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Your  20  Mule  Team™  is  an  accurate  I/67th  scale      DRIVING THE 20 MULE Team
   model and authentic replica of the great twenty mule        The mules were all  selected for their intelligence and were
   team  wagon  train  of Pacific  Coast  Borax  Company       trained  to  answer  to  their  names.  Commands  were  given
   (now U.S. Borax) which,  over 100 years ago,  hauled        by  the  driver  or  "skinner."  He  controlled  his  team  by
   borax across the blistering deserts of Death Valley.        shouting orders, calling the mules by name,  and by means
   These  great  mule  teams  traveled  162  miles  from       of a long  "jerk"  line.  The  "skinner" rode the  "nigh-wheel"
   Furnace  Creek  in  Death  Valley  to  Mojave,              (left  hand)  mule.  He  held  the  "jerk"  line  which  was  120
   California;  and  from  the  mines  at  Old  Borate  to     feet  long.  It ran  through  rings  on the  harness  of the  nigh
   Dagget,  the  nearest  railroad  points.  Their  routes     animals  up to  the  leader.  A  light  iron rod called a jockey
   carried them  over some  of the  most  forbidding  land     stick,  with  a  snap  hook  on  each  end,  connected  the
   on the face of the earth.                                   leaders. One end of it was fastened to the chin strap of the
   There  was  not  a  single  house  or  any  other  sign  of   "off" (right hand) mule.  The other end was fastened to the
   habitation  along  the  Death  Valley  trail.  One  stretch   hame ring on the offside of the nigh mule. A steady pull on
   of  60  miles  was  without  water.  In  the  summer,       the  line  caused  the  team  to  go  to  the  left.  A jerk turned
   temperatures  ranged  from  136  degrees  to  150           them to the right. Hence the name "jerk" line.
   degrees.                                                    THE 20 MULE TEAM™ DRIVER OR "SKINNER"
   The  twenty  mule  teams  could  cover  from  16  to  18    The driver had to know his mules and to be able to handle
   miles a day. Camp was made on the desert floor each         them  under  all  conditions.  He  had  to  be  a  practical
   night.  The one-way trip, from mine to railroad point,      veterinarian  to  take  care  of them  when  they  got  sick,  a
   took about ten days.                                        blacksmith  to  replace  any  shoes  that  came  off,  and
   THE BORAX WAGONS                                            something of a wheelwright to make any needed repairs.
   The  borax  wagons,  said  to  be  the  largest  and        One  of the  best  drivers  was  Bill Parkinson,  better known
   strongest  of  their  kind,  were  built  in  Mojave,       as  "Borax  Bill."  He  had  a  most  eloquent  vocabulary  to
   California.  The  rear  wheels  were  7  feet  high.  The   awaken  the  necessary  amount  of energy  in  balky  mules.
   front wheels, 5 feet high. Each wheel had steel tires 8     On  occasion,  he  backed  up  his  verbal  commands  with  a
   inches wide and 1 inch thick. The spokes of split oak,      long black-snake whip.
   measured  5  ½  inches  wide  at  the  hub  and  4  inches   THE "SWAMPER"
   wide at the point. The axles were made of solid steel       The  driver's  assistant  was  called  a  "swamper"  and  his
   bars,  3  ½ inch square.  The wagon beds were  16  feet     duties  were  numerous.  In  going  up  grades,  he  had  to  get
   long, 4 feet wide and 6 feet deep.                          out  and  walk  beside  the  team.  In  going  down  grades,  he
   The  two  wagons  held  25  tons,  or  a  carload,  of      operated  the  brake  on  the  rear  wagon.  When  the  train
   ulexite, the borax ore.  Two of them,  together with a      made camp, he assisted in unhooking and unharnessing the
   trailer tank wagon that carried 1200 gallons of water,      mules  and  in  feeding  them.  He  gathered  fuel  for  the  fire,
   constituted a train.  Each borax wagon weighed 7800         cooked the meals and washed the dishes.
   pounds, and the combined weight of the two, loaded,         The building of railroads to  all portions of the Great West
   (exclusive  of hay,  grain,  and  other  provisions)  was   rapidly  limited the necessity for the  "twenty mule teams".
   more  than  60,000  pounds.  However,  there  is  no       Before long the 20 Mule Team™ wagon train and  "Borax
   record that one of them ever broke down on the trail       Bill" were  relics  of the  past.  They  did,  however,  perform
   during the many years they were in service.                 an interesting and useful part in the service of man and the
                                                               development of our country.
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