By the 1870s, circuses had adapted to travel by railroad.  W.C. Coup devised a system of loading circus wagons onto specially made railroad flatcars, which revolutionized the industry.  This method of conveying the circus by train went virtually unchanged for nearly 80 years.  Those circuses bold enough to make the jump from roads to rails extolled its benefits:  "No more tired horses, sleepy people, dirty costumes."  Circus owner W.W. Cole advertised:  "Remember this is no worn-out wagon show with worn-out horses dragging it over the road." 

Another benefit of the railroad circus was that the design of its wagons was no longer restricted by weight.  Neither was it necessary for each wagon to have a practical purpose.  Showmen seized the opportunity to develop bigger and longer parades.  The diversity and inventiveness of circus wagons exploded at the turn of the century.  Circus owners spent as much as they dared on their parades, and were perpetually in contest with one another for the most extravagant and flamboyant wagons.