Thursday, August 30, 2012

Axle Grease for your Wagon or Carriage

Below are three recipes for making axle grease. These are included in my 19th Century Carriages & Wagons A Writer's Resource Guide. If you are interested in purchasing a copy of the book follow the link

Substitute for Grease, for Coach Wheels
Mix one pound of hog's lard with half a pound of black lead; stir them well together,
whilst melting over a slow fire. If the axles and bushes of the wheels be true, a carriage may safely be run one hundred, or one hundred and fifty miles, with once using the above composition.
Source: The New Family Receipts Book ©1811 pg414

The grease used for farm-carts is commonly a mixture, melted together in equal parts, of tallow or train-oil and common tar. It is kept in a deep narrow tub, and applied with a broad pointed stick. The tub should have a cover, but is usually without one, and subject to collect dust in the cart-shed. When a cart is to be greased, the linch-pin and washer are removed from the projecting point of the axle; the upper part of the wheel is then pulled towards you from the cart with such a jerk as to allow the lower edge of the wheel to remain on the same spot of ground it was, and the point of the axle-arm will then lean upon the edge of the bush at the back of the nave. The grease is then spread upon the upper side of the axle-arm with the stick, the wheel pushed back to its proper place, and the washer and linch-pin respectively restored to their proper places in the projecting point of the axle. The groove of the saddle is also greased, to lessen the friction of the back-chain when playing upon it. The grease used for railway carriages has sulphur in it, which is said to make it more durable, and might, no doubt, be used in farm carts, provided the cost were not exorbitant. It is, I believe, a patented article.
Source: The Book of the Farm Vol. 1 ©1850

WAGONS, To Grease.
But few people are aware that they do wagons and carriages more injury by grasing too plentifully than in almost any other way. A well made wheel will endure common wear from ten to twenty-five years, if care is taken to use the right kind and proper amount of grease; but if this matter is not attended to, they will be used up in five or six years. Lard should never be used on a wagon, for it will penetrate the hub, and work its way out around the tenons of the spokes, and spoil the wheel. Tallow is the best lubricator for wood axle trees, and castor oil for iron. Just enough grease should - be applied to the spindle of a wagon to give it a light coating; this is better than more, for the surplus put on will work out at the ends, and be forced by the shoulder bands and nut washers into the hub around the outside of the boxes. To oil an iron axle tree, first wipe the spindle clean with a cloth wet with spirits of turpentine, and then apply a few drops of castor oil near the shoulder and end. One 'teaspoonful is sufficient for the whole.
Source: Household & Farmers' Cyclopedia: ©1876 pg559

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