Early Four Wheel Transportation
Wagons and carriages were used to carry people around for a long time. Now we have cars with motors in them, but it is important to learn about the past so here we go
Wagons were one of the main modes of transportation to get around. Mules, horses, or oxen could pull Light Emigrant wagons. Six or eight horses pulled Conestoga wagons, or you could use oxen. On the top a white canvas roof kept out most of the rain. On the front and end the white canvas pulled together tight, leaving a little round hole to let in air or let the passengers see the different scenery. The wheels were made out of white oak or Osage orangewood. Most travelers going far west bought a Light Emigrant. Families who traveled a short way (a trip of 40 to 50 days) left home during the cold early months of the year. Each family member had to wear a hat to keep from the sun.
After wagons, carriages were created. Carriages are a horse-drawn vehicle that is used for people who want to get around. Nine passengers could ride on the seats inside a Concord Coach and more people could ride on the top. The running gear was usually made out of strong springy wood such as oak, ash, or hickory. Wrought iron brackets and fittings braced the slender wooden parts of the carriage. Early wheels were usually made of hickory and fitted with iron tires. Solid rubber werent used until 1875. If you were to travel from Boston to New York it would take about 6 days on a Stagecoach. They were a lot faster than other wagons and carriages. Stagecoaches carried travelers from town in America for more then 150 years.
After carriages people started thinking about making a vehicle automatic. The idea of carriages that would be powered without horses fascinated people for a long time. Sails were tried but they had limitations, and in 1475 the windmill driven wagon was a failure. Leonardo da Vinci played with the idea of a spring motor and Sir Isaac suggested a car driven with power from steam, but nobody built one. Low-pressure steam engines using pistons and cylinders had been invented by the middle of the eighteenth century and were used for pumping water. It was time somebody tried that on a wagon. Cugnot did it and make it work after a fashion. Except for one experimental invention which Nicholas Cugnot had tried before. This was called the self-moving wagon. It is the ancestor of the automobile and the locomotive. It was suppose to carry artillery, but never did. The self-moving wagon did propel itself though ran and still is in a Paris museum. We hope you learned a lot about wagons and carriages.