Saturday, April 11, 2020

Keeping the Dust Settled

The county sprinkler wagon is ready to start settling the dust. The nozzles at the rear of the wagon distribute the water. The tank can be filled through the hatch at the driver's rear or from a hydrant using a hose connected to the water connection just behind the driver.
As summer approaches, the dirt roads of central California turn to dust. Any slight wind or moving carriage will pick up this dust and transfer to such destinations as your clothes, lungs, the wash drying on a clothesline and tonight's dinner. The folks in the nineteenth century were well aware of this problem and had a solution: the sprinkler wagon.
     While there were several companies making this wooden wonder, Studebaker was by far the leader in sales. Always the maker of quality wagons, the Studebaker folks followed through with the sprinkler wagon. Water from the tank would flow by gravity to nozzles just off the ground which would distribute flow in wide fans to cover as much width as possible. On especially hot days, the slow-moving water fans also attracted small children.
The main pieces were the chassis, tank, seat and nozzle system. Other parts like the brakes were added with styrene. Wheels and axles are from a Jordan kit.
 I have wanted to make one of these interesting wagons for some time but just how to get a good representation eluded me until I acquired my 3D printer. The model of the Studebaker wagon was based mostly on a prototype found in Angel's Camp, California. For details of the mechanisms, Studebaker catalogs were consulted as were drawings available online. I drew up the components in the Fusion 360 program to get them ready for the printer. After printing and some cleanup, I added a few more details made from styrene and brass wire. The wheels from a Jordan beer wagon kit were used but SS Ltd makes wheels of the correct size as do some folks on Shapeways. I painted it the standard yellow with a red frame and wheels. The end decal was copied from a prototype wagon.
 Now, the dust is held down on the roads adjacent to the S&C which makes everyone a lot happier.

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