Wagon

Last updated

A hay wagon in Germany, of a type common throughout Europe (the leiterwagen). The sides are actually ladders attached to serve as containment of hay or grain, and may be removed, such as for hauling timber. Bad Schussenried - Museumsdorf Kurnbach Holz Jauchefass auf Leiterwagen.jpg
A hay wagon in Germany, of a type common throughout Europe (the leiterwagen ). The sides are actually ladders attached to serve as containment of hay or grain, and may be removed, such as for hauling timber.

A wagon or waggon is a heavy four-wheeled vehicle pulled by draught animals or on occasion by humans, used for transporting goods, commodities, agricultural materials, supplies and sometimes people.

Contents

Wagons are immediately distinguished from carts (which have two wheels) and from lighter four-wheeled vehicles primarily for carrying people, such as carriages. Animals such as horses, mules, or oxen usually pull wagons. One animal or several, often in pairs or teams may pull wagons. However, there are examples of human-propelled wagons, such as mining corfs.

A wagon was formerly called a wain and one who builds or repairs wagons is a wainwright. More specifically, a wain is a type of horse- or oxen-drawn, load-carrying vehicle, used for agricultural purposes rather than transporting people. A wagon or cart, usually four-wheeled; [1] for example, a haywain, normally has four wheels, but the term has now acquired slightly poetical connotations, so is not always used with technical correctness. However, a two-wheeled "haywain" would be a hay cart, as opposed to a carriage. Wain is also an archaic term for a chariot. Wain can also be a verb, to carry or deliver, and has other meanings.

Contemporary or modern animal-drawn wagons may be of metal instead of wood and have regular wheels with rubber tires instead of traditional wagon wheels.

A person who drives wagons is called a "wagoner", [2] [3] a "teamster", a "bullocky" (Australia), a "muleteer", or simply a "driver".

Terminology and design

The exact name and terminology used are often dependent on the design or shape of the wagon. If low and sideless it may be called a dray, trolley or float. When traveling over long distances and periods, wagons may be covered with cloth to protect their contents from the elements; these are "covered wagons". If it has a permanent top enclosing it, it may be called a "van".

Front axle assembly

A front axle assembly, in its simplest form, is an assembly of a short beam with a pivot plate, two wagon wheels and spindles as well as a drawbar attached to this. A pin attaches the device to a chariot, a wagon or a coach, making the turning radius smaller. [4]

Types of wagons

Wagons have served numerous purposes, with numerous corresponding designs. [4] As with motorized vehicles, some are designed to serve as many functions as possible, while others are highly specialized. This section will discuss a broad overview of the general classes of wagons; for details on specific types of wagons, see the individual links.

Beach wagon

Beach wagons are collapsible folding wagons for general multi-purpose usage on outdoor sand beaches. [5]

Farm wagon

Farm wagons are built for general multi-purpose usage in an agricultural or rural setting. These include gathering hay, crops and wood, and delivering them to the farmstead or market. [4] Wagons can also be pulled with tractors for easy transportation of those materials.

A common form found throughout Europe is the ladder wagon  [ de ], a large wagon the sides of which often consisted of ladders strapped in place to hold in hay or grain, though these could be removed to serve other needs. [4] A common type of farm wagon particular to North America is the buckboard.

Freight wagon

Freight wagons are wagons used for the overland hauling of freight and bulk commodities. [6]

Freight wagons were designed for hauling loads, not people, and were not built for comfort. A driver did not have a seat in front of the wagon like the image most people have of wagons. A driver walked along side the wagon or rode on top of one of the horses. There was no place in front for a person to sit. Many freight wagons, however, had a unique feature called a "lazyboard." This was a plank that could be pulled out and sat on, and then pushed back in if not needed. It was located on the left side of the wagon between the wheels and close to the brake. If a driver was too tired to walk, he could pull out the lazyboard, and take a rest. That is why it was called a "lazyboard." (Some sources spell "lazyboard" as two words. There is no standard spelling.) In America, lazyboards were located on the left side because carts were steered from the left side. The cart itself was on the right side of the road. Unless a driver wanted to walk in the ditch, he had to steer from the left side In Europe, carts were steered from the right side. The cart itself was driven on the left side of the road, as vehicles are driven there today. A European freight wagon had its lazyboard on the right side. In both places the driver would walk in the center of the road. More than a hundred years ago, almost everyone knew what a "lazyboard" was. Today, almost nobody would know. [7]

