Wells Fargo got its start back in 1852, and focused on banking and rapid long-distance delivery. It’s the delivery part where Wells Fargo’s iconic stagecoaches hail from, and back in the day they cost about $1,200, according to a historical summary on the bank’s blog.
That’s equivalent to $29,127 in 2015.
Wells Fargo began in San Francisco during the gold rush. It acted as both a bank and delivery service for miners looking to strike literal gold.
It cost quite a lot of money to transport goods back in the days before railroads. In 1867, it would have cost $300 ($7,352 in 2015 dollars) to ride the stagecoach from Sacramento to Omaha, according to an advertisement from the era.
Wells Fargo’s was able to transfer money and goods quickly and reliably using the stagecoaches. The bank claims its coaches were made using only the finest materials of the time.
The main builder of these stagecoaches, Abbot & Downing Co., hand assembled the coaches from a variety of woods, and rimmed the wheels with iron. They created a suspension system of leather to make the ride more comfortable for passengers crossing the deserts and mountains.
Abbot & Downing employed only one woman. She was responsible for upholstering the interior of every stagecoach.
When workers were done with the stagecoaches, they would weigh 2,500 pounds, about as much as a 2016 Toyota Prius C.
The stagecoaches covered 3,000 miles from the west coast to Nebraska. Once railroads spanning the width of the country were introduced in 1869, the stagecoaches began falling out of fashion. They continued serving areas not reachable by rail after that, and Wells Fargo spun off its delivery company in 1905.
Some of the original stagecoaches are still around today, and the company holds several of them in museums.
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