The Dunbar Model 950

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The Dunbar Wagon 950 was built in 1911. This wagon was a special order for Mr. Norman Griebling who lived in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Mr. Griebling used the wagon as a popcorn stand. In the late 1930's, Mr. Griebling replaced all the steam equipment with electric equipment. This made the wagon more modern for the times. Mr. Griebling passed away and his widow sold the Dunbar Wagon to Dennis Koepsell.

Dennis Koepsell is the owner of Koepsell Olde Popcorn Wagon Inc. in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Mr. Koepsell kept the wagon in good condition using it as a concession wagon in a shopping center.Paul Newman wanted to use an antique popcorn wagon to promote the sale of Newman's Own, popcorn jars in August of 1984. Dennis Koepsell came to Westport, Connecticut, to operate the wagon for Newman. He later sold the antique wagon to Newman's Own, including all the original poppers and peanut roasters stored in four large crates. The large photos next to the wagon were taken at the media event promoting Newman's Own Popcorn, the largest media event for a new food product. Seventy media people attended from television, radio and various publications.

Newman's Own later placed the wagon in several places for display from supermarkets to Central Park in New York City. In order to place the wagon in Central Park, Newman's Own donated all the money that was made to a local children's charity. Using the wagon in New York City caused a lot of damage to the body of the wagon. Newman's Own had the wagon restored using dark green paint which was painted over the original yellow and red striped wheels. Even the walnut wood body was painted green. The colorful red and white awning and the red roof became green and white. Ugh!

In 1988, George K. Brown purchased the Dunbar 950 Wagon and trailer from Newman's Own. In early 1990, George Brown donated the Dunbar Wagon and Trailer to the Wyandot Popcorn Museum and the restoration began. The wagon and storage trailer were in terrible shape when they reached Marion, Ohio. George Brown temporarily stored the wagon in his barn until the Museum moved into Heritage Hall in 1990.

Deneen Varner, then head of restorations, and Kasy Lothes, her assistant, started stripping and sanding all the walnut wood. The roof was rebuilt by Pete Miller Inc., a sheet metal company in Marion, Ohio. It took 89 actual hours to rebuild the Dunbar 950 roof from new sheet metal and existing parts. The boiler was rebuilt by Western Metal Parts in California. The steam engine was fully restored by Pearson & Company of Olathe, Kansas. Action Bumper of Columbus, Ohio, nickel plated most of the wagon's piping and boiler shelves. Ray Price of Howison-Howard Interiors, Marion, Ohio, helped with the repair of the window frames and doors. Hathaway & Ferguson, Columbus, Ohio, also made sheet metal parts for the Dunbar. Joe Signoracci, Vice President of Hathaway & Ferguson, rebuilt many metal parts for the Dunbar 950. He did excellent work at a fast pace. After being stripped down to bare wood, the wheel were repainted to the original yellow by McDaniel Motors Body Shop, Marion, Ohio. The striping on the base frame and wheels were done by John Cornelius of Marion, Ohio. The large mirror signs were recreated like the originals by John Chapman. The interior of the Dunbar 950 should be finished by early 1993.

We owe much to Drs. Bruce and Darlene Anderson of Worthington, Minnesota, and Dr. Leroy Krause for pictures and information on other Dunbar units.

All steam pipes, belts, gear drives, and water are being hooked up on the Dunbar 950 to make it fully operational. Richard Wells and Kasy Wells are currently the restorers of the Wyandot Popcorn Museum antiques. Their quality is equal or superior to the best restorers in the business.

Just knowing this wagon is over 90 years old and knowing the laces this wagon has been makes the history of the Dunbar 950 Wagon a part of our "Streets of Yesteryears."

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