1933 Plans & Letters to Build Miniature Circus Railroad Cars

Little Wonder Shows

Dear old friend:                                                                            Dec. 8th 1933


I received your nice letter and enclosed items afew weeks ago and thanks very much for the same.  Sure will be glad to get that M.-W. program too, if can spare it.


I am including several views of my show, one of which was taken last July.  Some of the smaller xxx tops are not on the pictures due to the fact that a strong wind damaged them earlier that day and I had to tear them down in order to prevent further damage.  Hope you'll like the just the same.   Notice my bandwagon, the one I modeled after the real Barnum&Bailey Hemisphere bandwagon.  It is entirely hand carved and is about eighteen to twenty inches in length over the pole, and stands about ten inches high and six inches wide.  Contains everything a real wagon has.  Just took my time about brakes, steel springs, drag shoes, ect.  The pole and pin fits in perfectly.  My two hemispheres are rounded out perfectly and the maps were some job, let me tell you.  Wish you could see it here, instead of in the picture, as they do not bring out the real effects truly.  In all I worked about two straight months in spare time on it.  There is no scroll work or adding of pieces with glue, but is strictly carving, straight from solid pieces of wood.  Compare this wagon with pictures of wagons which are on other photos I sent you from years back.  Not the great improvement in the entire layout.  Gee, I can just see the way my first wagons were built.  - no real effective looking axels, crooked wheels, bad painting, ect., ect.  Now, everyone of my wagons has either a big improvement or it isn't added to the regular wagon line, until its rebuilt.


Well, for a new feature this time, I am building a miniature railroad.  Got the idea from a friend of mine out west who is just beginning a miniature railroad for his show too.  My cars will be built to scale, that is, each car will be 3 feet long 1/2 in. equals one foot.  A circus railway car is 72 feet long hence a 36 inch car in miniature.  Will let you know how I come out in this project from time to time.  Say, Pal, what do you know about the old time "Privilege car"?  Do they still use them?


Regarding the admission prices of the Eastern States circus.  They were 10c, 25c and 50.  Show had very good business, and played here over a week.


Say, what's this I hear about Mr. Ringling?  Did he really sign over his circuses to that New Yorker?  well, John, all I can say, that when a showman signs over his property to one of those fellows, sure as I live, worse is sure to follow mark my words.


Will close now and will be glad to hear from you and give comments on the new bandwagon.  The cage to the left of the picture contains four bears, three cubs and mother.  The giraffe in the center was presented to me by Mr. Shepard of Wheaton Ill. write soon.  Don't forget the H.-W program, if I don't get to write to you again before Christmas, here's a hoping you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Prosperous, New Year.


You Pal,






Dear Warren:


I wonder if you could do me a favor before the big show closes this season.  Evidently you will consider me pretty ignorant, considering the number of years I have spent in following the white tops. For the past few days I have been trying to study the under carriage of circus wagons from the photos I have, and I wonder if you could supply me with a diagram of any tub or cage wagon on the show.  I'm trying to build (Wagon-model) a lamp from a snap taken of the Christy air calliope here in 1924.  Would appreciate it if you could draw as a diagram of the arrangement of springs, etc.  used, also the braking arrangement using a wheel not the foot brakes.


Just received a letter from Sill, in which he tells of your promotion.


Congrats! Give my best to Saul, and will be glad to see you boys if you can arrange to "make" this town after the show closes.  Have you can help me out with the info I need, will appreciate it.  Drop me a line when you find time.






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