In the United States and Canada, the Conestoga wagon was a predominant form of wagon used for hauling freight in the late 18th and 19th centuries, often used for hauling goods on the Great Wagon Road in the Appalachian Valley and across the Appalachian Mountains.

Even larger freight wagons existed. For instance, the "twenty-mule team" wagons, used for hauling borax from Death Valley, could haul 36 short tons (32 long tons; 33 t) per pair. [8] The wagons’ bodies were 16 feet (4.88 m) long and 6 feet (1.83 m) deep; the rear wheels were 7 feet (2.13 m) in diameter. [8]

Delivery wagon

A delivery wagon is a wagon used to deliver merchandise such as milk, bread, or produce to houses or markets, as well as to commercial customers, often in urban settings. The concept of express wagons and of paneled delivery vans developed in the 19th century. [9] By the end of the 19th century, delivery wagons were often finely painted, lettered and varnished, so as to serve as advertisement for the particular business through the quality of the wagon. [10] [11] Special forms of delivery wagon include an ice wagon and a milk wagon.

Nomadic wagons

Some wagons are intended to serve as mobile homes or mobile workshops. These include the Vardo, a traditional wagon of the 19th-century British Romani people.

Living van

Steam wagon

The steam wagon, a self-powered development of the horse-drawn wagon, was a surprisingly late innovation, entering service only in the late nineteenth century.

Irrigation tank wagon

In the city center of Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany, since 1992 the city's plants are irrigated using a horse-drawn wagon with a water tank. [12]

Horse drawn wooden tank wagon

A horse-drawn wooden tank wagon is a wooden cylinder on four wagon wheels. It can carry water, liquid manure or other liquids, but not in turn in the same wagon. [13]

War wagon

Gravity wagon

Chuckwagon

Ox wagon

Pageant wagon

Wagon train

Downtown Hico, Texas Wagon Team. circa 1910 Downtown Hico, Texas Wagon Team. circa 1910.jpg
Downtown Hico, Texas Wagon Team. circa 1910

In migration and military settings, wagons were often found in large groups called wagon trains.

In warfare, large groups of supply wagons were used to support traveling armies with food and munitions, forming "baggage trains". During the American Civil War, these wagon trains would often be accompanied by the wagons of private merchants, known as sutlers, who sold goods to soldiers, as well as the wagons of photographers and news reporters. [14] Special purpose-built support wagons existed for blacksmithing, telegraphy and even observation ballooning. [15]

In migration settings, such as the emigrant trails of the American West and the Great Trek of South Africa, wagons would travel together for support, navigation and protection. A group of wagons may be used to create an improvised fort called a laager, made by circling them to form an enclosure. In these settings, a chuckwagon is a small wagon used for providing food and cooking, essentially a portable kitchen.

Wagons in art

A detail of The Hay Wain by John Constable John constable, il carro di fieno, 1821, 04.jpg
A detail of The Hay Wain by John Constable

As a common, important element in history and life, wagons have been the subjects of artwork. Some examples are the paintings The Hay Wain and The Haywain Triptych , and on the Oregon Trail Memorial half dollar.

