Equipment Specs

Agricultural Carts, Wagons, and Trailers

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Agricultural Equipment

See also: Trailer

Farm wagon
Carts, trailers, and wagons have been used for many centuries within the agricultural and other industries for a variety of purposes. Whether it is loading and transporting materials such as hay, grain, or machinery, the evolution of these devices has provided many benefits to the industry in terms of speed, efficiency, and method. Carts, trailers, and wagons have undergone many transformations in the course of their existence and they are still in use today.


[edit] History

[edit] Early History

It can be argued that some form of primitive cart has existed as long as man has been in existence. The use of carts to haul food, rocks, sheltering materials, animals, and more has been recorded in history as early as 1500 B.C. in China, Egypt, and Greece. In 500 B.C., Celts made carts comprising bent wooden wheels. The Romans transported materials by wooden carts, chariots, and wagons. The evolution of any type of haulage equipment, whether it is carts, wagons, or trailers, has progressed steadily and gradually to present day, where their usefulness has not waned.

One of the first wagons utilized for agricultural purposes was the sled. It was originally a passenger sled used during the winter months but its use gradually upgraded to that of an agricultural cart or wagon. The tumbril sled was made with two 10-foot (3-m) poles comprising crude runners that were carved on the bottom ends. Four poles were positioned upright and supportive beams were bolted to the poles to keep together the materials that were loaded. Wheeled carts, in fact, were actually used up until the collapse of the Roman empire and did not make a comeback until the 16th century when Queen Elizabeth of England ordered one for her own private use.[1]

In the 1750s, two types of sleds were invented for agricultural use. These consisted of a wagon-type of box mounted on a set of four-inch (10.2-cm) wide runners. This type of sled was extremely heavy but could handle anything from maple syrup barrels to animals that required transporting.

In the 1780s, bobsleds pulled by dogs appeared in North America and Europe. These proved useful for agricultural purposes and farmers hooked several sleds together, giving it the capacity to haul as loads as heavy as 3,500 pounds (1,588 kg) over snowy grounds. The sleds were used to haul pretty much anything that required transporting; anything from apples to animals, to rocks and logs were carried through forests, across ice-laden ponds, or pulled by horses, oxen, or men.

[edit] Inventors and Manufacturers Take Interest

Sleds were useful but could only be fully utilized in regions wrought with snow, so carts, essentially a sled on wheels, were used. The first carts consisted of two wheels, were made entirely of wood, and did not comprise any nails or iron, as was typical in the French and English style carts that were used in the early 1800s. Wagons were built and sold by blacksmiths and wheelwrights. In building these carts, they employed the spoked wheels that have been in use in China, Egypt, and Greece as early as 1500 B.C. The invention of the elliptic spring in 1804 by Obadiah Elliot pushed the evolvement of the cart. Shortly after, another inventor added a leather shock absorber to the mix and the configuration was used as a coach-type cart.

Major manufacturers, such as International Harvester, began producing these. IH carts were produced with the 56-inch (142-cm) wheels that were capable of traveling faster and withstanding the heavy loads and long distances to be traveled. The Durant-Dort Carriage Co., formed by Will Durant (also the founder of GM Corp.), began producing wagons for commercial distribution. The Studebaker brothers also got on board with manufacturing wagons for use within the agricultural and transportation industries. Theirs was a success that was unrivalled, with an annual production of 75,000 coaches, carriages, and farm wagons in the late 1800s. It was clear that the market would continue to expand.

[edit] Wagons Hit the Streets

Wagons exploded onto the streets of large U.S. cities and their use in history only expanded with the American Revolution, as is commonly seen with much machinery during times of war and protest. A popular type was known as the Conestoga wagon, which was widely used during the French and Indian War to transport weapons and other supplies to those embroiled in the fight for the American Revolution. The wagons consisted of six-foot (1.8-m) diameter wheels in the rear that consisted of 10-inch (25.4-cm) wide iron rims. Pulled by horses, they were capable of moving six tons of materials across the land. After this, carts and wagons were used by many manufactures to transport their products.

