POTD: Braking Power

Braking Power
Death Valley, California

The brake pad bar on this wagon wheel is nearly as tall as I am. It had to be big because it’s a big wheel (7 feet in diameter) on a big wagon, part of one of the famous 20-mule team wagon rigs that hauled borax out of Death Valley back in the day. The complete rig consisted of two wagons carrying 10 tons of borax plus the tank wagon which held 12,000 gallons of water used to water the mules on 165 mile trip across the Mojave Desert. The entire setup, when fully loaded weighed 33 tons.