Horse and buggy

Horse and buggy


A horse and buggy (in American English) or horse and carriage (in British English) refers to a light, simple, two-person carriage of the 19th and early 20th centuries, drawn usually by one or sometimes by two horses. Also called a roadster, it was made with two wheels in England and the United States, and with four wheels in the United States as well. It had a folding or falling top.


A Concord buggy, first made in Concord, New Hampshire, had a body with low sides and side-spring suspension. A buggy having two seats was a double buggy. A buggy called a stanhope typically had a high seat and closed back.

The bodies of buggies were sometimes suspended on a pair of longitudinal elastic wooden bars called sidebars. A buggy whip had a small, usually tasseled tip called a snapper.

In countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada, it was the primary mode of short-distance personal transportation, especially between 1865 and 1915. At that time, horseback riding was less common and required more specific skills than driving a buggy.

Therefore, until mass production of the automobile brought its price within the reach of the working class, horses and horse-drawn conveyances such as the buggy were the most common means of transport in towns and the surrounding countryside. Buggies cost as little as $25 to $50, and could easily be hitched and driven by untrained women or children. In the United States, hundreds of small companies produced buggies, and their wide use helped to encouraged the grading and paving of main roads in order to provide all-weather passage between towns. By the early 1910s, however, the number of automobiles had passed the number of buggies. However, the buggy is still used by the Amish and other groups within various Anabaptist faith traditions as a religiously compliant, non-motorized form of basic transportation.

Today, the term "horse and buggy" is often used in reference to the era before the advent of the automobile and other socially revolutionizing major inventions. By extension, it has come to mean clinging to outworn attitudes or ideas, and hopelessly outmoded, old-fashioned, non-modern, or obsolete.


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