Definitions

carriage

carriage

[kar-ij; for 9 also kar-ee-ij]
carriage, wheeled vehicle, in modern usage restricted to passenger vehicles that are drawn or pushed, especially by animals. Carriages date from the Bronze Age; early forms included the two-wheeled cart and four-wheeled wagon for transporting goods. An early passenger carriage was the chariot, but Roman road-building activity encouraged the development of other forms. The coach, a closed four-wheeled carriage with two inside seats and an elevated outside seat for the driver, is believed to have been developed in Hungary and to have spread among the royalty and nobility of Europe in the 16th cent. The hackney coach, which was any carriage for hire, was introduced in London c.1605. During the 17th cent. coaches became lighter and less ornate and in England the public stagecoach became common. In the 18th cent., as roads improved, carriage-building became a major industry. The hansom cab, patented by J. A. Hansom in 1834, was a closed carriage with an elevated driver's seat in back. Lord Brougham based the carriage known by his name on the hansom. In the United States the most distinctive type of carriage was a light four-wheeled buggy with open sides and a folding top. The term carriage was also used to refer to railroad passenger cars, which in England began as strings of separate compartments. With the introduction of the automobile, the carriage trade collapsed, except where carriage builders such as the Fisher Company adapted to auto body building.

Four-wheeled, horse-drawn vehicle, mainly for private passenger use. It was the final refinement of the horse-drawn passenger conveyance, having developed from the wagon, chariot, and coach. Light carriages with enhanced suspension for added comfort had been developed by the 17th century. A variety of carriages were common in the 19th century, including the brougham and the buggy. Carriage manufacturers provided the very similar early designs for automobile bodies.

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A carriage is a wheeled vehicle for people, usually horse-drawn. It is especially designed for private passenger use and for comfort or elegance, though some are also used to transport goods. It may be light, smart and fast or heavy, large and comfortable. Carriages normally have suspension using leaf springs, elliptical springs (in the 19th century) or leather strapping. A public passenger vehicle would not usually be called a carriage – terms for these include stagecoach, charabanc and omnibus. The Pallenquin is a horseless carriage.

The word carriage (abbreviated carr or cge) is from Old Northern French cariage, to carry in a vehicle. The word car, then meaning a kind of two-wheeled cart for goods, also came from Old Northern French about the beginning of the 14th century; it was also used for railway carriages, and was extended to cover automobile around the end of the nineteenth century, when early models were called horseless carriages.

A carriage is sometimes called a team, as in "horse and team". A carriage with its horse is a rig. An elegant horse-drawn carriage with its retinue of servants is an equipage. A carriage together with the horses, harness and attendants is a turnout or setout. A procession of carriages is a cavalcade.

History of carriages

Some horsecarts found in Celtic graves show hints that their platform was suspended in a frame, elastically. First century BCE Romans used sprung wagons for overland journeys. With the decline of the these civilizations these techniques almost disappeared.

In the Middle Ages all travellers who were not walking rode, save the elderly and the infirm. A trip in an unsprung cart over unpaved roads was not lightly undertaken. Closed carriages began to be more widely used by the upper classes in the 16th century. In 1601 a short-lived law was passed in England banning the use of carriages by men, it being considered effeminate. Better sprung vehicles were developed in the 17th century. New lighter and more fashionably varied conveyances, with fanciful new names, began to compete with one another from the mid-18th century. Coachbuilders cooperated with carvers, gilders, painters, lacquerworkers, glazers and upholsterers to produce not just the family's state coach for weddings and funerals but light, smart fast comfortable vehicles for pleasure riding and display.

In British and French coaches, the coachman drove from a raised coachbox at the front. In Spain the driver continued to ride one of the horses, as also in the 1939 state visit procession in Canada.

From the 1860s, few rich Europeans continued to use their posting coaches for long-distance travel: a first-class railway carriage was the faster modern alternative. Then, in the 1890s, just as automobiles came into use, "coaching" became an upper-class sport in Britain and America, where gentlemen would take the reins of the kinds of large vehicles of types generally driven by a professional coachman.

