What Are the Parts of a Wagon?

By Elizabeth Grant ; Updated April 12, 2017
A little blue wagon that is being used for a gardening stand, showing the tongue, wheels, seat and box.

Some parts of a wagon can differ depending on the type of wagon. For example, some wagons are open air, while others may have a full canvas top. However, the basic parts of all wagons are similar, whether they belong to a full sized chuckwagon from the old west or a child's pull-along toy.

Wheels

Wheels on wagons range from cheap plastic to hardwoods that completely shatter under too-heavy loads. Children's wagons were at one time purchased with tires that looked like automobile tires. Metal rims were concealed from tearing up the sidewalk with a thin rubber tire that had to be re-inflated when low on air. Today's children's wagons have more durable tires, made either of plastic or the thick rubber tires that are often seen on lawnmowers. Larger wagons, such as wagons pulled by horses, have wheels made of wood, metal or car tire rubber, depending on their weight. The largest, heaviest wagons requiring a team of working animals will usually have a wooden outer rim, a metal inner rim and support rods made of steel covered by wood.

Box And Seats

Boxes include the areas in which passengers and cargo are stowed. Not all wagons have seats, including many children's wagons. If a child's wagon does come seats, these are often removable to allow the child to play in the entire box area. In larger wagons, the seat is usually raised above the box or completely apart from it. Boxes often take up most of the frame of the wagon, leaving a seat to be added on to the front of the frame and counterbalanced in the back.

Tongue

The tongue of the wagon allows it to be connected to a pulling force that will help the wagon move. With children's wagons, the tongue is usually attached to a handle for manual pulling, or to a connector that allows it to be connected to a bicycle. With larger wagons, full harnesses for oxes, horses or mules are attached to the wagon via the tongue.