Quasdorf Blacksmith Wagon Museum – Dows, Iowa
This two-story 1899 business building in Dows, Iowa, recently restored, houses various displays of antique tools and equipment dealing with blacksmithing. It originally held the Quasdorf wagon, blacksmith, and machine shop.
The shop is three stories tall, consisting of a main ground floor where the shop is located, a second story used for storage, and a basement where the engine for the lineshaft was kept. Because the floor was made of wood, foundations were built from the ground up, to support the weight of the forge and chimney, and the power hammer and other heavy structures. Holes were cut into the floor for lineshaft belting to run the power hammer, grinding wheel, and other power tools.
This blacksmith shop built farm wagons around the turn of the century as a large part of its business. A wood working shop was located in the west half of the shop. The blacksmiths occupied the east side of the building. In addition to wagon making, the blacksmith also made and repaired other agricultural related tooling and implements and shod horses. In the front of the shop a dividing wall was erected to partition the east and west sides of the shop floor and tie rings were added to tie horses for shoeing.
There is an extensive library on various aspects of the business. Here one can learn the methods involved in blacksmithing and wagon- and wheel-making because it is a “hands-on” museum. Tools, machines, and methods can be observed. The tools and machines can be handled. At the same time visitors can find out more about machine and welding trades.
Admission – None
Directions – near the train depot
Hours – 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday – Saturday; noon – 5:00 p.m., Sunday (closed New Year’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas)
Phone – (515) 852-3595