Tea Wagon - Hospitality On Wheels - 1917

Tea Wagon - Hospitality On Wheels

Every woman who entertains, no matter how infrequently, wants one of those attractive tea wagons that are becoming increasingly popular in well-furnished homes, serving often as informal luncheon tables. Not only are they ornamental, but they also save steps in carrying food from kitchen to dining room and in clearing the table after meals.

A tea-wagon is a convenient addition to household equipment. Its general utility may be appreciated when it is used to convey the dishes to and from the table for breakfast, luncheon, and dinner; to stand beside the hostess when an added course of salad or dessert is to be served ; later to transport soiled plates to the pantry sink for cleansing and, in turn, to re-convey them to their permanent place in the closet.

The use of the wagon need not be limited to the service of tea! All sorts of goodies may be transported upon the glass-covered tray, — chocolate or after dinner coffee or, indeed, a whole supper for an evening card party.
The wagon, here illustrated, awaits this equipment.

The large platter on the lower shelf is for chicken salad and the tall chocolate pot of dainty white china, with its accompanying cups and saucers, is for serving this satisfying beverage on a cold evening.

Note that the table has a drawer for the convenient storage of napkins, bonbon boxes etc, a useful feature not always provided, yet well worth the slight extra cost of purchase.

Why Not Consider Making This On-Dollar Tea Wagon?

Usefull Tea Wagon 1916

Wheel out the useful tea wagon when you serve tea on the porch or lawn these summer days. Note the convenient sliding middle shelf.


Do You know that one of the most useful articles of furniture in the modern home is a tea wagon? Especially to the housekeeper who does her own work this little wagon is invaluable, as much more may be carried on these trays on wheels than could be easily carried on a tray in the hands.

The tea wagon may also be used as a side table during the meal, to hold the different courses to be served, and afterward to convey all the dishes to the kitchen with a few steps.

Above all, to the summer hostess who chances to be her own housekeeper, the tea wagon is of the greatest possible service; almost like a maid, in fact, when she wishes to have tea on the porch or lawn. It can be arranged complete in the kitchen, wheeled forth at the right moment, and everything can be served directly from it.

At Sunday night suppers out of doors it is a great convenience, and many a housekeeper likes to have a tea wagon by her side when she gives an informal luncheon.

Of course that's true, you say, but tea wagons cost so much. The prices asked in the shops for mahogany or wicker ones are discouragingly high.

The answer to that is—make your own tea wagon. It will cost you about one dollar if you can handle simple tools such as a small saw and a hammer. The wagon pictured shows how your one-dollar wagon will look.

In the first place, the wheels belonged to a discarded baby cab and were bought from the owner for twenty-five cents. They are rubber-tired and are fourteen inches in diameter. Similar wheels may be purchased for a moderate sum at any factory where go-carts and tea wagons are made.

The larger the wheels used, the more easily will the tea wagon pass over the edges of thick rugs and door sills.

The axle is held securely in place by two strips of wood running parallel with it, and screwed to the lower shelf.

The small casters on the legs cost ten cents. A great many of the tea wagons in the shops do not have such casters, but casters are an advantage, as with them it is not necessary to raise the rear end of the wagon off the floor, except in pushing it over some obstruction such as an outside door sill.

For the framework of the wagon a few strips of white pine, of stock sizes, were used—one by one and one- half inches for the legs, braces and handle, one-half-inch boards for the shelves, and one-half-inch strips for the edge around the shelves—at a total cost of fifty-five cents.

White pine is easy to work up, and the finished article has the advantage of being light in weight and consequently easy to handle.

The material can all be purchased planed on all sides, and after the strips are nailed together and the nail holes puttied up, nothing remains to be done but to stain the wood the color desired and finish with a couple of coats of wax or varnish.

The wagon illustrated was stained with a brown oak stain, given two coats of prepared wax and rubbed to a soft glow with a rough cloth.

Handsome tray cloths for the tea wagon may be made of heavy linen with corners and borders of tatting. There are three sizes, each one made to fit a shelf.


Excerpt from "How to Make a Tea Wagon at Half Store Prices," in Popular Science Monthly, Vol, 101, No. 5, November 1922, p. 77.

“Hospitality On Wheels,” in American Cookery, Vol. XXI, No. 9, April 1917, pp. 668-669

"Instead of a Maid: Why Don't You Have This One-Dollar Tea Wagon?," in Woman's Home Companion, Vol. XLIII, No. 5, June 1916, p. 32.

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