A carriage is a private four-wheeled vehicle for people and is most commonly
horse-drawn A horse-drawn vehicle is a mechanized piece of equipment pulled by one horse or by a team of horses. These vehicles typically had two or four wheels and were used to carry passengers and/or a load. They were once common worldwide, but they have mos ...
. Second-hand private carriages were common public transport, the equivalent of modern cars used as taxis. Carriage
suspension Suspension or suspended may refer to: Science and engineering * Suspension (topology), in mathematics * Suspension (dynamical systems), in mathematics * Suspension of a ring, in mathematics * Suspension (chemistry), small solid particles suspended ...
s are by leather strapping and, on those made in recent centuries, steel springs. Two-wheeled carriages are informal and usually owner-driven. Coaches are a special category within carriages. They are carriages with four corner posts and a fixed roof. Two-wheeled war chariots and transport vehicles such as four-wheeled
wagon A wagon or waggon is a heavy four-wheeled vehicle pulled by draught animals or on occasion by humans, used for transporting Good (economics), goods, commodities, agricultural materials, supplies and sometimes people. Wagons are immediately dis ...

s and two-wheeled
cart A cart or dray (Aus. & NZ) is a vehicle designed for transport Transport (commonly used in the U.K.), or transportation (used in the U.S.), is the Motion, movement of humans, animals and cargo, goods from one location to another. In other ...

s were forerunners of carriages. In the twenty-first century, horse-drawn carriages are occasionally used for public parades by royalty and for traditional formal ceremonies. Simplified modern versions are made for tourist transport in warm countries and for those cities where tourists expect open horse-drawn carriages to be provided. Simple metal sporting versions are still made for the sport known as competitive driving.


The word ''carriage'' (abbreviated ''carr'' or ''cge'') is from
Old Northern FrenchOld Norman, also called Old Northern French or Old Norman French ( fro, Ancien Normant, nrf, Ancien Normaund), was one of many ''langues d'oïl The ''langues d'oïl'' (; ) are a dialect continuum A dialect continuum or dialect chain is a spr ...
, to carry in a vehicle.''Oxford English Dictionary'' 1933: Car, Carriage 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 (probably derived from the
Late Latin Late Latin ( la, Latinitas serior) is the scholarly name for the written Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area ar ...
, a car); it is also used for
railway carriage A railroad car, railcar (American English, American and Canadian English), railway wagon, railway carriage, railway truck, railwagon, railcarriage or railtruck (British English and International Union of Railways, UIC), also called a train car, ...
s and in the US around the end of the nineteenth century early cars were briefly called ''
horseless carriage Image:Autobus amedee-bollee.jpg, 240px, ''L'Obéissante'' Horseless carriage is an early name for the car, motor car or automobile. Prior to the invention of the motor car, carriages were usually pulled by animals, typically horses. The term can be ...

horseless carriage



Some horsecarts found in
Celtic The words Celt and Celtic (also Keltic) may refer to: Ethno-linguistics *Celts The Celts (, see pronunciation of ''Celt'' for different usages) are. "CELTS location: Greater Europe time period: Second millennium B.C.E. to present ancestry: ...

graves show hints that their platforms were suspended elastically. Four-wheeled wagons were used in Bronze Age Europe, and their form known from excavations suggests that the basic construction techniques of wheel and undercarriage (that survived until the age of the motor car) were established then.


Two-wheeled carriage models have been discovered from the
Indus valley civilization , c. 2500 BCE. Terracotta figurines indicate the yoking of zebu oxen for pulling a cart and the presence of the chicken, a domesticated jungle fowl. The Indus Valley Civilisation (IVC), also known as the Indus Civilisation, was a Bronze ...
including twin horse drawn covered carriages resembling
ekka The Ekka is the annual agricultural show An agricultural show is a public event exhibiting the equipment, animals, sports and recreation associated with agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and l ...
from various sites such as
Harappa Harappa (; Urdu Urdu (; ur, , ALA-LC: ) is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in South Asia South Asia is the southern region of Asia, which is defined in both geography, geographical and culture, ethno-cultural terms. The regi ...

