Freighter Wagons

“The wagons used were of special design and construction, and built for ‘the plains transportation business.’ The tires were wide and heavy; the boxes, high and tight, were made of the beat seasoned wood. Over these curved the huge bows. The most common makes of wagons were the Murphy and Espenshied, built in St. Louis, Missouri, and the Studebaker, built at South Bend, Indiana. The Studebaker was considered the easiest running, but more Murphy wagons were used than either of the other makes.

“These great, cumbersome wagons weighing at least fifteen hundred pounds each, were of the thimble skein type. The axles were wooden, but had iron thimbles on the ends which fit into the iron thimbles of the wheel hubs. The wheels were held in place by big linchpins fastened into the ends of the axles. Tar was used for lubricant.

“The amount of  freight which one of these wagons carried would vary, of course, according to the type of merchandise. But they were made to haul six thousand pounds or more, and they night be loaded with ten thousand pounds.”