Wagons were being utilized for the purpose of transporting goods short or long distances. Wagons, typically brighter in color, the first containing blue or vermilion sideboards, were 16 feet (4.9 m) long with a long and narrow frame, designed as such to keep it from toppling over when transporting heavy loads. Wagons as long as 40 to 60 feet (12.2 to 18.3 m) were constructed. The production and distribution of wagons catapulted in the American market, particularly after the Civil war, when wagons could be found on most farms. The typical farmer’s wagon consisted of three sections up to 14 inches (36 cm) deep—deep enough to carry a large load. Farmers also utilized a wagon-type device with removable sideboards so it could be used for hauling logs or agricultural machinery.[2]

[edit] Wagons Full Steam Ahead

Wagons underwent constant changes throughout their existence. One of the most prevalent changes seen on all machinery in the 1900s was in the wheels or tracks. Before 1918, wagons consisted of tracks of 60 inches (152 cm) wide and were hauled or pulled by horses and oxen, but this changed in the 1920s when 56-inch (142-cm) tracks became the norm for wagons, especially when it came to traveling on the unpaved and back roads of America. The size of the wheels became increasingly important for efficient travel. Wider tracks allowed for practical use in the countryside in which they often traveled, but they also had to be able to support larger loads.[3]

The age of mechanics provided further advancement for this growing industry. Steam engines provided more power than horse or oxen could and supplied the wagons with a self-propelling feature that would dominate the identity of modern machinery. Shortly before World War I, the power provided by steam engines was equal to that of seven million horses and mules.[4]

[edit] Today’s Haulage Equipment

The majority of today’s farms make use of trailers and wagons for the purpose of transporting animals, machines, and other goods. They typically employ a gooseneck trailer hitch, a hitch plate that connects to a truck by the truck’s rear axle.

Today haulage equipment is paired up with technology and mechanics. Often used in conjunction with powered machinery and equipment, trailers, carts, and wagons are hitched to trucks and equipment, sometimes with the use of a simple hitch or with more complex devices, such as a PTO. Farmers use haulage equipment in conjunction with combine harvesters, tractors, and other equipment capable of loading or in applications that require the loading of materials.

[edit] Features/How it Works/Types

[edit] Vehicle and Agricultural Trailers

These can come in many types, sizes, and varieties, depending on what is needed. Some trailers consist of a simple bed frame and wheels with slip boards that can be inserted or removed. Others are identified as trailer hitches, which are trailers that are connected to a pick-up trucks and machinery by a gooseneck hitch. These types are flexible and can be used for many purposes, hauling and transporting logs, equipment, livestock, grain and produce.[5] These types of trailers can be semi-trailer trucks or enclosed trailers.

[edit] Grain Carts

Grain carts are used to haul bushels of grain. This type of cart can typically handle 800 bushels of grain or more. Grain carts are usually manufactured with many features, such as unloading hydraulicaugers, PTO for tractor connection, and hydraulic slide gates to control the auger feeding. Carts can usually be distinguished from trailers and wagons in that they are typically smaller and are usually hauled by a mobile machine on two wheels. It is usually used alongside a combine harvester.

[edit] Construction Trailers

These trailers run on wheels and are used on construction sites to haul or transport materials and equipment.

[edit] Wagons

Also pulled by vehicles or animals, wagons are distinguished by their four-wheel operation that is needed to support the larger, heavier loads they transport.

[edit] Cattle Trailers

A cattle trailer is a trailer with one or two stories designed to transport cattle.

[edit] Grain Trailers

A grain trailer is a trailer used for hauling grain and other edible farm products, usually discharging from the bottom or the rear.

[edit] Livestock Trailers

A livestock trailer is a trailer designed with open ventilation, used to transport livestock such as cattle, horses, and pigs.

[edit] Common Manufacturers

[edit] References

  1. Barlow, Ronald Stokes. 300 Years of Farm Implements and Machinery 1630-1930. Krause Publications: Iola, 2003.
  2. Barlow, Ronald Stokes. 300 Years of Farm Implements and Machinery 1630-1930. Krause Publications: Iola, 2003.
  3. Shippen, J.M. and Ellin, C.R. and Clover, C.H. Basic Farm Machinery. Pergamon Press: New York, 1980.
  4. Barlow, Ronald Stokes. 300 Years of Farm Implements and Machinery 1630-1930. Krause Publications: Iola, 2003.
  5. Smith, Harris Pearson and Wilkes, Lambert Henry. Farm Machinery and Equipment. McGraw-Hill: New York, 1976.