Friday, March 27, 2009

Occupation: Wheelwright

(image source: History of Work)
One of our French-Canadian Ancestors: 
1900 census: Peter (Pierre) Robillard of Norwich, New London, Connecticut; Age: 63; b. Aug 1831 Canada; wife: Philomene Ducharme b. Nov. 1836 Canada; Occupation: wheelwright

A wheelwright is a tradesman who builds or repairs wheels for carts or wagons. The wheels were traditionally made from wood and were banded by iron tires. Sometimes bone or horn were used for decorative purposes. The iron hoop or 'tire' was supplied by the blacksmith. Wheelwrights were sometimes also referred to as a wainwright. The word, wainwright, is the combination of the root words 'wain' (a large wagon for farm use) and 'wright' (a worker or maker). In modern times, wheelwrights continue to make and repair a wide variety of wheels for horse-drawn vehicles used in farming, equine competitions, and historical events. One such wheelwright shop is located in Colonial Williamsburg creating the wheels for the carriages used in the historic district.
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