A photo of the restored Carriage Factory Museum overlaying a sketch of the assembly room:  where a carriage takes shape.

The form and function of a typical carriage factory followed the functional needs of a typical carriage being constructed there. The Campbell Carriage Factory on the edge of the Tantramar was quite typical for a "pre-industrial" factory in the first half of the 19th century.

Leslie Van Patter
Paul Bogaard, Adèle Hempel
19th Century
Sackville, New Brunswick, CANADA
© 2007, Tantramar Heritage Trust. All Rights Reserved.


A carriage FACTORY is one step up from a “shop” where one or two workers would make one cart or sled for themselves. A “factory” would have room for several workers doing specialized jobs, and room for machines to help with their work. These would require a source of “power.”   One would expect a factory to be more complicated than a shop.

A factory BUILDING would require careful organization. How would the workers, their different jobs, and the power machinery be arranged?  Although there must have been variation from one carriage factory to another, it seems the Campbell Carriage Factory was fairly typical in many respects.  After all, how the factory building was organized into different rooms with different functions would depend what they were producing, and what that required. It was a CARRIAGE factory (although they also produced wagons and sleighs)…so, the functional layout largely depended upon the key steps required for constructing any carriage (or wagon, or sleigh)1  So let's check out the key features of  a carriage!
A carriage FACTORY is one step up from a “shop” where one or two workers would make one cart or sled for themselves. A “factory” would have room for several workers doing specialized jobs, and room for machines to help with their work. These would require a source of “power.”   One would expect a factory to be more complicated than a shop.

A factory BUILDING would require careful organization. How would the workers, their different jobs, and the power machinery be arranged?  Although there must have been variation from one carriage factory to another, it seems the Campbell Carriage Factory was fairly typical in many respects.  After all, how the factory building was organized into different rooms with different functions would depend what they were producing, and what that required. It was a CARRIAGE factory (although they also produced wagons and sleighs)…so, the functional layout largely depended upon the key steps required for constructing any carriage (or wagon, or sleigh)1  So let's check out the key features of  a carriage!
1   Kinney, Thomas. The Carriage Trade: Making Horse-drawn Vehicles in America. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 2004. 52-55.
© 2007, Tantramar Heritage Trust. All Rights Reserved.

A sketch of a typical carriage, which explodes into its five parts, labeled:  seat, body, undercarriage, wheels and shafts.

Play this animation to learn the key parts that make up a carriage, no matter what style or model.

This animation begins with a sketch of a typical carriage, and then (at the push of a button) explodes into its five essential parts, labeled:  seat, body, undercarriage, wheels and shafts.

Tantramar Interactive Inc.
Leslie Van Patter, Paul Bogaard
19th Century
© 2006, Tantramar Heritage Trust. All Rights Reserved.


A carriage (or wagon, or sleigh) is not “made” strictly speaking... it is assembled.

It is put together by assembling these five essential parts. Each of these parts, in turn, is fitted together out of its component pieces. These are the pieces the skilled craftsmen begin by making:

spokes, hubs, rims and tyre each made by hand and then fitted together to make a wheel;
 
sides, bottom, framing pieces... to make a body;

long curved poles and a crosspiece... to make shafts;

axles, axlebeds, reaches, springs and a 5th wheel... to form the undercarriage;

bottom, sides, back ... to make a seat;

And this does not yet take account of upholstery, metal trim, rugs and lanterns!  All these would need to crafted from raw material, particular kinds of wood (many of which they harvested, themselves), iron in different forms produced at a foundry, and leather from a tannery.
A carriage (or wagon, or sleigh) is not “made” strictly speaking... it is assembled.

It is put together by assembling these five essential parts. Each of these parts, in turn, is fitted together out of its component pieces. These are the pieces the skilled craftsmen begin by making:

spokes, hubs, rims and tyre each made by hand and then fitted together to make a wheel;
 
sides, bottom, framing pieces... to make a body;

long curved poles and a crosspiece... to make shafts;

axles, axlebeds, reaches, springs and a 5th wheel... to form the undercarriage;

bottom, sides, back ... to make a seat;

And this does not yet take account of upholstery, metal trim, rugs and lanterns!  All these would need to crafted from raw material, particular kinds of wood (many of which they harvested, themselves), iron in different forms produced at a foundry, and leather from a tannery.
1 Kinney, Thomas. The Carriage Trade: Making Horse-drawn Vehicles in America. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 2004. 55-63.
© 2007, Tantramar Heritage Trust. All Rights Reserved.

This image from the Campbell Carriage Factory captures several wheels under construction, from hubs, spokes and rims.

This busy corner shows a wheel being pieced together, with a variety of them in the background. The inset shows a set of four hubs in various stages of being shaped, allowed to dry, shaped on a lathe, and a series of holes drilled out to form mortises which will receive one carefully shaped end of a spoke -- usually 14 per wheel.

David Corkum
Paul Bogaard, Leslie Van Patter, Adèle Hempel
19-20th Century
1998.1.1548,1553,1554; 1998.4.1,3
© 2007, Town of Sackville. All Rights Reserved.


This image of a workbench in the Campbell Carriage Factory shows a body under construction, and beyond it a seat.

Workbenches line the walls of this room, with windows for light. Shown here are a seemingly simple frame which will make a carriage body. It is actually a rather sophisticated piece of cabinet work. Further up the bench a seat is being pieced together.

