McMurray Two-Wheeled Racing Cart
The featured artifact is a circa 1890s McMurray Pneumatic Sulky. This two-wheeled racing cart is part of the Tuthill Collection that the City of Sioux Falls Parks Department donated to the museums in 1987. This cart was built for speed and was probably used at one of the various horse race tracks that were around the city in the early 1900s.
This cart recently returned from Hansen Wheel and Wagon Shop in Letcher, SD, where conservation work was completed. The team of wheelwrights cleaned the piece, made sure any broken or weak spots were secured, and placed a protective coating over the wood. The tires were left as-is since they are the original pneumatic tires: rubber tires filled with compressed air designed to be light and absorb some shock from the road. This style of tire was similar to bicycle tires, and the cart got the nickname of “Bicycle Sulky.”
Conservation of artifacts is part of the Siouxland Heritage Museums’ mission, and every year a few pieces are assessed or have conservation work done. Upcoming projects include more horse-drawn vehicles of the Tuthill Collection and the murals at the Old Courthouse Museum. For more information on how to donate to the Conservation Program, contact the museums.