Jell-O and horse-drawn carriages from the turn of the century don’t exactly sound like two things that would go together. But when one considers that the origin of Jell-O dates back to 1897, and the consumption of gelatin-based fare has been common since centuries before that, it starts to make a little more sense. Still, when Danielle Colby of “American Pickers” stumbled upon a faded yet intact Jell-0 wagon from the early 1900s, it grabbed her attention.
As the show normally goes, Danielle reported the find to Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz, who traveled down to Louisiana to investigate. When they arrived, they discovered something even better than they imagined. Not only was it a bonafide Jell-O wagon, but it was also in fantastic condition.
The majority of the original paint was intact and readable, the wagon’s wheels were in working condition, and the frame itself had held up nicely over the past century and change. In true “American Pickers” fashion, Mike and Frank made an offer on the piece.
After a bit of reasoning on both sides, the two parties agreed on a fair price. Mike took it off of the previous owners’ hands for $6,500. He valued it somewhere between $8,000 and $10,000.
“It’s just so well-preserved. It’s incredible,” Mike Wolfe said in the episode. “Frank and I have seen some really cool stuff here at Walt and Kay’s, but nothing we’ve seen compares to this Jell-O wagon.”
“Even though it’s not perfect, the condition of the wagon is amazing. Even underneath of it is incredible. I mean there’s just one board that’s popped up maybe even just from shrinkage,” Mike continued. “It’s a piece of transportation history, and that’s what we like to buy.”
The ‘American Pickers’ Find Reportedly Found a Home at a Museum
The wagon is a truly historical piece. It was built by the George Higgins Company out of Rochester and eventually purchased by the owner of the Jell-O patent. Jell-O itself was founded in LeRoy, New York, in 1897. Wagons like this one purchased by the “American Pickers” were reportedly marketing hits for the company.
The public nature of the wagon’s purchase on television captured the attention of Jim Sandoro. He runs the Pierce-Arrow Transportation Museum in Buffalo, New York. He made an offer on the wagon, and it is now on display in the museum.
None other than Danielle Colby, the wagon’s discoverer, was in attendance for the unveiling of the exhibit in 2017.
“We’re thrilled to have it. It’s an important Western New York relic that we believe is one of the first moving advertising units to be used commercially in the United States. The Jell-O Museum, in LeRoy, is also thrilled because we are conserving it as well as bringing it back to Western New York,” Jim Sandoro told The Buffalo News in 2017.