Mohenjo Daro Mohenjo-daro (; sd, موئن جو دڙو'', ''meaning 'Mound of the Dead Men';
and Chanhu Daro. The earliest recorded sort of carriage was the
chariot A chariot is a type of carriage driven by a charioteer, usually using horses to provide rapid motive power. The oldest known chariots have been found in burials of the Sintashta culture in modern-day Russia, dated to c. 2000 BC. The critica ...

, reaching Mesopotamia as early as 1900 BC. Used typically for warfare by Egyptians, the Near Easterners and Europeans, it was essentially a two-wheeled light basin carrying one or two passengers, drawn by one to two horses. The chariot was revolutionary and effective because it delivered fresh warriors to crucial areas of battle with swiftness.

Roman carriage

First century BC
Romans Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, ...
used sprung wagons for overland journeys. It is likely that Roman carriages employed some form of suspension on chains or leather straps, as indicated by carriage parts found in excavations. In 2021 archaeologists discovered the remains of a ceremonial four wheel carriage, a pilentum, near the ancient Roman city of
Pompeii Pompeii (, ) was an ancient city located in what is now the ''comune The (; plural: ) is a local administrative division of Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is ...

. It is thought the pilentum may have been used in ceremonies such as weddings. The find has been described as being, "in an excellent state of preservation".

Ancient Chinese carriage

During the Zhou dynasty of China, the
Warring States The Warring States period () was an era in characterized by warfare, as well as bureaucratic and military reforms and consolidation. It followed the and concluded with the that saw the annexation of all other contender states, which ultimate ...
were also known to have used carriages as transportation. With the decline of these city-states and kingdoms, these techniques almost disappeared.

Medieval carriage

The medieval carriage was typically a four-wheeled wagon type, with a rounded top ("tilt") similar in appearance to the
Conestoga Wagon The Conestoga wagon is a specific design of heavy covered wagon that was used extensively during the late eighteenth century, and the nineteenth century, in the eastern United States and Canada. It was large enough to transport loads up to 6 short ...
familiar from the United States. Sharing the traditional form of wheels and undercarriage known since the Bronze Age, it very likely also employed the pivoting fore-axle in continuity from the ancient world. Suspension (on chains) is recorded in visual images and written accounts from the 14th century ("chars branlant" or rocking carriages), and was in widespread use by the 15th century. Carriages were largely used by royalty, aristocrats (and especially by women), and could be elaborately decorated and gilded. These carriages were on four wheels often and were pulled by two to four horses depending on how they were decorated (elaborate decoration with gold lining made the carriage heavier). Wood and iron were the primary requirements needed to build a carriage and carriages that were used by non-royalty were covered by plain leather. Another form of carriage was the
pageant wagonA pageant wagon is a movable stage or wagon used to accommodate the mystery and miracle play cycles of the 10th through the 16th century. These religious plays were developed from biblical texts; at the height of their popularity, they were allow ...
of the 14th century. Historians debate the structure and size of pageant wagons; however, they are generally miniature house-like structures that rest on four to six wheels depending on the size of the wagon. The pageant wagon is significant because up until the 14th century most carriages were on two or three wheels; the chariot, rocking carriage, and baby carriage are two examples of carriages which pre-date the pageant wagon. Historians also debate whether or not pageant wagons were built with pivotal axle systems, which allowed the wheels to turn. Whether it was a four- or six-wheel pageant wagon, most historians maintain that pivotal axle systems were implemented on pageant wagons because many roads were often winding with some sharp turns. Six wheel pageant wagons also represent another innovation in carriages; they were one of the first carriages to use multiple pivotal axles. Pivotal axles were used on the front set of wheels and the middle set of wheels. This allowed the horse to move freely and steer the carriage in accordance with the road or path.


One of the great innovations of the carriage was the invention of the suspended carriage or the ''chariot branlant'' (though whether this was a Roman or medieval innovation remains uncertain). The "chariot branlant" of medieval illustrations was suspended by chains rather than leather straps as had been believed. Chains provided a smoother ride in the chariot branlant because the compartment no longer rested on the turning axles. In the 15th century, carriages were made lighter and needed only one horse to haul the carriage. This carriage was designed and innovated in
Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individual's birth, residence ...

