Jump to content


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Stereo card showing a long buckboard. Note the boards lay directly on the axles without springs
Duke's cigarettes advertising insert card, 1850–1920

A buckboard is a four-wheeled wagon of simple construction meant to be drawn by a horse or other large animal. A distinctly American utility vehicle, the buckboard has no springs between the body and the axles.[1] The suspension is provided by the flexible floorboards of the body and a leaf spring under the seat(s). The buckboard has no sideboards on the body, leaving the floor quite mobile. In rough terrain, the floor can flex and "buck", lending the vehicle its name.[2]

The buckboard is steered by its front wheels, which are connected by a single axle. The front and rear axle are connected by a platform of one or more boards to which the front axle is connected on a pivoting joint at its midpoint. A buckboard wagon often carries a seat for a driver. Such a seat may be supported by elliptical springs.


The buckboard was invented by Reverend Cyrus Comstock, a travelling preacher living in Lewis, Essex County, New York who established many churches in the area during the early 1800s.[3][4]

Originally designed for personal transportation in the Adirondack Mountains, these vehicles were widely used in newly settled regions of the United States.[5]


Contemporary buckboard

In the early 20th century, as horse-drawn vehicles were supplanted by the motor car, the term 'buckboard' was also used in reference to a passenger car (usually a 'tourer') from which the rear body had been removed and replaced with a load-carrying bed. These home-built dual-purpose passenger- and load-carrying vehicles were the precursors of the factory-built 'utility' or 'pickup truck'.

A further "buckboard" example are Cyclecars, such as the Smith Flyer, that were also referred to as 'Buckboard Cars'.

The community of Rowland Heights, California has an annual parade commemorating Buckboard Days.


  1. ^ "Buckboard". Hansen Wheel and Wagon. Archived from the original on December 1, 2014.
  2. ^ Smith, D.J.M. (1988). A Dictionary of Horse Drawn Vehicles. J. A. Allen & Co. Ltd. p. 24. ISBN 0851314686. OL 11597864M. Buckboard/buck wagon. Four-wheeled, open passenger vehicle, popular in the Western States of North America from the 1830's to the 1900's. Constructed from strong but springy planks of ash wood, having one or two rows of crosswise seating. Drawn by a single horse or pair. Unsprung, apart from the resilience of its woodwork. Ideal for cross country driving where there were few roads or tracks.
  3. ^ Royce, Caroline Halstead (1902). Bessboro: a history of Westport, Essex Co., N.Y. Open Library. p. 230.
  4. ^ Report of the Proceedings at the Memorial Meeting in Honor of the Late Mr. Joseph Andrews, (engraver). David Clapp & Son. 1880. p. 580.
  5. ^ "Buckboard". Wernerwagonworks.com. Archived from the original on June 19, 2008. Retrieved December 13, 2010.

External links[edit]