6 Responses

  1. deaconB says:

    My first thought, in hearing shopping carts called “wagons” was “How silly!  A wagon is something that is pulled!” But that’s absurd.  A cart has only two wheels, and a wagon has four.  A golf cart may be pushed or pulled, or in the case of a motorized one, it’s a four-wheel vehicle that’s driven.  I am a a complete loss as to define the difference between a cart and a wagon, although I know of no 2-wheel wagons, not any wagons that are commonly pushed.  A trolley normally operates on a well-defined path, although not necessarily on rails.

    From reading really old newspaper advertising, mostly, and some magazine advertising, some stores originally called them “bas-karts”, especially when they were new and shoppers had been using handheld baskets to hold their selections.  It may be that it was the trademark of the people who made them, or it may have been a cutesy way of advertising.  I seem to recall that being used in IGA grocery ads, and, G.C.Murphy ads.  I especially remember the Murphy ads because I never saw shopping carts in a dime store, although shooping carts (and wider aisles to accommodate them) were pretty much universal when discount stores replaced them.

  2. Heimhenge says:

    deaconB said: I am a a complete loss as to define the difference between a cart and a wagon, although I know of no 2-wheel wagons, not any wagons that are commonly pushed.

    Agree. I think they’re all fuzzy definitions. It was a “shopping cart” where I grew up in the Midwest, and that’s the term they use here in Arizona also. I do find it interesting that most online stores use the term “shopping cart” for a totally digital construct that is neither pushed nor pulled. Maybe that’s indicative of some type of consensus, at least online … developers strive to use terms that will be familiar to potential buyers.

  3. cjacobs1066 says:

    Relevant Wikipedia articles assert without any citations that wagons are four-wheeled and carts are two-wheeled. That’s my usage, too. I did see one article that defined a wagon as a four-wheeled cart but etymology appears to support the 4/2 distinction. I also noted much blurring of definitions, e.g., carriages are wagons for people and not for cargo.

  4. deaconB says:

    Carriages aren’t necessarily for people.  The trucks of railroad cars are carriages.  (The phrase truck of a railroad car is, admittedly, going to cause some peoples’ heads to explode, but that’s what you call the carriage underneath each end of a rail car, the carriage typically having a couple of axles, a fifth-wheel type swivel on top for attaching the fail car, and a coupler to attach the car to the rest of the train.)

    I know a motorized golf cart has typically four wheels, and when you pull around a hand-drawn golf cart, I assume that it’s rising on two wheels, but when you aren’t moving, what does the golf cart rest upon?  Is it just the flat bottom of the bag, or is there a peg/leg or two to keep the bag from coming into contact with the ground? (Obviously, I’m no golfer.)

    There are various contraptions for carrying merchandise in stores and warehouses.  What do they call the things you use to bring lumber and plywood to the cash register in Lowes or Home Depot?  Electric disability scooters are fitted with baskets for shopping. What are they called?  

    And sometimes non-motorized material handling devices are called trucks, especially in manufacturing and industrial warehousing applications. 

    Is there any logic to the naming?  I’m inclined to think that people randomly attach a name to these kinds of things when they are first devised, and the name follows forever.

  5. RobertB says:

    The heavy wheeled platform like  one to the right  they call  platform truck.

    One thing about cart, it must be light and small enoug to be cart.  The motorized golf cart is pushing the limit.

  6. cjacobs1066 says:

    I’m getting that familiar feeling that there’s no definitive answer because English. There are exceptions to the exceptions.

    I wonder if there’s some form of reverse skeuomorph process is at work where an attempt is made to use familiar labels for new forms?