. Both innovations appeared around the same time and historians believe that people began comparing the chariot branlant and the Hungarian light coach. However, the earliest illustrations of the Hungarian "Kochi-wagon" do not indicate any suspension, and often the use of three horses in harness. Under King
Mathias Corvinus Matthias Corvinus, also called Matthias I ( hu, Hunyadi Mátyás, ro, Matei Corvin, sh, Matija Korvin, sk, Matej Korvín, cz, Matyáš Korvín; ), was King of Hungary The King of Hungary ( hu, magyar király) was the Monarchy, ruling hea ...
(1458–90), who enjoyed fast travel, the Hungarians developed fast road transport, and the town of
Kocs Kocs () is a village in Komárom-Esztergom county, Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a country in Central Europe. It borders Slovakia to the north, Ukraine to the northeast, Romania to the east and southeast, Serbia to the south, Cro ...
Budapest Budapest (, ) is the capital and the of , and the in the by population within city limits. The city has an estimated population of 1,752,286 over a land area of about . Budapest is both a and , and forms the centre of the , which has an ar ...

Vienna Vienna ( ; german: Wien ; bar, Wean, label= ) is the , largest city, and one of of . Vienna is Austria's , with about 2 million inhabitants (2.6 million within the , nearly one third of the country's population), and its , , and centre. It ...

became an important post-town, and gave its name to the new vehicle type. The Hungarian
coach Coach may refer to: Guidance/instruction * Coach (sport), a director of athletes' training and activities ** Coach (basketball) * Coaching, the practice of guiding an individual through a process ** Acting coach, a teacher who trains performers T ...
was highly praised because it was capable of holding eight men, used light wheels, and could be towed by only one horse (it may have been suspended by leather straps, but this is a topic of debate).Baofu, Peter. ''The Future of Post-Human Transportation''. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012, p. 264. Ultimately it was the Hungarian coach that generated a greater buzz of conversation than the chariot branlant of France because it was a much smoother ride. Henceforth, the Hungarian coach spread across Europe rather quickly, in part due to Ippolito d'Este of Ferrara (1479–1529), nephew of Mathias' queen Beatrix of Aragon, who as a very junior Archbishopric of
Esztergom Esztergom ( , german: Gran, sk, Ostrihom, known by alternative names) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Soc ...

developed a liking of Hungarian riding and took his carriage and driver back to Italy. Around 1550 the "coach" made its appearance throughout the major cities of Europe, and the new word entered the vocabulary of all their languages. However, the new "coach" seems to have been a concept (fast road travel for men) as much as any particular type of vehicle, and there is no obvious change that accompanied the innovation. As it moved throughout Europe in the late 16th century, the coach's body structure was ultimately changed, from a round-top to the "four-poster" carriages that became standard by c.1600.

