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Old Dan and his traveling companions
About open equipage
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As to the oxen equipage, (known contemporarily as furniture), there were but two components, the yoke and the chain. The American yoke was fashioned from a block of wood four feet in length, flat on the top and arched on the underside at each end to accommodate the curvature of the ox’s neck. Two holes were bored at each end of the yoke, spaced apart about the width of an ox’s head to receive the bow which encircled the ox’s neck. They were most often made of hickory,

The bow bent in the configuration of the letter "U" by soaking it in hot water, and was placed in a jig for drying. Holes were drilled in the ends of the bows (usually one hole on the inside member of the bow). Through these holes, pegs (called "pins") were inserted to hold the bow in place. Later in the period, manufactured iron "keys" were introduced for the same purpose. Another hole was drilled in the middle of the yoke and fitted with a piece of hardware from which was suspended an iron ring.

The Mexican traders used yokes without bows which were lashed to animals’ horns. As Gregg explained, "Thus the head is maintained in a fixed position, and they pull or rather push by the force of the neck, which of course, is kept constantly strained upward." The American yoke with its bows allowed the ox to put the full measure of his strength into the pull, far more efficient than the Mexican method.

The chain, nine to 10 feet long, had links four inches in width. Attached to each end of the chain was a sturdy hook. Once the wheelers were yoked and stationed next to the wagon, one on either side of the tongue, the ring of the yoke was suspended through a curved iron device at the end of the tongue called a gooseneck. From the gooseneck, the chain was extended to the next yoke and hooked to the ring. Each additional yoke required its own ring from which the chain was hooked to the ring of the yoke behind it.