Paul Bogaard
Leslie Van Patter, Adèle Hempel
19-20th Century
1998.1.2425; 1998.1.2428
© 2007, Tantramar Heritage Trust. All Rights Reserved.


This image displays several undercarriage pieces, in the Campbell Carriage Factory, at various stages of completion.

These pieces are were all being carefully crafted to fit into the "undercarriage" -- the complex of parts including axles, springs and various wooden pieces -- which allow the body and seat to be attached to the wheels, but still allow them to turn and be steered. If you look closely you'll see that some of these examples are only rough, some refined, and some deftly painted and ready to go.

Paul Bogaard
Leslie Van Patter, Adèle Hempel
19-20th Century
1998.1.2676, 2657, 2542, 2705, 3604, 2716
© 2007, Tantramar Heritage Trust. All Rights Reserved.


This image shows one pair of repainted shafts, in the Campbell Carriage Factory, for attaching a single horse to a carriage.

A pair of shafts was used to attach the horse to its carriage. You can see from the "exploding" animation where they attached to the carriage. A single horse would then be backed between the two shafts and attached with various pieces of harness. Two horses would require a different sort of attachment -- a single pole -- which would reach from the carriage between the team. Notice that these shafts have quite a bend in one end. This required the wooden piece to be steamed and then carefully bent.

Paul Bogaard
Leslie Van Patter, Adèle Hempel
19-20th Century
2002.2.21
© 2007, Tantramar Heritage Trust. All Rights Reserved.


This image shows both a manufactured top as well as the wooden pieces of a top crafted in the Campbell Carriage Factory.

A carriage can work without a top, but driving in the rain might make you wish you had one! In the early years, wooden struts were steamed and bent and then covered with canvas or leather. Later on, the Campbell Carriage Factory purchased tops already made, usually with metal struts, and attached them to carriages if their customers so chose.

Paul Bogaard
Leslie Van Patter, Adèle Hempel
19-20th Century
1998.1.2418, 2419; 2002.2.32
© 2007, Tantramar Heritage Trust. All Rights Reserved.


(1) Our workmen need to start with raw material, for example, wood and metal...one place to saw the tree trunks into slabs and boards, and another place to heat the metal at a forge to cut and shape it into pieces;

(2) Then the skilled blacksmith needs to use that forge to craft specialized parts;

(3) And the wood workers need specialized benches and tools to craft all the many pieces already mentioned;

(4) Then these need to be fitted together into our five essential parts, and finally these parts need to be assembled into a complete carriage;

(5) And we’ve almost forgotten, the whole thing needs to be painted, upholstered and trimmed.

To summarize:
(1) We need a room for powered machines...and a source of power;
(2) We need a blacksmith shop...which (think fire!) will need to be separate...
(3) We need a room with benches and specialized tools...
(4) We need space for assembling the full carriage... and it should probably be near to the painting room, since assembling and painting are accomplished in a series of interdependent steps...
(5) And we need a room just for painting.  Since it Read More
(1) Our workmen need to start with raw material, for example, wood and metal...one place to saw the tree trunks into slabs and boards, and another place to heat the metal at a forge to cut and shape it into pieces;

(2) Then the skilled blacksmith needs to use that forge to craft specialized parts;

(3) And the wood workers need specialized benches and tools to craft all the many pieces already mentioned;

(4) Then these need to be fitted together into our five essential parts, and finally these parts need to be assembled into a complete carriage;

(5) And we’ve almost forgotten, the whole thing needs to be painted, upholstered and trimmed.

To summarize:
(1) We need a room for powered machines...and a source of power;
(2) We need a blacksmith shop...which (think fire!) will need to be separate...
(3) We need a room with benches and specialized tools...
(4) We need space for assembling the full carriage... and it should probably be near to the painting room, since assembling and painting are accomplished in a series of interdependent steps...
(5) And we need a room just for painting.  Since it has to be protected from dust, this was usually upstairs, and completely protected by plastered walls.

© 2007, Tantramar Heritage Trust. All Rights Reserved.

An animation allowing one’s x-ray vision to look through the exterior of the building at the layout of four work areas.

Explore this illustration to see how the Campbell's decided to organize their carriage production.

In this final animation, moving the mouse allows one's x-ray vision to see right through the exterior of a watercolour illustration of the carriage factory building. As you sweep across the first floor you see craftsmen at their "Benchwork" in one room, and then the "Machines" room with power-driven saws and lathes powered by a horse. Choosing the second floor, you sweep across the "Assembly" room, noting one workman carrying a completed part (a wheel) up the stairs and others assembling a carriage. Finally, as you sweep across the "Painting" room, you see parts being painted.

Peter Manchester, Tantramar Interactive Inc.
Leslie Van Patter, Paul Bogaard
19th Century
© 2007, Tantramar Heritage Trust. All Rights Reserved.


Learning Objectives

The “Factory Layout” Learning Object is designed for students and educators to meet the following objectives:

• Learn about organization of work in a pre-industrial factory;

• Explore the idea of how form follows function;

• Establish links between the requirements for any horse-drawn vehicle and the stages of construction for its manufacture;

• Learn about an important period in Canadian history, when manufacturing was still in the hands of craftsmen and compare that with today’s industrial world;

• Identify, research, and describe the main parts of any horse-drawn vehicle;

• Identify the different kind of skills required in early manufacturing;

• Research, discuss and analyze how the example of this carriage factory compares with what we know of carriage factories all across Canada.

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