Later development of the coach

The coach had doors in the side, with an iron step protected by leather that became the "boot" in which servants might ride. The driver sat on a seat at the front, and the most important occupant sat in the back facing forwards. The earliest coaches can be seen at Veste Coburg, Lisbon, and the Moscow Kremlin, and they become a commonplace in European art. It was not until the 17th century that further innovations with steel springs and glazing took place, and only in the 18th century, with better road surfaces, was there a major innovation with the introduction of the steel C-spring. It was not until the 18th century that steering systems were truly improved.
Erasmus Darwin Erasmus Robert Darwin (12 December 173118 April 1802) was an English physician. One of the key thinkers of the Midlands Enlightenment, he was also a natural philosophy, natural philosopher, physiology, physiologist, Society for Effecting the A ...
was a young English doctor who was driving a carriage about 10,000 miles a year to visit patients all over England. Darwin found two essential problems or shortcomings of the commonly used light carriage or Hungarian carriage. First, the front wheels were turned by a pivoting front axle, which had been used for years, but these wheels were often quite small and hence the rider, carriage and horse felt the brunt of every bump on the road. Secondly, he recognized the danger of overturning. A pivoting front axle changes a carriage's base from a rectangle to a triangle because the wheel on the inside of the turn is able to turn more sharply than the outside front wheel. Darwin proposed to fix these insufficiencies by proposing a principle in which the two front wheels turn about a centre that lies on the extended line of the back axle. This idea was later patented as Ackermann steering. Darwin argued that carriages would then be easier to pull and less likely to overturn. Carriage use in North America came with the establishment of European settlers. Early colonial horse tracks quickly grew into roads especially as the colonists extended their territories southwest. Colonists began using carts as these roads and trading increased between the north and south. Eventually, carriages or coaches were sought to transport goods as well as people. As in Europe, chariots, coaches and/or carriages were a mark of status. The tobacco planters of the South were some of the first Americans to use the carriage as a form of human transportation. As the tobacco farming industry grew in the southern colonies so did the frequency of carriages, coaches and wagons. Upon the turn of the 18th century, wheeled vehicle use in the colonies was at an all-time high. Carriages, coaches and wagons were being taxed based on the number of wheels they had. These taxes were implemented in the South primarily as the South had superior numbers of horses and wheeled vehicles when compared to the North. Europe, however, still used carriage transportation far more often and on a much larger scale than anywhere else in the world. Carriages and coaches began to disappear as use of steam propulsion began to generate more and more interest and research. Steam power quickly won the battle against animal power as is evident by a newspaper article written in England in 1895 entitled "Horseflesh vs. Steam". The article highlights the death of the carriage as the main means of transportation. Nowadays, carriages are still used for day-to-day transport in the United States by some minority groups such as the
Amish The Amish (; pdc, Amisch; german: Amische) are a group of traditionalist Christian church fellowships with and origins. They are closely related to churches. The Amish are known for , , , and slowness to adopt many , with a view to not i ...

. They are also still used in tourism as vehicles for
sightseeing at the archaeological site of Chichén Itza. in Vienna. Tourism is travel for pleasure or business; also the theory and practice of touring (disambiguation), touring, the business of attracting, accommodating, and entertaining tourists, and th ...

in cities such as
Bruges Bruges ( , nl, Brugge ; ; german: Brügge ) is the capital and largest city of the province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administ ...

, Vienna,
New Orleans New Orleans (,New Orleans
, and
Little Rock, Arkansas (The Little Rock, The "Little Rock") , government_type = council-manager government, Council-manager , leader_title = List of mayors of Little Rock, Arkansas, Mayor , leader_name = Frank ...

Little Rock, Arkansas
. The most complete working collection of carriages can be seen at the
Royal Mews The Royal Mews is a mews, or collection of equestrian stables, of the British Royal Family The British royal family comprises Queen Elizabeth II and her close relations. There is no strict legal or formal definition of who is or is not a ...
in London where a large selection of vehicles is in regular use. These are supported by a staff of liveried coachmen, footmen and
postillion A postilion or postillion is a person who guides a horse-drawn coach or post chaise A post-chaise is a fast carriage for traveling post built in the 18th and early 19th centuries. It usually had a closed body on four wheels, sat two to four pe ...
s. The horses earn their keep by supporting the work of the Royal Household, particularly during ceremonial events. Horses pulling a large carriage known as a "covered brake" collect the Yeoman of the Guard in their distinctive red uniforms from St James's Palace for Investitures at Buckingham Palace; High Commissioners or Ambassadors are driven to their audiences with the Queen in landaus; visiting heads of state are transported to and from official arrival ceremonies and members of the Royal Family are driven in Royal Mews coaches during Trooping the Colour, the Order of the Garter service at Windsor Castle and carriage processions at the beginning of each day of Royal Ascot.



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 barouche is a large, open, four-wheeled carriage A carriage is a private four-wheeled vehicle for people and is most commonly Horse-drawn vehicle, horse-drawn. Second-hand private carriages were common public transport, the equivalent of ...
''. 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, hence a "glass coach". On the forepart of an open carriage, a screen of wood or leather called a ''
dashboard A dashboard (also called dash, instrument panel (IP), or fascia) is a control panel (engineering), control panel set within the central console Image:Center autmobile console.jpg, The center console of a Volkswagen Passat featuring a floor moun ...