Motorized wagons

During a transition to mechanized vehicles from animal-powered, the term wagon was sometimes used such as with the Duryea Motor Wagon. In modern times the term station wagon survives as a type of automobile. It describes a car with a passenger compartment that extends to the back of the vehicle, that has no trunk, that has one or more rear seats that can be folded making space for carrying cargo, as well as featuring an opening tailgate or liftgate. [16]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Wheel</span> Circular component rotating on an axle

A wheel is a circular component that is intended to rotate on an axle bearing. The wheel is one of the key components of the wheel and axle which is one of the six simple machines. Wheels, in conjunction with axles, allow heavy objects to be moved easily facilitating movement or transportation while supporting a load, or performing labor in machines. Wheels are also used for other purposes, such as a ship's wheel, steering wheel, potter's wheel, and flywheel.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chariot</span> Carriage using animals to provide rapid motive power

A chariot is a type of cart driven by a charioteer, usually using horses to provide rapid motive power. The oldest known chariots have been found in burials of the Sintashta culture in modern-day Chelyabinsk Oblast, Russia, dated to c. 2000 BCE. The critical invention that allowed the construction of light, horse-drawn chariots was the spoked wheel.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sled</span> Land vehicle used for sliding across snow or ice

A sled, skid, sledge, or sleigh is a land vehicle that slides across a surface, usually of ice or snow. It is built with either a smooth underside or a separate body supported by two or more smooth, relatively narrow, longitudinal runners similar in principle to skis. This reduces the amount of friction, which helps to carry heavy loads.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cart</span> Simple two wheeled vehicle for animal drawn transport

A cart or dray is a vehicle designed for transport, using two wheels and normally pulled by one or a pair of draught animals. A handcart is pulled or pushed by one or more people.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Carriage</span> Generally horse-drawn means of transport

A carriage is a private four-wheeled vehicle for people and is most commonly horse-drawn. Second-hand private carriages were common public transport, the equivalent of modern cars used as taxis. Carriage suspensions are by leather strapping and, on those made in recent centuries, steel springs. Two-wheeled carriages are informal and usually owner-driven.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Trailer (vehicle)</span> Towed cargo vehicle

A trailer is an unpowered vehicle towed by a powered vehicle. It is commonly used for the transport of goods and materials.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Benjamin Holt</span> American inventor

Benjamin Leroy Holt was an American businessman and inventor who patented and manufactured the first practical crawler-type tread tractor. The continuous-type track is used for heavy agricultural and engineering vehicles to spread the weight over a large area to prevent the vehicle from sinking into soft ground. He founded with his brothers the Holt Manufacturing Company.

A limber is a two-wheeled cart designed to support the trail of an artillery piece, or the stock of a field carriage such as a caisson or traveling forge, allowing it to be towed. The trail is the hinder end of the stock of a gun-carriage, which rests or slides on the ground when the carriage is unlimbered.

A gun carriage is a frame and mount that supports the gun barrel of an artillery piece, allowing it to be maneuvered and fired. These platforms often had wheels so that the artillery pieces could be moved more easily. Gun carriages are also used on ships to facilitate the movement and aiming of large cannons.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bullock cart</span> Vehicle pulled by oxen

A bullock cart or ox cart is a two-wheeled or four-wheeled vehicle pulled by oxen. It is a means of transportation used since ancient times in many parts of the world. They are still used today where modern vehicles are too expensive or the infrastructure favor them.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Horse-drawn vehicle</span> Vehicle pulled by horse; mechanized piece of equipment pulled by one horse or by a team of horses

A horse-drawn vehicle is a mechanized piece of equipment pulled by one horse or by a team of horses. These vehicles typically had two or four wheels and were used to carry passengers and/or a load. They were once common worldwide, but they have mostly been replaced by automobiles and other forms of self-propelled transport.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dogcart</span>

A dogcart is a light horse-drawn vehicle, originally designed for sporting shooters, with a box behind the driver's seat to contain one or more retriever dogs. The dog box could be converted to a second seat. Later variants included :

An ox-wagon or bullock wagon is a four-wheeled vehicle pulled by oxen. It was a traditional form of transport, especially in Southern Africa but also in New Zealand and Australia. Ox-wagons were also used in the United States. The first recorded use of an ox-wagon was around 1670, but they continue to be used in some areas up to modern times.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">High wheeler</span>

