Quote Originally Posted by Showgrounds View Post
Interesting background there, Jim. The first Brewer I sat in belonged to a well-known Showgrounds trainer in the mid-'70's. Beautifully made, bright chrome chassis, bow and cross bar with beautifully pin-striped hickory shafts. The thing that struck me about the sulky was its balance; sitting in it just felt so natural. Made me think I was the equal of Gordon Rothacker (or about as close as I would ever be). The Freebairn wheels had completely sealed- hubs and I remember, with some frustration, painting the glue (shellac?) on the singles and starting again when you inflated them and they hadn't stuck to the rim.

If you didn't have a Brewer you had to have a Royal Speed, made in Adelaide by the Brown brothers of Bon Adios fame. They were all hickory with a chromed-steel undercarriage and strong as all hell. It was a pretty sad day when sulkies such as these were outlawed in favour of stainless steel-shafted sulkies. While I understood the reasoning, HRA would have been better served by specifying American hickory as the only allowable timber to be used in sulkies. Don't believe me? Tackle some hardwood with identical axes, one with a hickory handle and one with spotted gum. The latter will splinter when you least expect it while the hickory will last for years.

I digress. Can't help you with much info about the Brewer Sulky apart from some certainty I have some advertising for them in old Harness Horse magazines from the early '70's. I'll try and dig my way through some over he weekend. Good luck with your research.
Hi Trevor, Thanks for the info. FYI, there is no doubting the superiority of Hickory. When I started with dad we could get second-growth American hickory that you could literally tie in a knot. By 1970 you could only get small quantities of very inferior first-growth Hickory. By 1971 we could not get enough Hickory OR spotted gum to keep up with demand. It would be no use specifying American Hickory these days because it is almost certainly no longer available. You may also be interested to know that when the Brown Bros stopped making gigs they took up an agency for Regal sulkies until the last of them passed away. Not sure when, but I think it was one or two decades after they started selling and repairing our carts. I agree that the Royal Speed was a mighty nice cart. It was unique in having the shafts attached to the back bow with a fibreglass sheath which was finished such that the whole chassis (shafts and back bow) looked like it was made of a single piece of hickory. I think you might find that one of the prime reasons Brown Bros quit making carts was the unavailability of good Hickory.