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Antique popcorn wagon finds home in Fort Worth museum


TCU alumnus I.B. “Barney” Chapman, Sr. and the Chapman Family Ranch recently donated an antique wagon to the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, Gene Smith, a university history professor said.

Smith, also the curator of history at the museum, said the information was limited on the wagon, but they believed it to be a 1918 C. Cretors & Company Improved Special Model D wagon.

According to a press release from the TCU Alumni Association, the horse-drawn wagon was originally used to make popcorn and peanuts to sell at rodeos, carnivals and other special events. If it was not donated to the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. would have accepted it.

Smith said the wagon was placed in the Omni Theater at the museum. He said popcorn could be sold out of the wagon at some point, but they would not use the wagon to make popcorn or peanuts because it would not meet health standards.

“It’s a wonderful artifact to a time and an era long passed,” Smith said.

According to the C. Cretors & Company website, the company celebrated its 125th anniversary this year and still produces popcorn makers along with other concession products.

Chapman said he donated the wagon to the museum because he preferred that the wagon stayed in Fort Worth since he and his family were from the area.

“It’s just one more item to help make the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History one of the most successful museums in the Southwest,” Chapman said.

Chapman said that a construction and transportation crew helped to move the wagon from the original building it was stored in to the museum, and a third team disassembled the wagon. The process started at around 5 p.m. that evening and took until the next morning to complete. A brick wall had to be removed so the wagon could be taken out of the original building.

The Chapman Family Ranch was established in 1844, and its primary location is in Clarksville, Texas in the northeastern part of the state, according to its website.

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