If you click on any of the blue boxes, it will open up an image to the relevant text description accompanying it.


Palfrey. A saddle horse for a lady or quiet use.

Park Coach. See Drag.

Perch. A long piece of timber or iron connecting the fore-carriage to the rear axle and the body, thus providing the necessary strength to support the vehicle.

Pergamoid. A type of imitation leather used in coach building.

Phaeton. A light four-wheeled vehicle named after "Phaeton", the son of the Greek Sun-god Phoebus. Phaeton claimed that he could make the day shorter by driving his father's chariot mmore quickly than his father. In the event he lost control and was consequently killed. (see also "VEHICLES -PASSENGER- FOUR-WHEELED" for more details.

Pillow. A transverse timber positioned between the bolster (q.v.) and the body to provide clearance for the wheels.

Pipe box. A metal lined bearing at the wheel centre of the nave or hub.

a. A long straight timber connected to the front of the vehicle to which a pair of horses are attached.
b. An alternative name for the perch (q.v.) in wagon construction.

Postillion. A groom, or coachman, who rides the left-hand horse of a pair to control a team of horses drawing a coach. Postillions were more common on the Continent than in England where the coachman was preferred.

Privilege (The). A licence granted by Railway companies to selected cab operators to restrict the number of vehicles plying for hire at the station premises. Any cab could drop passengers off at stations but only operators with "The Privilege" were permitted to use the station cab stand.

Prop stick. A stick which hangs below the shafts of a vehicle to take the weight off the horse’s back when stopped.

Pump handle. A projecting piece of metal connecting the body to the rear spring, supporting a rumble seat (q.v.).

Quiler. (chains) A sussex term for a part of the breaching.

Rail. See Rave.

Rave. A longitudinal side-board or extension on farm or heavy commercial vehicles to provide additional support and protection for the wheels

Rent spoke. A spoke (q.v.) made by rending (see Spoke cleaving)

Ringing the wheel. The process of driving the felloes (q.v.) onto their spoke tongues. Also "Riving" or Trenning (q.v.).

Rigsty. A Sussex term for a ridger (sic) chain.

Riving. The process of driving the felloes (q.v.) onto their spoke tongues.

Roller bolts. Upright bollards fitted in pairs on the splinterbar (q.v.) on either side of the draught pole (q.v.), onto which the draught traces of the coach harness are attached.

Roller chain. A chain connecting the roller scotch (q.v.) to the vehicle body.

Roller scotch. A form of brake; a small roller hung behind the rear wheel of a vehicle which is dragged behind the wheel to prevent the wagon reversing down the hill. Fixed with a roller chain.

Rounding the wheel. Using the spoke tremmel (or spoke length gauge) to scribe the shoulders of the spoke tongues, (the nock) which is the inside diameter of the felloes (q.v.). The correct distance is taken from the centre of the nave (q.v.)

Rumble (seat).
a. A seat at the rear of a coach or carriage, usually for grooms or footmen
b. A large basket found on the rear of early stage coaches to accommodate luggage and passengers travelling at a cheaper rate.

Sash. The frame enclosing the glass of a window or door on passenger vehicles.

Scroll springs. Carriage springs in the form of a scroll. Also an alternative name for the C-spring (q.v.).

Scuffing. With a bevelled tyre there is scuffing of it on the road surface. The front or face edge diameter is smaller than the back edge diameter by 3/4" to 1". Therefore they travel a different distance each revolution of the wheel and they are connected across the section of the tyre. This gives rise to friction and wear.

Seal(s). See hames.

Seam. A load for pack horses, eight bushels of grain.

a. The angle at which the spokes are set on an axle. For road vehicles this is usually two or three degrees and for agricultural vehicles, seven or more degrees. The angle is determined by the dish (q.v.) of the wheel so that the lower spoke is vertical and the upper spoke at twice the set angle.
b. Adjusting the axle arm (q.v) to the road to secure a "plumb" spoke. Gather is the slight forward angle given to the axle arm with dished wheels. See Fore-gather
c. The process of moving the tyre into the correct position on the felloes after, or during, shrinking on the tyre.

Shafts ( Limbers or Thills). A pair of curved or straight bars, attached to the body of the vehicle, in which a single horse might be harnessed for draught purposes. Some farm wagons in the eastern counties, however, fitted double shafts to their wagons.

Shoeing (The wheel). Putting the iron strakes (q.v) on the outside circumference of the wheel (the sole) to shield against wear.

Shofle (or Showfull). Slang used in the trade for a Hansom Cab (q.v.) meaning "counterfeit" first applied to vehicles that infringed the Hansom Cab patent.

Shoulder (Spoke). The projections at the root of a spoke tenon, preventing the tenon from being driven any further down the nave (q.v.)

Shutlock. The end cross member of an agricultural vehicle’s body.

Sile(s). See hames.

Skid Pan. A metal shoe positioned under the rear wheel of the vehicle to control movement down steep hills.

Skilvings. The rails on a cart

Sole. The concave or outside curved surface of the felloe (q.v) against which the strake (q.v) or tyre (q.v) fits.

Soling down. Preparing (by chopping) a new sole (q.v.) on a worn wheel in readiness for a new trye

Speech (or Spider). A wheelstock with spokes fittted only, without its felloes (q.v.)

Speeching. The act of driving the spokes into the nave (q.v.)

Spider. See Speech.

Splinter bar. A transverse bar fitted to the front of the forecarriage to which the shafts (q.v.), roller bolts (q.v.) are fixed.

Spoke. A radiating bar which accepts the forces within a wheel.

Spoke billet. A sawn piece suitable for a spoke.

