2.  Left-side-brake Freight Wagon

2 & 3. Freight Wagons - 1880's.  These particular wagons saw hard service in the Imperial Valley.  Similar wagons plied the foothills and Sierra mountain roads, including the Virginia Turnpike through the covered bridge.  They carried up to 4000 pounds each of a variety of goods, and had a working life of about 4000 miles.  They are the forerunners of present-day semi trucks, and provided food and supplies to the northern gold and silver mining communities.

Left-side-brake freight wagon, during its return to the barn after being "conserved."

The front of the wagon (with smaller wheels and the driver's footrest) is on the left in this picture.
This wagon has the driver's brake lever on this left side, which can be pushed either by hand or foot (note foot pedal).  
Pictures below show the lever system that presses the brake shoes against the wheel rims.

Right side of this freight wagon as it is backed into its new home in the barn.
The top two boards on each side of this particular wagon were removable to accommodate various load.

The brake tie rod seen in the top picture links to the long vertical lever seen
in the picture here.  This lever attaches to a hefty shaft (detail in picture below).

Welded to the under side of the shaft are two more levers, one for each
side of the brake beam.  These are linked to tie bars pierced through the
brake beam. Attachment to the brake beam is in the previous picture.

This brake system has another feature common to heavy-duty wagons -- self-energizing brake application.  It is apparent in the topmost picture that the driver pushes his brake lever forward to apply the brakes.  As the wagon slows, the driver's body tends to keep moving forward relative to the wagon.  The driver resists this motion by pushing harder on the brakes.  This is called self-energizing, because applying the brakes tends to make the driver apply the brakes harder.  The ratchet teeth which the brake lever passes near the driver's seat are cut so the driver can push the lever sideways to keep the lever in position after the brakes are applied -- the teeth allow motion to apply the brakes but stop motion in the opposite direction.

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