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North Tonawanda History Museum referenced in new book

BY: Metro Source Staff | April 29, 2014

The North Tonawanda History Museum has received a copy of a new book for its reference library from the author, Gordon Westover, of Sacramento, Calif. The book, "Coasting on Wheels: Vintage Toy Wagons," has a chapter on North Tonawanda's Buffalo Sled Co./Auto Wheel Coaster Co. operation and its wagons.

Westover had contacted Executive Director Donna Zellner Neal for information for his book in 2010. At the time, he promised to provide a copy of the completed book for the history museum's collection.

In the book, Westover uses three photos from the history museum collection in his book, crediting the history museum collection as the source. One is a copy of an advertising blotter, colored, from 1915, when the company was using both names, Buffalo Sled Co. and Auto Wheel Coaster. The Auto Wheel Coaster name at the time was for the products made by Buffalo Sled Co., ultimately becoming the name of the company in 1921.

A photo of employees of Buffalo Sled Co. in front of the factory from Oct. 20, 1917, was also provided by the history museum, also credited as from the history museum's collection.

The third photo, a 1920 photo of youngsters with their Auto Wheel Coaster wagons and beanies in front of the Benjamin Long Rand home at 257 Goundry St., provided by the Buffalo Sled Co., is credited as from the history museum's Wittkowsky collection. Benjamin Long Rand was Mayor of North Tonawanda from 1915-18.

Auto Wheel Coaster began in Buffalo in 1889 as the Buffalo Sled Company and relocated to North Tonawanda in 1904. The company went bankrupt in 1968 and a fire destroyed the manufacturing complex on May 31, 1972. The 235-page book is published by Tate Publishing and Enterprises, Inc. and retails for $63.99.

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