About The Burton Wagon


The Burton wagon is often called the Showmans, but Burton is preferable as it differentiates it from the heavy coach-like showmen’s wagons pulled by several horses or an engine. It is straight-sided but with wheels under the body, which projects over them, affording maximum floor space. The walls may be either paneled or of rib-and matchboard construction, like the Reading, but they never slope out more than 2 inches. The roof, which always had gutters and a skylight, has a flatter arch than that of the Reading. The most elaborate wagons are paneled front, back and sides, with elaborately carved oak plaques fixed to each panel. Though sometimes Gypsy-owned, this type was the one most favored by traveling showmen who preferred the greater floor space. Unlike the Gypsies they kept to the high-roads where they did not need high wheels to cross rough country.


The Burton wagon was usually 10ft to 10ft 6in in length with porches a little shorter than those of the Reading and Ledge wagons. The weight varied from 3000 pounds to 3600 pounds. The front wheels were about 3ft 4-6in tall with the back wheels being much closer to them in size at about 3ft 10in to 4ft high so as to run under the body, where they are set back just inside the bottom sills.