The Origin of the Caboose

The origins of both the car and the word are unknown. One popular theory dates the word back to a derivation of the Dutch wood “kabuis,” which referred to a shop’s galley. Use of cabooses began in the 1830’s, when railroads housed trainmen in shanties built in boxcars or on flatcars.

The Cupola  The addition of the cupola — the lookout post atop the car — is attributed to a conductor who discovered in 1863 that he could see his train much better if he sat atop boxes and peered through a hold in the roof of his boxcar.