'' 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 A footman or footboy is a male domestic worker employed mainly to wait at table or attend a coach or carriage. Etymology Originally in the 14th century a foot soldier or any pedestrian, later a foot servant. A running footman delivered messages.T ...
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 Trace may refer to: Arts and entertainment Music * ''Trace'' (Son Volt album), 1995 * ''Trace'' (Died Pretty album), 1993 * Trace (band) Trace was a Netherlands, Dutch progressive rock trio founded by Rick van der Linden in 1974 after leaving ...
, 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.


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''. The wheels revolve upon bearings or a spindle at the ends of a bar or beam called an ''axle'' or ''axletree''. Most carriages have either one or two axles. On a four-wheeled vehicle, the forward part of the running gear, or ''forecarriage'', is arranged to permit the front axle to turn independently of the fixed rear axle. In some carriages a dropped axle, bent twice at a right angle near the ends, allows for 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 A backstay is a piece of standing rigging File:Standing rigging--square-rigged sailing vessel--Detail.jpg, Standing rigging on a square-rigged vessel (illustrated left), which supports a mast comprising three steps: ''main'', ''top'', and ''topgall ...
'' 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 London patent of 1841 describes one such apparatus: "An iron-shod beam, slightly longer than the radius of the wheel, is hinged under the axle so that when it is released to strike the ground the forward momentum of the vehicle wedges it against the axle". The original feature of this modification was that instead of the usual practice of having to stop the carriage to retract the beam and so lose useful momentum the chain holding it in place is released (from the driver's position) so that it is allowed to rotate further in its backwards direction, releasing the axle. A system of "pendant-levers" and straps then allows the beam to return to its first position and be ready for further use. A catch or block called a ''trigger'' may be used to hold a wheel on an incline. A horizontal wheel or segment of a wheel called a ''
fifth wheel The fifth-wheel coupling provides the link between a semi-trailer and the towing truck mining truck A truck or lorry is a motor vehicle designed to transport cargo. Trucks vary greatly in size, power, and configuration. Smaller varieti ...
'' sometimes forms an extended support to prevent the carriage from tipping; it consists of two parts rotating on each other about the kingbolt or perchbolt 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.


Many of these fittings were carried over to
horseless carriage Image:Autobus amedee-bollee.jpg, 240px, ''L'Obéissante'' Horseless carriage is an early name for the car, motor car or automobile. Prior to the invention of the motor car, carriages were usually pulled by animals, typically horses. The term can be ...

horseless carriage
s and evolved into the modern elements of automobiles. During the
Brass Era File:1911KRIT.jpg, A 1911 K-R-I-T Motor Car Company, K-R-I-T advertisement The Brass Era is an American term for the early period of automotive manufacturing, named for the prominent brass fittings used during this time for such things as lights a ...
they were often the same parts on either type of carriage (i.e., horse-drawn or horseless). * Upholstery (trimming): traditionally similar to the
upholstery Upholstery is the work of providing furniture, especially seats, with padding, springs, webbing, and fabric or leather Leather is a durable and flexible material created by tanning animal rawhide and skins. The most common raw mater ...
of furniture; evolved into car interior upholstery such as
car seat A car seat is the seat used in automobiles. Most car seats are made from inexpensive but durable material in order to withstand prolonged use. The most common material is polyester. Bucket seat and bench seat A bucket seat is a separate s ...
s and door trim panels * Carriage lamps: typically
oil lamp An oil lamp is an object used to produce light continuously for a period of time using an oil-based fuel source. The use of oil lamps began thousands of years ago and continues to this day, although their use is less common in modern times. ...

oil lamp
s for centuries, although
carbide lamp Carbide lamps, or acetylene gas lamps, are simple lamps that produce and burn acetylene Acetylene ( systematic name: ethyne) is the chemical compound A chemical compound is a chemical substance composed of many identical molecules (or mo ...

