"She often condescends to drive by in her little phaeton and ponies."
March 23, 2015 12:36 PM   Subscribe

A handy single-page explanation of horse-drawn carriage varieties, with pithy descriptions and occasional photographs of the barouche, the brougham, the cabriolet, the calash, the char-a-banc, the char-de-cote, the curricle, the dog-cart, the gig, the governess cart, the jaunting car, the landau, the Ralli car, the sociable, the sulky, the waggonette, and others.

As a complement, here's a little essay on the unspoken implications of carriage ownership and use in Pride and Prejudice.
It’s telling that when Lady Catherine travels to Longbourn to berate Lizzy for using her arts and allurements, she travels in a chaise with post horses. [...] Since it is accompanied by a liveried servant, presumably the carriage is Lady Catherine’s own property; but the horses at least are post, meaning that they do not belong to Lady Catherine, but were rented and swapped out for fresh horses every twenty miles or so along the way, so that she did not have to wait for her own horses to be baited, or fed and rested. While faster, this way of travel would be more expensive than simply using one’s own horses and resting them as needed. This indicates that Lady Catherine was in a big hurry to get to Longbourn and find out if Elizabeth and Darcy were engaged—big enough to do away with habits of economy.
posted by Iridic (34 comments total) 51 users marked this as a favorite
 
A very useful resource. Excellent.
posted by Segundus at 12:42 PM on March 23, 2015


No pung or cutter. /Rose Wilder Lane and Laura Ingalls Wilder geek
posted by Melismata at 12:42 PM on March 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


A nice page, although the Javascript right-click and text-selection blocker earns the author a slightly warmer spot in Hell than they would have otherwise.

Here is a bookmarklet to re-enable it.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:49 PM on March 23, 2015 [8 favorites]


It's missing the One-hoss shay.
posted by Reverend John at 12:51 PM on March 23, 2015


The high perch phaeton and the Heyer heroine.

thanks for this post
posted by infini at 1:02 PM on March 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


This is neat, thanks!

There's a wealth of contemporary carriage guidebooks out there, for comparison's sake: Early Carriages and Roads (1903), Modern Carriages (1905), on the summary front; The American Carriage Directory (1891), and the American Carriage Directory (1903) -- which "Includ[es] Manufacturers and Dealers in Automobiles," a sign of things to come -- The Ohio Carriage Mfg. Co. Annual Style Book No. 39 (1912), and, well, quite a few more.
posted by cjelli at 1:07 PM on March 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sorry I'm late- my troika was pursued by wolves.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:08 PM on March 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


And last but not least: Brewster & Baldwin's illustrated catalogue of carriages (1869).
posted by cjelli at 1:08 PM on March 23, 2015


Very cool. I first had my curiosity about these things piqued when reading the Holmes stories, and Watson kept talking about getting picked up at various train stations by a "dog cart," which I really hoped wasn't being drawn by a team of Great Pyrenees or something.

Also, should you find yourself in the vicinity of Leesburg Va. some time - and God knows why you should but apparently people do - there's a preserved mansion there called Morven Park which has a number of... eccentricities because of the way in which it was preserved in trust by the last owner. One of the cooler ones is the Winmill Carriage Museum, which is primarily the collection of carriage enthusiast Viola Townsend Winmill, who apparently get into carriages about the time they were finally giving way to cars, and collected all she could get her hands on until she was finally carried to her final repose by her horse-drawn hearse in 1975. It's worth checking out for the chance to study some of them close up. They really are remarkable pieces of design in many cases.
posted by Naberius at 1:10 PM on March 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


This is awesome! My family is going to Lisbon in just over a month and they actually have a coach museum which is high on our list of awesome stuff to do. This will make excellent research, thanks!
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 1:12 PM on March 23, 2015


I've wondered what carriages would look like today if they got the engineering and materials science attention that cars and high speed rail get.
posted by Dip Flash at 1:21 PM on March 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


I imagine that if my troika were to be pursued by wolves, I'd be early.
posted by darksasami at 1:25 PM on March 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


No surrey (with or without a fringe on top).
posted by rocket88 at 1:39 PM on March 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


Oh thank God. Now I can go back and read Age of Innocence and FINALLY know what a street full of broughams looks like. I always just imagined Fanny Ring's carriage from gone with the wind, but somehow knew that wasn't right.
posted by sio42 at 1:41 PM on March 23, 2015


Yesss, I love this kind of information! Bookmarking post-haste.

Like Naberius, I started learning about different carriages because of Sherlock Holmes. The stories first, and then the Granada TV adaptations--especially for things like telling a hansom cab from a brougham.
posted by theatro at 1:42 PM on March 23, 2015


Carriages are the work of The Devil's Horsemen!
posted by Smart Dalek at 1:42 PM on March 23, 2015


Can someone provide a definitive pronounciation of "brougham"? Is it "Broam"?
posted by Jode at 1:54 PM on March 23, 2015


Can someone provide a definitive pronounciation of "brougham"? Is it "Broam"?

