Frank A. Robbins Cage # 85
Originally, this wagon was on the Famous Robinson Shows. The painted initials are barely visible in the center circle. It was built and used as a tableau wagon that carried equipment. Frank A. Robbins bought this wagon at auction in 1911 for $200.00. This photo was taken on the Frank A. Robbins Circus in 1913. When the Frank A. Robbins Circus closed after the 1915 season, this wagon was sold to a movie studio out in California.
( 1950 – Joseph Bradbury Album # 15 – photo # 11B – wagons in Jimmy Woods compound. )
There has been no evidence discovered to know who added the gorgeous carvings to this wagon after going out to California or when. It is also unknown as to when the bars were added to this wagon. If it were to carry wild animals, they need to be cleaned and watered and there are no clean outs on each side to allow that access. It is quite possible that the bars have no circus history and were only added as props for the film industry. Jimmy Woods’ compound housed a lot of circus vehicles for studio work. While it is rather difficult to determine the exact colors in a black and white photo, it it is obvious the wagon was painted something other than white in this 1950 photo.
( 1955 – Joseph Bradbury Album # 15 – photo # 51F – in Venice CA. – stamped on back Al G. Barnes Ring – Clarion – Members of Circus Model Builders & Owners Association )
The wagon had been painted by 1955 to show a lighter color of body than the 1950 photo revealed. The outside sunbursts didn’t match either.
( Joseph Bradbury Album # 58 – photo # 39A – Cage donated by Disney to Circus World Museum in April of 1962 )
The cage came into the Possession of the Disney Studios later in 1955. It was made famous to all circus oriented folks in the Disney circus movie”Toby Tyler” The Disney Studios donated this cage to the Circus World Museum in 1962.
( Photo by Stephen T. Flint )
After being donated to the Circus World Museum, they cage was repainted a dark green with reddish / orange scrollwork. This paint scheme only lasted a short period of time and then it was repainted a brighter green with Silver carvings.
( Circus World Museum Postcard )
The cage wagon is 15’9″ long and 10’3″ tall and 8 feet wide. It weighs about 3 tons.
The wagon can be seen in person at Circus World in Baraboo, Wisconsin
If you have any questions or have more photographic evidence, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org