A high wheeler is a car which uses large diameter wheels that are similar to those used by horse-drawn vehicles. These cars were produced until about 1915, predominantly in the United States.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Vardo (Romani wagon)</span> Traditional horse-drawn wagon of British Romani people

A vardo is a traditional horse-drawn wagon used by British Romanichal Travellers as their home. A vardo must have four wheels, with two being used for steering. The vehicle is typically highly decorated, intricately carved, brightly painted, and even gilded. The Romanichal Traveller tradition of the vardo is seen as a high cultural point of both artistic design and a masterpiece of woodcrafter's art. The heyday of the caravan lasted for roughly 70 years, from the mid-1800s through the first two decades of the twentieth century. Not used for year-round living today, they are shown at the cultural gatherings held throughout the year, the best known of which is Appleby Horse Fair.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dandy waggon</span> Type of railway carriage used to carry horses on gravity trains

The dandy waggon is a type of railway carriage used to carry horses on gravity trains. They are particularly associated with the narrow gauge Festiniog Railway (FR) in Wales where they were used between 1836 and 1863.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Driving (horse)</span> Use of horses to pull vehicles or other equipment

Driving, when applied to horses, ponies, mules, or donkeys, is a broad term for hitching equines to a wagon, carriage, cart, sleigh, or other horse-drawn vehicle by means of a harness and working them in this way. It encompasses a wide range of activities from pleasure driving, to harness racing, to farm work, horse shows, and even international combined driving.

Horse harness is a device that connects a horse to a vehicle or another type of load.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Outline of animal-powered transport</span> Overview of and topical guide to animal-powered transport

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to animal-powered transport:

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Motorized tricycle</span> Resembling a bicycle with two rear wheels and an engine

A motorized tricycle, motor trike, or motortrycle is a three-wheeled vehicle based on the same technology as a bicycle or motorcycle, and powered by an electric motor, motorcycle, scooter or car engine.

References

  1. "wainn1". Oxford English Dictionary (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. 1989.
  2. "Wagoner". Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 29 January 2017.
  3. "Wagoner". The Free Dictionary. Retrieved 29 January 2017.
  4. 1 2 3 4 "Waggon". Rees's Cyclopædia. Vol. 37. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme & Brown. 1817–1818.
  5. Gammon, Katharine (25 June 2021). "The Best Collapsible Folding Wagons". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 February 2022.
  6. Gardner, Mark L. (September 1997). "Wagons on the Santa Fe Trail: 1822-1880" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  7. Burt, Olive W., John Wanamaker: Boy Merchant, The Bobbs-Merrill, Company, Inc., New York, copyright 1952, 1962, page 62.
  8. 1 2 "Twenty Mule Teams". Death Valley National Park. National Park Service. Retrieved 6 February 2013.
  9. Stratton, Ezra M. (1878). The World on Wheels. New York: the author. pp.  442–444.
  10. Hillick, M.C. (1898). Practical Carriage and Wagon Painting. Chicago: Press of the Western Painter. pp.  2, 109–116.
  11. Sanders, Walter R. (1922). Ice Delivery. Chicago: Nickerson & Collins. pp.  170–172.
  12. "Ein PS für 160 Blumenkübel". Gmünder Tagespost (in German). 31 July 2015. Archived from the original on 11 December 2019. Retrieved 25 February 2022.
  13. "Man on horse-drawn wooden tank wagon". Wood County District Public Library. Retrieved 25 February 2022.
  14. O'Sullivan, Timothy (1863). "Bealton, VA". Library of Congress Prints & Photographs. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  15. "Thaddeus Lowe with his Inflation Wagons". Smithsonian Institution: National Air and Space Museum. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  16. "Definition: station wagon". Merriam-Webster.com. Retrieved 9 December 2019.