May 20, 2020: Twenty Mule Team Wagon, Death Valley


One of the iconic symbols of Death Valley is of the Twenty Mule Teams and the wagons they pulled.  These "big teams" consisted of eighteen mules and two horses, and the wagons were filled with 9 metric tons of borax from the Harmony Borax Works.  They made a difficult 165 mile, ten day trip across primitive roads in the Mojave Desert to the nearest railroad, in the town of Mojave.  


The Twenty Mule teams only ran for six years (1883 - 1889), but the image of them lingers.  This is partially due to 20-Mule-Team Borax Soap,  and the popular Death Valley Days radio and TV program (hosted in part by Ronald Reagan). 

19 Death Valley January 1988 (7) 21 Mule Team

This wagon was photographed in front of the Furnace Creek Ranch.  One other wagon exists, that at the Harmony Borax Works.


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Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

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I used to watch Death Valley Days and enjoyed every episode.  My dad always used Boraxo Hand Powder and kept a dispenser in his garage workroom. Thanks for bringing back the memories.

George G

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