Why are the front wheels smaller than the rear wheels on wagons?

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First, as the diameter of the wheel increases, the draft of the animal decreases, hence making it easier on the horses, mules, and oxen to pull the wagons and carriages. So, a wagon with 48" wheels will pull easier than a wagon with 24" wheels. Now for the second part of the answer; if all wagons had 48" wheels front and rear, we would have an engineering conflict. When we try to steer the wagon, the front wheel would strike the body and reduce the turning radius. Also, the assembly of the fifth wheel would lift the body high in the front. So, to overcome this conflict, we lower the height of the front wheel just enough to level the wagon and increase the turning radius. The results are a maneuverable, easy pulling vehicle. How much is my farm wagon worth? Prices vary greatly depending on many factors. But the most discerning factor is originality and authenticity. A wagon that has been untouched may be worth 1000's of dollars more than a wagon that is solid but repainted or altered ... more
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