THE RETURN OF THE WHEELWRIGHT
When you arrive at this website you may be wondering why anyone would want to
start an association related to the topic of building wooden wheels. It is,
after all, the beginning of the 21st century. In terms of technology, we are
light-years away from the horse and buggy era. But in recent years, more and
more people have discovered the joys of driving horse-drawn vehicles. Carriage
driving, wagon treks, pleasure driving, competitive driving, and chuck-wagon
racing are just a few of the ways people use horse-drawn vehicles. I doubt if
anyone could have predicted this turn of events in the early part of the last
century, when automobiles inspired the public imagination. As carriage shops
gave way to automobile factories, who would have thought wheelwrights would once
again be in demand.
Today in North America, and in other areas of the world, the numbers of part-
and full-time wheelwrights are growing steadily, accompanied by a growing need
for information. Organizations such as the WCWA and their publication, The
Traveller disseminate technical information to this growing body of
interest. In recent years, new books on carriage building and the technical
aspects of wheel building have found a ready market. The need for relevant
technical information is particularly acute because many of the tradesmen who
would have passed on their knowledge are gone. Gone too are the apprenticeship
systems that supported the industry.
HOW THE WCWA GOT STARTED
We have been in existence since 1992, when three founding members got
together to talk about networking and possibly doing a newsletter. The concept
was that wheelwrights often work in isolation, in their garage or shop and in
rural areas, in a barn. They seldom have the opportunity to talk to, and learn
from, others of like interests. Several people came forward to establish the
Association, a newsletter was started, and as they say, the rest is history.
Currently, the Association has about 180 members and while a large number of our
members are living in western Canada, we also have many members from the United
States, England and Australia.
The Executive of the WCWA would like to extend a warm welcome to anyone who
is interested in becoming a member. View the page "Membership"
for more information.
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