Spring-Driven Stage Cart

Most likely used during stage performances, this cart has three wheels and a steering column. The device moves thanks to hand-loaded leaf springs placed near the wheels. As they uncoiled, stored power was transmitted to the driving wheels using a complicated set of gears.

Did You Know? Just like early computers, this cart is a simple programmable device. Instead of using punch cards, however, it uses spring-loaded cams — a wheel with bumps. By switching the size of the cams, the cart automatically moved at controllable speeds and distances. Switching cam size caused it to steer in one direction or another.

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