The Huckster Wagon

Pulled by a horse, the huckster wagon took the pack peddler to the next level


| January 2002



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The open cab

The evolution of entrepreneurship in the days of our youth saw the huckster wagon become the next step 'forward' after the pack peddler. The latter was limited to what he could carry but was not bound by roads.

The wagon peddler could carry a much greater stock, and heavier items, and he could use the capacity of his vehicle to transport 'trade-ins' he took in swap. These often included old hens or butter and eggs, traded for sugar and spices.

Two kinds of wagon peddlers, or 'hucksters,' visited us on Muddy Creek. One sold fresh fruits and vegetables and might have made one trip a year into the country with oranges and grapefruit.

He found folks out our way pretty self-sufficient, and so spent more time on the city streets.

This type of huckster used an open-sided wagon pulled by a horse until about 1930, when he graduated to a motorized vehicle that had open sides or wire mesh on the sides. The Reo Speedwagon of about the 1925-era was one such vehicle.

The peddler who more often came our way used a closed-body wagon. I can see it still. It was one of those special spring wagons that was to a buck-board what a heavy-duty panel truck is to a pickup today.