C. Cretors & Company Machines

Cretors 1915 Model D Wagon

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Let us travel back to 1915 when Cretors & Company in Chicago, IL assembled this Cretors Model D Wagon. On September 16, 1915, Mrs. J.R. Weller of Charleston, IL, purchased it for $1305.00. In trying to trace the history of this wagon, it led us next to Mr. James Anthony Bailey of the Barnum & Bailey and Adam Forepaugh circus. This circus traveled all around the world, including England, Germany, Switzerland, and France.

Later, Mr. JB Sexton, who was from Ashland, WI, had obtained the Model D Wagon from Mr. James Anthony Bailey for $595. This was on December 14, 1946. Mr. JB Sexton bought one of the two Model D Wagons that were owned by the circus. At this time, work is being done to trace down the other wagon.

In 1947, Dr. Clark Fenneud bought the wagon from Mr. Sexton and he gave it away as a Christmas present to Mr. Wheeler Sammons, Sr., the founder of Who's Who, Inc. Mr. Sammons decided to help Mr. Ed LaPlante, a handicapped WWII veteran. He allowed Mr. LaPlante to operate the wagon after he was released from military service. "Captain Eddies's" is what Mr. LaPlante called the wagon and it became a big part of his life. After a time, Eddie moved on and entered the insurance business.

The wagon then became involved with Mr. Frank Foster who was the father of Mrs. Frances Herrick, the last owner of the wagon before it was acquired by the Wyandot Popcorn Museum. Mr. Foster was in the hospital for about two years. During this time, Mr. Sammons contacted Mr. Foster and told him the wagon would be waiting for him after his release from the hospital. That was in 1951.

Mr. Foster recovered and began to operate a popcorn business with the wagon. At that time, the wagon was still owned by Mr. Sammons. Mr. Foster ran quite a profitable business and Mr. Sammons advised him that they should have a contract between them. The contract stated, "The wagon is yours as long as we get along.." They did get along until Mr. Sammons died. Mrs. Dorothy Sammons inherited the Model D Wagon after her husband's death. Her son, Wheeler Sammons, Jr., contacted Mr. Charles F. Harding III of Lake Shore National Bank in Chicago, IL. Mr. Sammons, Jr, told him of his plan to sell the wagon to Frank Foster. On October 7, 1957, Mr. Sammons Jr. contacted Mr. Foster and offered the wagon for $500. The agreement to purchase the wagon was signed on November 1, 1957, and Mr. Foster was the new owner of the wagon.

Frank Foster ran a prosperous popcorn business until the age of 86. After he retired, Mr. Frances Herrick, his daughter, operated the wagon much as her father had done.

In May 1990, Mrs. Herrick contacted Robert Pearson of Pearson & Co., Olathe, Kansas. She was searching for missing parts, and Mr. Charles D Cretors of the C. Cretors Co. suggested she try contacting Mr. Pearson. Mr. Pearson then notified George Brown, President of the Wyandot Popcorn Museum, that this wagon was for sale. Mr. Pearson knew that Mr. Brown was looking for a Model D with a driver seat. It was a rare find. Mr. Brown contacted Mrs. Herrick and they both agreed to have Pearson appraise the antique so they both would know the correct value of the wagon.

As it worked out, Mrs. Herrick donated $9000 of its value to the Museum and Mr. Brown bought the remainder and, in turn, donated that portion to the museum. Mr. Brown and Kasy Lothes drove to Minocqua, WI, with a car and trailer to bring the antique back to Marion, OH.

Restoration of the Cretors Model D began in early 1991 when the steam engine was sent to Kansas for complete rebuilding. The rear door had earlier been vandalized and so it had to be completely replaced. Rebuilding of the roof alone cost $4000. Full-time restoration work began in early September 1991 and it was finished in October of 1993. Dick Wells, who was a master restorer for the Museum, completed the majority of the work. Kasy Lothes and other skilled specialist assisted him.

We sincerely believe that the Cretors Model D was one of our finest restorations.


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