favorites (despite that it's pulled by Roys), this is labeled "Salomander" "Granite Hauler." It's a rugged wagon with heavy duty wheels designed to carry serious weight, and has a winch in the back that would be used to lift granite blocks into the body. (Granite usually weighs around 100 pounds per cubic foot, so both wagon and team had to be rugged.)
Although the museum is filled with draft horses...
other breeds are represented.
This Quarter Horse is hitched to a hay rake...
 and these mules are pulling a cultivator.
Yep, even Friesians were invited to work. These guys pull a small road roller.
Clair's son Philip said, "There are only two horses that I don't like the looks of in here. This is one." (Rough And Ready was the other.) "Why'd they make him that color?" I just shook my head and said, "We'll never know."
Is this all a bit overwhelming? Here, sit and rest a minute.
There's still plenty more to see!


  1. I DID see this on Model Horse Blab and I was amazed when I read about it there. I am STILL amazed when I re-read it here.

    I'm glad you posted something this remarkable on your blog for those that are not Blab members and wouldn't have gotten to see it/read about it otherwise!

  2. I am SO GLAD Eleda let me re-post these photos.

    As far as the internet is concerned, this museum barely exists. A quick Google search came back with lots of results for Charles Russell but nothing for E.C. or Clair Russell. That doesn't seem fair, so I am more than happy to publicize his work and the museum on my blog. Awesomeness like this needs to be seen!


  3. Thank you, thank you for posting this! I grew up near Clair and he was a good friend throughout my entire childhood, always sharing his horse expertise, and often taking us for rides in the wagons and sleighs that he so meticulously restored. He was kind and patient beyond belief, and obviously, his work speaks for itself. I'm so pleased to see that it lives on in this museum.