Posted 8 months ago
Did you ever wonder how the wagon trains knew how far it was to the next water hole? Did you ever wonder how an early teamster measured the distance that he traveled via horse drawn freight wagon, so he could charge by the mile?
They used a wagon odometer like this.
This odometer is in remarkable condition for it's age. The stitching of the case is is like new as is the leather case itself. the only thing that is missing from the case is the leather strap used to tie it to the wagon wheel. That's right, the wagon teamster tied the entire case to the wagon wheel and the driver knew how far the wagon traveled in one revolution, so, he could easily figure out how far he traveled from the start of his trip, to his designation
Inside the leather case is a tin metal drum to hold the internal brass calculating device. This device is held tight while the pendulum like center rotates around, ...... once with each rotation of the wagon wheel. As it rotates, the device continually counts the revolutions that the wheels rotates.
By knowing the amount of wheel rotations that are in a mile, the teamster can accurately determine how many miles that the wagon traveled, and he could charge the client accordingly.
If used by a wagon train going west, the wagon master could determine how close they were to the next water hole.
This odometer must not have been used hardly at all, even the brass internal device looks as it was made last week.