Once a Thriving Business

In the 18th and 19th Century here in the United States, horse-drawn wagons prevailed on the rough and rutted winding roads (such as they were). Many of these roads began as trails cleared by Native Americans. The tradesmen who maintained and built these carts and wagons were called “wheelwrights.” These tradesmen made wheels for carts and wagons by first constructing the hub (called the nave), the spokes and the rim/fellows segments, and assembling them all into a unit working from the center of the wheel outwards. Most wheels were made from wood, but other materials have been used. Here is an example of such a wheel I found on a historic farmstead in SW Virginia. I wonder how much it hauled in tons during its lifetime of service.


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