Spoke bridle. A tool used to adjust and register the alignment of the spoke tongues with the felloe mortices during wheel construction.

Spoke cleaving. Splitting oak logs lengthwise into billets for making wheel spokes. The splitting was done with a "froe". A rendered spoke is vastly superior to a sawn spoke.

Spoke set gauge. An adjustable strip of whalebone used to check the angle of dish (q.v.) and alignment of the spoke to the hub (q.v.) during construction.

Spokeshave. A two-handed tool with central blade used to shape the profile of the spokes.

Spoke throat. A term used to describe the triangular shaped portion showing to the front of the wheel, close to the nave (q.v.)

Spring. A metal device designed to reduce the transmission of shocks to the driver and passengers as the vehicle travels over uneven ground. There are many types: Cee (q.v.), elbow (q.v.), elliptic (q.v.), grasshopper, mail (q.v.), nutcracker, side, telegraph (q.v.), torsion, upright and whip.

Spring shackle. A shackle used to connect springs to the body of a vehicle or, in the case of longitudinal springs, a transverse spring.

Staff. Forged iron brackets fitted to the side boards of a wagon to prevent the weight of a load from pushing the vehicle’s side outwards.

Stagger. The placing of spokes, alternately, at different angles to the hub(q.v.) to provide greater strength and stability. Every spoke is set back in the hub about 1/2" behind the front line of spokes as opposed to the collinear spoke line found in the older type of hub.

Stake. An iron stanchion fitted to the side panels of a commercial vehicle to help retain the load.

Standard. A strip of wood used to resemble panelling on a vehicle body’s sides...

Staple clincher. An iron punch hollowed at one end and grooved to fit over the head of the staple. Staples were used to secure the side boards of certain Vans (q.v.) and wagons (q.v.) to the vertical iron rods or wooden spindles which supported them. The tool was held over the staple head and rod while the staple-ends were clinched on the back of the side boards.

Stock. See nave or hub.

Stock bond. Iron hoops shrunk onto the fore and rear part of the nave (q.v.) to prevent splitting.

Stopper. A wooden block fitted into the slot cut in the face of the nave to allow the lynch pin to be withdrawn.
It is held in place by a stopper clasp.

Strake (or streak) A curved metal piece nailed to the outside rim of wide rimmed farm wheels in early carts and wagons to prevent wear. It was later superseded by the rim or tyre.

Strake tyre. A tyre comprising several short sections (streaks (q.v)) placed over the joints of the felloes.

Strouter. A wooden support for strengthening the side of a waggon, these were often elaborately shaped and chamfered.

a. The difference in angle between the plumb spoke and the vertical in a heavily dished wheel which is not tipped over completely.
b. The angle formed by the inclination of the spoke to the vertical on ground level.
c. The amount the bottom spoke is splayed outwards from the vertical.

Summers. Longitutinal bearers for the main bottom frame of a vehicle body.

Swaybar. A wooden bar attached to the fuchells (q.v.) and bearing under the bottom of the perch (q.v.) to strengthen the forecarriage gear when turning on the king pin (q.v.).

Swingletree or Singletree. A horizontal draught bar to which the traces of a draught horse might be attached. Usually linked to a loop on the splinterbar (q.v.).

Tailboard. The rear drop-down portion of a cart or van body. In light two and four wheeled carriages it was used as a foot rest for the rear passengers.

Tang. See tongue

Tanging, or Tonguing up. Preparing the ends of the spokes for the felloes (q.v.)

Telegraph springs. A combination of crosswise and lengthwise springs used on stage and mail coaches in the early 19th century.

Tenon. For wheelwrights it is cut with square shoulders, narrower than the width of the rail. It is tapered in width so that it wedges tightly into the mortice and is secured by pinning.

Throughbraces. Long lengths of leather forming the suspension of many early carriages and coaches. (q.v. Brace)

Tiger. The name given to grooms of small stature who rode or sat at the rear of an owner- driven carriage. The name derives from the striped livery worn by the grooms.

Thills. Old English for plank or pole. See Shafts.

Tilbury suspension. A design of suspension for two-wheeled carts named after its designer, the coachbuilder, Tilbury.

Tilt. See Bale hoops.

Tilt cover. A flexible tarpaulin or canvas cover for a van.

Tilt stick. A strip of wood used to control the degree of tilt on an agricultural tipping cart.

Tonga Gear. Adapted by te British Army from vehicles used in areas East of Suez employing a central pole supported on the saddle pad of each horse.

Tongue. The top tenon of a spoke which fits into the felloe (q.v.) mortice. Tongues may be round, square or tapered.

Transom. The two main cross members of the fore-carriage to which the forepart of the perch is fixed and which support the fifth wheel.

Traveller. The tool used by blacksmiths to measure the circumference of a wheel rims and tyres (q.v.).

Tread (or Trod). The outer part of a strake (q.v.) or tyre that makes contact with the road.

Trenning. Putting the felloes (q.v.)on the wheel.

Trig. A skid for a wheel.

Trigger. A catch to hold a wheel when driving on steep ground.

Trimmings. The interior furnishings of a carriage including the seats, cushions, linings, hood and leather parts.

Trod. See Tread

Trunk. A large box usually fitted to the rear of a vehicle to contain luggage.

Tyre (or Tire). The iron rim around the wheel. The term derives from the fact that it “ties” the wheel together.

Tyre bender.

Tyre dog. A pincer-like tool used to pick up the heated tyre (q.v.) from the fire in order that it can be placed over the wheel and hammered into position.

Tyring platform. A heavy iron platform on which the wheel is screwed dish-side up to receive the heated tyre which is hammered onto the wheel and cooled quickly with water.