Carriage construction

Body

Carriages may be enclosed or open, depending on the type. The top cover for the body of a carriage, called the head or hood, is often flexible and designed to be folded back when desired. Such a folding top is called a bellows top or calash. A hoopstick forms a light framing member for this kind of hood. The top, roof or second-story compartment of a closed carriage, especially a diligence, was called an imperial. A closed carriage may have side windows called quarter lights (British) as well as windows in the doors. On the forepart of an open carriage, a screen of wood or leather called a dashboard intercepts water, mud or snow thrown up by the heels of the horses. The dashboard or carriage top sometimes has a projecting sidepiece called a wing (British). A foot iron or footplate may serve as a carriage step.

A carriage driver sits on a box or perch, usually elevated and small. When at the front it is known as a dickey box, a term also used for a seat at the back for servants. A footman might use a small platform at the rear called a footboard or a seat called a rumble behind the body. Some carriages have a moveable seat called a jump seat. Some seats had an attached backrest called a lazyback.

The shafts of a carriage were called limbers in English dialect. Lancewood, a tough elastic wood of various trees, was often used especially for carriage shafts. A holdback, consisting of an iron catch on the shaft with a looped strap, enables a horse to back or hold back the vehicle. The end of the tongue of a carriage is suspended from the collars of the harness by a bar called the yoke. At the end of a trace, a loop called a cockeye attaches to the carriage.

In some carriage types the body is suspended from several leather straps called braces or thoroughbraces, attached to or serving as springs.

Undergear

Beneath the carriage body is the undergear or undercarriage (or simply carriage), consisting of the running gear and chassis. The wheels and axles, in distinction from the body, are the running gear. Most carriages have either one or two pairs of wheels. On a four-wheeled vehicle, the forward part of the running gear, or forecarriage, may be arranged so as to permit the two front wheels to turn independently of the rear wheels. The wheels revolve upon bearings or a spindle at the ends of a fixed bar or beam called an axle or axletree. In some carriages a crank axle, bent twice at a right angle near the ends, allows a low body with large wheels. A guard called a dirtboard keeps dirt from the axle arm.

Several structural members form parts of the chassis supporting the carriage body. The fore axletree and the splinter bar above it (supporting the springs) are united by a piece of wood or metal called a futchel, which forms a socket for the pole that extends from the front axle. For strength and support, a rod called the backstay may extend from either end of the rear axle to the reach, the pole or rod joining the hind axle to the forward bolster above the front axle.

A skid called a drag, dragshoe, shoe or skidpan retards the motion of the wheels. A catch or block called a trigger may be used to hold a wheel on a declivity.

A horizontal wheel or segment of a wheel called a fifth wheel sometimes forms an extended support to prevent the carriage from tipping; it consists of two parts rotating on each other about the kingbolt above the fore axle and beneath the body. A block of wood called a headblock might be placed between the fifth wheel and the forward spring.

Types of horse-drawn carriages

An almost bewildering variety of horse-drawn carriages existed. Arthur Ingram's Horse Drawn Vehicles since 1760 in Colour lists 325 types with a short description of each. By the early 19th century one's choice of carriage was only in part based on practicality and performance; it was also a status statement and subject to changing fashions. The types of carriage included the following:

The names of many of these have now been relegated to obscurity but some have been adopted to describe automotive car body styles: coupé, victoria, Brougham, landau and landaulet, cabriolet, (giving us our cab), phaeton, and limousine – all these once denoted particular types of carriages.

Carriage miscellany

A man whose business was to drive a carriage was a coachman. A servant in livery called a footman or piquer formerly served in attendance upon a rider or was required to run before his master's carriage to clear the way. An attendant on horseback called an outrider often rode ahead of or next to a carriage. A carriage starter directed the flow of vehicles taking on passengers at the curbside. A hackneyman hired out horses and carriages. When hawking wares, a hawker was often assisted by a carriage.

Upper-class people of wealth and social position, those wealthy enough to keep carriages, were referred to as carriage folk or carriage trade.

Carriage passengers often used a lap robe as a blanket or similar covering for their legs, lap and feet. A buffalo robe, made from the hide of an American bison dressed with the hair on, was sometimes used as a carriage robe; it was commonly trimmed to rectangular shape and lined on the skin side with fabric. A carriage boot, fur-trimmed for winter wear, was made usually of fabric with a fur or felt lining. A knee boot protected the knees from rain or splatter.

