American Chuck Wagon

American Chuck Wagon


A wheelwright (or wainwright) is a person who builds or repairs wheels. The word is the combination of "wheel" and the archaic word "wright", which comes from the Old English word "wryhta", meaning a worker or maker.  This occupational name eventually became the English surname Wheelwright.

Historically, these tradesmen made wheels for carts and wagons by first constructing the hub, 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, such as bone and horn, for decorative or other purposes. Around the middle of the 19th century, iron strakes were replaced by a solid iron tire custom made by a blacksmith, who first measured each wheel to ensure proper fit. Strakes were lengths of iron that were nailed to the outside of wheels to hold wooden wheels together. Strakes were replaced around the mid-19th century by more dependable iron tires that were fastened to the wooden wheel by both the tight fit of the tire/band as well as tire-bolts. Tire-bolts were less likely than tire-nails to break off because they were flush with the wheel's outer surface. During the second half of the 19th century, the use of pre-manufactured iron hubs, and other factory-made wood, iron and rubber wheel parts became increasingly common.

In modern times, wheelwrights continue to make and repair a wide variety of wheels, including those made from wood and banded by iron tires. The word wheelwright remains a term usually used for someone who makes and repairs wheels for horse drawn vehicles, even though it is sometimes used to refer to someone who repairs wheels, wheel alignment, rims, drums, discs and wire spokes on modern vehicles such as automobiles, buses and trucks. Wheels for horse-drawn vehicles continue to be constructed and repaired for use by people who use horse-drawn vehicles for farming, equine (horse) competitions, and presentations of historical events such as reenactments and living history.

As this page builds, we will add the history of the wheel, carts and wagons. We hope to add various types, photos and manufactures as the effected the growth of American History. Additionally, we plan to add wheelwrights of today for those who may be looking to repair wagons, coaches and carriages. This we only provide the links to the web pages as Cowboys and Chuckwagon Cooking does not endorse or advertise for these individuals though their business histories speak for them self.  

Anvil Wagon Works

Custom Wagons

Engels Coach Shop

Hansen Wheel and Wagon

Justin Horse and Buggy

Midwest Buggy and Chuck Wagon Restoration

Mule Skinner Covered Wagons

Oxbow Wagons and Coaches

Prospect Wagon Wagons

Texas Cowboy Outfitters

Texas Wagon Works

Waynes Wagon Works

Werner Wagon Works

Western Canadian Wheelwright Association