Jul 13th 2022

Construction of a Wagon Wheel Odometer

Posted by SHOP PROJECT on Jul 13th 2022

Hansen Wheel & Wagon Shop had the privilege to construct a display model of a wagon odometer for the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City, UT.

Many pioneers' journals noted the miles they traveled in one day...but just how did they figure that out?? Through the ingenious use of a wagon wheel odometer. Such an odometer operates by using mathematical calculations derived from the diameter of the wheel and the operation of several cogs and gears. In the odometer we built, each rotation of the 48-inch wheel moves a seven-cog gear that operates a worm gear and after that a sixty-tooth gear which records every mile traveled. The final reading is noted from the last gear measuring every ten miles traveled.


An odometer on our modern day cars is a basic feature. But it wasn't so simple to record miles traveled in a wagon. Watch this video to see how a wagon odometer works!