The Wagon

The body of the wagon consists of two side-members joined at each end and in the middle by three transverse members. The sides, head and floor of the wagon is then constructed upon this framework. A number of uprights with horizontal rails are then placed on either side of the wagon.

If the vehicle was designed to be used on a road, then a large rear wheel made it roll easier, but at the same time made it more difficult to load. Having too large a wheel at the front created difficulties in turning or manoeuvreing the vehicle.

The nave of the wheel was made from a single piece of elm. Elm has the ability to withstand splitting or splintering due to its twisting grain which was an important feature, as ten to fourteen holes has to be made for the spokes as well as the centre hole for the axle.

The spokes of the wheel were more often made of oak but were occasionally made from elm. The number of spokes used by the wheelwright may have varied by region, with between ten and fourteen spokes being the preferred number. As efforts were made to provide a stronger wheel the design and setting of the spokes underwent some change, however, the practice of staggering the spokes did not become common-place till the close of the nineteenth century.

The rim of the wheel was made from a number of sections called 'felloes', with two spokes per fellow. The rim varied in width (termed tread), with those vehicles with a tread wider than four inches being termed 'broad wheeled' while those under four inches were referred to as 'narrow wheeled'.

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