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[hand-kahr] /ˈhændˌkɑr/
a small railroad car or platform on four wheels propelled by a mechanism worked by hand, used on some railroads for inspecting tracks and transporting workers.
Origin of handcar
1840-50, Americanism; hand + car1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for hand-car
Historical Examples
  • This was like putting two locomotives ahead of each other to draw a hand-car.

  • They knew that it would be impossible to make the necessary speed with a hand-car.

    Chasing an Iron Horse Edward Robins
  • The hand-car was lifted to the track, beyond the telegraph pole, and the journey was resumed.

    Chasing an Iron Horse Edward Robins
  • In a moment the hand-car was off, the men pumping for dear life.

    The Mystic Mid-Region Arthur J. Burdick
  • Lighting his pipe, he took his seat on the hand-car and knitted his brows as two colored laborers drove him down the hill.

    Brandon of the Engineers Harold Bindloss
  • Before they had gone a half mile they found a hand-car on a siding.

  • He pointed to some workmen who had a hand-car near the track, not far above him.

    Chasing an Iron Horse Edward Robins
  • Their hand-car, which was also uninjured, was lifted on the track and driven on again.

    Capturing a Locomotive William Pittenger
  • Wilson and Wood were put on a hand-car and run back to Bridgeport.

    Capturing a Locomotive William Pittenger
  • They were brought on a hand-car, and I noticed, when I started away, that the car was left there on the track.

Word Origin and History for hand-car

1846 in railroading sense, from hand (n.) + car.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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