Artillery wheel

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Artillery Wheel

The artillery wheel was developed for use on gun carriages when it was found that the lateral forces involved in horse artillery manoeuvres caused normally-constructed cart wheels to collapse. Rather than having its spokes mortised into a wooden nave (hub), it has them fitted together (mitred) then bolted into a metal nave. Its tyre is shrunk onto the rim in the usual way but it is also bolted on for security. A normal wagon wheel is dished so that in its lowest part, the spokes are perpendicular to the ground thus supporting the weight (with the axle not truly horizontal but angled downward toward the outside about 5 degrees). This is not done with artillery wheels.

1926 Humber car with artillery wheels
1927 Ford T
1933 Cadillac with wire wheels
1927 Ford A—replacement for T

When higher speeds and consequently higher lateral forces were attained with the introduction of motor vehicles, the artillery wheel was used in those too. By the 1920s, motor cars used wheels which looked at a glance like artillery wheels but which were of forged steel or welded from steel pressed sections. These too were usually called artillery wheels.

By the late 1920s the inadequacies of artillery wheels had brought about their sweeping replacement by the more expensive wire wheels.

By 1933-1934 the wire wheels were obsolete for mass production cars having been replaced by pressed steel wheels pressed from heavy-gauge steel sheet. This switch took place around 1933 in USA and 1934 in UK. For performance, particularly roadholding, racing cars and sports cars continued to use the much more expensive but comparatively light in weight wire wheels until they were in turn replaced by cast alloy wheels in the 1950s.