A horse especially bred for carriage use by appearance and stylish action is called a carriage horse; one for use on a road is a road horse. One such breed is the Cleveland Bay, uniformly bay in color with black points and legs, of good conformation and strong constitution. Horses were broken in using a bodiless carriage frame called a break or brake.

A carriage dog or coach dog is bred for running beside a carriage.

A roofed structure that extends from the entrance of a building over an adjacent driveway and that shelters callers as they get in or out of their vehicles is known as a carriage porch or porte cochere. An outbuilding for a carriage is a coach house.

A livery stable kept horses and usually carriages for hire. A range of stables, usually with carriage houses (remises) and living quarters built around a yard, court or street, is called a mews.

A kind of dynamometer called a peirameter indicates the power necessary to haul a carriage over a road or track.

Competitive driving

In most European and English-speaking countries, driving is a competitive equestrian sport. Many horse shows host driving competitions for a particular style of driving, breed of horse, or type of vehicle. Show vehicles are usually carriages, carts, or buggies, and occasionally sulkies or wagons. Terminology varies; the simple, lightweight two- or four-wheeled show vehicle common in many nations is called a "cart" in the USA, but a "carriage" in Australia.

Internationally, there is intense competition in the all-around test of driving: Combined driving, also known as Horse Driving Trials is an equestrian discipline regulated by the FEI (Federation Equestre Internationale, International Equestrian Federation) with national organizations representing each member country. World Championships take place on alternate years, including Single Horse Championships, Horse Pairs Championships and Four-in-Hand Championships as well as the Four-in-Hand competition at the World Equestrian Games, held every four years.

For pony drivers, the World Combined Pony Championships are held every two years and include singles, pairs and four-in-hand.

Carriage collections

Australia

Austria

Belgium

England

France

Germany

Portugal

United States

See also

Bibliography

  • Bean, Heike, & Sarah Blanchard (authors), Joan Muller (illustrator), Carriage Driving: A Logical Approach Through Dressage Training, Howell Books, 1992. ISBN 978-0764572999
  • Berkebile, Don H., American Carriages, Sleighs, Sulkies, and Carts: 168 Illustrations from Victorian Sources, Dover Publications, 1977. ISBN 978-0486233284
  • Bristol Wagon Works Co., Bristol Wagon & Carriage Illustrated Catalog, 1900, Dover Publications, 1994. ISBN 978-0486281230
  • Elkhart Manufacturing Co., Horse-Drawn Carriage Catalog, 1909 (Dover Pictorial Archives), Dover Publications, 2001. ISBN 978-0486415314
  • Hutchins, Daniel D., Wheels Across America: Carriage Art & Craftsmanship, Tempo International Publishing Company, 1st edition, 2004. ISBN 978-0974510606
  • Ingram, Arthur, Horse Drawn Vehicles since 1760 in Colour, Blandford Press, 1977. ISBN 978-0713708202
  • Kinney, Thomas A., The Carriage Trade: Making Horse-Drawn Vehicles in America (Studies in Industry and Society), The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004. ISBN 978-0801879463
  • Lawrence, Bradley & Pardee, Carriages and Sleighs: 228 Illustrations from the 1862 Lawrence, Bradley & Pardee Catalog, Dover Publications, 1998. ISBN 978-0486402192
  • Museums at Stony Brook, The Carriage Collection, Museums, 2000. ISBN 978-0943924090
  • Richardson, M.T., Practical Carriage Building, Astragal Press, 1994. ISBN 978-1879335509
  • Ryder, Thomas (author), Rodger Morrow (editor), The Coson Carriage Collection at Beechdale, The Carriage Association of America, 1989. ASIN B0017RSRJ6
  • Wackernagel, Rudolf H., Wittelsbach State and Ceremonial Carriages: Coaches, Sledges and Sedan Chairs in the Marstallmuseum Schloss Nymphenburg, Arnoldsche Verlagsanstalt GmbH, 2002. ISBN 978-3925369865
  • Walrond, Sallie, Looking at Carriages, J A Allen & Co Ltd, 1999. ISBN 978-0851315522
  • Ware, I. D., Coach-Makers' Illustrated Hand-Book, 1875: Containing Complete Instructions in All the Different Braches of Carriage Building, Astragal Press, 2nd edition, 1995. ISBN 978-1879335615

References

External links

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