Grease Bucket

Image of wooden grease bucket.
Greasing the wheels

This bucket contained animal fat or tar used to grease the wheels of the ox-drawn wagon that transported John Ivins Foster and his family to Illinois from Kentucky in November 1829. Foster, a gunsmith and farmer by trade, settled in Curran township, Sangamon County, where he eventually amassed more than 360 acres.

Greasing wheels and axles was necessary to reduce friction and prevent them from seizing up or breaking down. The bucket would likely have hung from the wagon’s rear axle and might have originally had a lid with a hole in it to accommodate a small, mop-like brush.

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