The railroad handcar first started showing up in the 1860's. This model first showed up in the 1880's and was the basic design, however, there were countless
models and variations.
It is also known as a pump trolley, pump car, jigger, Kalamazoo, or draisine.
A typical design consists of an arm, called the walking beam, that pivots, seesaw-like, on a base, which the passengers alternately push down and pull up to move the car.
It is not clear who invented the handcar. It is likely that machinists in individual railroad shops began to build them to their own design.
Many of the earliest ones operated by turning large cranks. It is likely that the pump handcar, with a reciprocating walking beam, came later.
While there are hundreds of US patents pertaining to details of handcars, probably the primary designs of mechanisms for powering handcars were in such common use
that they were not patentable when companies started to manufacture handcars for sale to the railroads.
Handcars have been normally used by railway service personnel (also known as a Gandy dancer) for railroad inspection and maintenance.
Because of their low weight and small size, they can be put on and taken off the rails at any place, allowing trains to pass.
Handcars have since been replaced by self-propelled vehicles that do not require the use of manual power, instead relying on internal combustion engines or electricity
to move the vehicle.
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