wooden barrels

What is the origin of the image of a poor person wearing a wooden barrel?

<blink>WAG Alert! WAG Alert!</blink>

Wooden barrels were common place in the 1800’s. In old B&W films, you see water barrels on every street corner, especially in the west.

Much like a homeless or otherwise poor person today would use what was around him and make due, it seems the easiest thing for someone lacking to grab a barrel.

Yer pal,

Whats a “WAG” anyhow?

WAG = Wild Ass Guess

as opposed to

SWAG = Silly/Stupid Wild Ass Guess

I’ve heard that conjecture before and it makes sense up to a point. But did people ever actually WEAR them? I mean, yeah, people sometimes sleep in cardboard boxes today, but they don’t commonly wear them. Could it just be a theatrical device, like a vaudeville sight gag?