A strange word for a strange railroad car that somehow survived for more than a hundred years, from the days of oil burning lamps into the computer age. The origins of both the car and the word are surrounded as much by legend as by fact. One popular version dates the word back to a derivation of the Dutch word "kombuis," which referred to a ship's galley. Use of cabooses began in the 1830s, when railroads housed trainmen in shanties built onto boxcars or flatcars.
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