Model wagon, horse-drawn quarry truck


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Science Museum Group Collection

Model wagon, scale 1:10, truck used by Ralph Allen at quarries near Bath, c.1730.

Lines of wooden rails, or "waggon ways", together with trucks, appear to have been introduced about 1650 in the Newcastle colliery district, and in this connection it is recorded in the life of Lord Keeper North that in 1676 "the manner of the carriage is by laying rails of timber from the colliery down to the river exactly straight and parallel, and bulky carts are made with four rowlets fitting these rails, whereby the carriage is so easy that one horse will draw down four or five chaldrons of coals"

This model was made using drawings published by Desaguliers in 1734 as representing the arrangements used by Ralph Allen to convey stone from his quarries to the river Avon, near Bath.

The waggon-way consisted of rectangular rails of oak laid along the ground and probably connected by cross ties, covered with ballast to prevent damage from the horses' feet. The truck was carried on four cast-iron wheels having deep flanges on the inner edge to prevent them from leaving the rails. The loaded truck travelled along the rails which sloped downwards towards the river and was guided by a man walking behind it who was able to put the brakes on to control the motion. The return journey was made by two horses.


Railway Models
Object Number:
wood (unidentified), plastic (unidentified), leather and metal (unknown)
model wagon
Science Museum, Workshops