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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Facts About Wagons

Photo Credit: http://wheelsthatwonthewest.

In writing my book I ran into the fact that my characters use wagons to get around town--when they're not on horseback. I have no experience with wagons so I did some research on them to learn the names of the parts and how a person would go about climbing into a wagon (I guessed there would be a step but I wasn't sure).

My favorite website I found in researching wagons is a PDF written by Kelsie Harder: http://www.canvocta.org/PDF/A%20Vocabulary%20of%20Wagon%20Parts.pdf

Some of the wagon terminology I learned is:

  • Axle- The wooden bar that is placed under the running gear and on which the wheels are set; each wagon has two axles.
  • Bed- All sides of the structure set on the frame, usually called wagon bed.
  • Brake or Block- A thick piece of wood attached to the brake beam; serves when pulled against the back wheel to slow or stop the wagon.
  • Brought-on Wagon- A wagon that was bought from a manufacturer.
  • Dry out- To lose moisture, as the wooden parts of the wheels.
  • Fifth Wheel- An iron-sliding bar in the shape of a circle placed on the front running gear in order to give the front of the wagon free play in turning or in being guided.
  • Front Gate- Removable front portion of the wagon bed.
  • Sand Bed- A wagon bed with half sides; used when sand is being hauled.
  • Side Boards- Removable sides of the wagon bed. The bed is referred to as a double bed when two side boards are in place, etc.
  • Sun Cracks- Cracks that appear in a wooden hub; split places caused by the weight pressure exerted on the hub.
  • Tail Gate- Removable back portion of the wagon.
  • Tongue- A long, heavy piece of wood used to guide the wagon; it is usually square but tapered toward the front. With metal slats attached to the sides.
Look up Kelsie Harder's PDF to learn many more wagon terms.

And for those who are wondering--not only do wagons have steps, but you can even buy them on E-bay.

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