The surname of the man it is named after is pronounced "broom". But the OED says that pronunciation of the carriage shifted over the years. In earlier times it was pronounced like the person's name, and in later years like your "broam".
posted by Thing at 2:00 PM on March 23, 2015


In the Sherlock Holmes stories it's always Hansom cabs they use to travel around, and I always wondered what those were. I finally saw a picture of one once, and marvelled at how miserable it must have been to be the driver of a Hansom cab. He's up in the wind and right in the weather. In winter it would be cold, wet, and thoroughly horrible.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 2:13 PM on March 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's maybe a little gimmicky but I enjoyed What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew. It was this exact question about phaetons and carriage types (esp. also the issue of barouches in Persuasion) that led me to that book (which is quite broad).
posted by advil at 2:35 PM on March 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


reading the Holmes stories, and Watson kept talking about getting picked up at various train stations by a "dog cart," which I really hoped wasn't being drawn by a team of Great Pyrenees or something.

I hoped the opposite :(

I mean seriously for decades somewhere at the back of my mind, and despite the total lack of evidence and depiction in period movies, I really hoped that there were all kinds of doggies pulling little carts of Londoners around. I should never have gotten out of bed today.
posted by hap_hazard at 2:48 PM on March 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


I mean seriously for decades somewhere at the back of my mind, and despite the total lack of evidence and depiction in period movies, I really hoped that there were all kinds of doggies pulling little carts of Londoners around.

Well, there was. At least to a degree. Poor people sometimes used dog-drawn carts for light loads or a single person.
posted by Thing at 3:04 PM on March 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Woohoo!
posted by hap_hazard at 3:07 PM on March 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


Break

An open country vehicle with four wheels of varying shapes.
I would think so.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 3:09 PM on March 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Thanks for this, so timely! I'm reading Zola's Rougon-Macquart novels for the first time, and he seems to talk about transportation an awful lot. I look forward to being able to visualize those calashes and whatsits much better now.
posted by hiker U. at 3:12 PM on March 23, 2015


Break (Brake)
An open country vehicle with four wheels of varying shapes.


Really? I should love to see those. Was there a medical theory behind the bouncy-jouncy ride that the passengers experienced?
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:19 PM on March 23, 2015


Loved this as I was only vaguely aware of the distinctions between these various vehicles.
A memory was prompted as well.

When I was a kid, living in a childrens home in Lancashire ( late 40's) we were treated on occasion to day trips to Windermere in the Lake District. Our benefactor Mrs. Boyse lived there.

All very exciting it was, lunch in a restaurant in Grasmere being an important part of it as they had pepper on the tables, an exotic delicacy.

We were picked up in the morning by a hired coach (bus?) which everyone called a charabanc. For us kds simply a sharra..

I moved down south later (1951) but there calling a coach a sharra got you quizzical looks.

Had not thought about this till now.
posted by jan murray at 3:32 PM on March 23, 2015 [11 favorites]


In winter it would be cold, wet, and thoroughly horrible.

Plus, while the cab was Hansom, the pay was not.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:40 PM on March 23, 2015


Some European auto makers still refer to their station wagons as "shooting brakes" -- usually smaller ones that lack separate doors for the rear seats (that is, 3-door wagons) such as the VW Type III Variant (aka Squareback), the lovely and talented Volvo P1800E, or the Aston Martin DB6. I suppose the Chevy Nomad could be called one by this criteria, but it's a bit oversized.

The term seems to be coming back into favor.
 
posted by Herodios at 3:44 PM on March 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


For current driving / cart / horse-drawn vehicle craziness go to a 3-day event competition that's all about the extreme of driving: fancy turn-out events to cross-country (even taking 4-in-hands up stairs.) A starting point is the American Driving Society website.
posted by mightshould at 5:42 PM on March 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


Oh wow, mightshould. Watching that four-in-hand negotiate that obstacle course was the highlight of my night. The amount of precision that the drivers have over their teams is incredible.
posted by sciatrix at 7:39 PM on March 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've driven a single horse with one hand (the other hand holds the?whip/ tickler) and it takes an extremely smart and obedient horse, plus hours developing raport and trust. Such fun, but competitions are too expensive for a backyard horseman. That turnout gear isn't cheap!
posted by mightshould at 3:13 AM on March 24, 2015


Coaching & Anecdotes of the Road also has some great carriage stories.
posted by winna at 7:20 PM on March 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


(Unfortunately, we seem to have done a number on the site's bandwidth. The Internet Archive retains a cache of the carriage glossary here.)
posted by Iridic at 10:58 AM on March 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


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