carbide lamp
s and battery-powered
electric lamp An electric light is a device that produces visible light Light or visible light is electromagnetic radiation within the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum The electromagnetic spectrum is the range of frequencies (the spectrum ...
s were also used in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; evolved into car
headlamp A headlamp is a lamp (electrical component), lamp attached to the front of a vehicle to illuminate the road ahead. Headlamps are also often called headlights, but in the most precise usage (language), usage, ''headlamp'' is the term for the d ...
s * Trunk: a luggage trunk serving the same purpose as, and which gave its name to, later car trunks *
Toolbox A toolbox (also called toolkit, tool chest or workbox) is a box to organize, carry, and protect the owner's tools. They could be used for trade, a hobby or Do it yourself, DIY, and their contents vary with the craft of the owner. Types A toolb ...

: a small box with enough
hand tool A hand tool is any tool A tool is an object that can extend an individual's ability to modify features of the surrounding environment. Although many animals use tool use by animals, simple tools, only human beings, whose use of stone tools ...
s to make simple repairs on the roadside *
Blanket A blanket is a piece of soft cloth large enough either to cover or to enfold a great portion of the user's body. It is usually used when a person goes to sleep or is otherwise at rest. It traps radiant bodily heat that otherwise would be los ...

s: in winter, blankets for the driver and passengers and often
horse blanket is wearing a horse blanket. A horse blanket or rug is a blanket or animal '' coat'' intended for keeping a horse The horse (''Equus ferus caballus'') is a domesticated odd-toed ungulate mammal. It belongs to the taxonomic family Equidae and ...
s as well *
Running board A running board or footboard is a narrow step fitted under the side doors of a tram (Cable car (railway), cable car, trolley, or streetcar in North America), car, or truck. It aids entry, especially into high vehicles, and is typical of vintag ...
: a step to assist in climbing onto the carriage and also sometimes a place for
standing passenger In urban public transport Shanghai Metro is the second largest rapid transit system in the world by route length, after the Beijing Subway. Public transport (also known as public transportation, public transit, mass transit, or simply ...
s *
Shovel Image:Unloading_flood_relief_supplies_at_Gilgit_Air_Base_2010-09-18_1.jpg, 260px, A man carrying shovels A shovel is a tool for digging, lifting, and moving bulk materials, such as soil, coal, gravel, snow, sand, or ore. Most shovels are hand too ...

: useful for mud and snow in the roadway, to free the carriage from being stuck; was especially important in the era when most roads were
dirt road A dirt road or track is a type of unpaved road A road is a thoroughfare, route, or way on land between two Location (geography), places that has been Pavement (material), paved or otherwise improved to allow travel by foot or by some form of ...

dirt road
s, often with deep ruts * Buggy whip or coachwhip: whips for the horses. For obvious reasons, this is one of the components of carriage equipment that did not carry over from horse-drawn carriages to horseless carriages, and that fact has made such whips one of the prototypical or stereotypical examples of products whose manufacture is subject to
disruptive innovation In business Business is the activity of making one's living or making money by producing or buying and selling products (such as goods and services). Simply put, it is "any activity or enterprise entered into for profit." Having a busine ...

Carriage terminology

A person whose business was to drive a carriage was a ''
coachman Russian coachman, before 1917 — his belt indicates his master's wealth A coachman is a man whose business it is to drive a coach or carriage, a horse-drawn vehicle A horse-drawn vehicle is a mechanized piece of equipment pulled by one horse ...

''. A servant in livery called a ''
footman A footman or footboy is a male domestic worker employed mainly to wait at table or attend a coach or carriage. Etymology Originally in the 14th century a foot soldier or any pedestrian, later a foot servant. A running footman delivered messages.T ...
'' 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 The American bison or simply bison (''Bison bison''), also commonly known as the American buffalo or simply buffalo, is an American species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic ...

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 The Cleveland Bay is a horse breed, breed of horse that originated in England during the 17th century, named after its colouring and the Cleveland, England, Cleveland district of Yorkshire. It is a well-muscled horse, with legs that a ...

Cleveland Bay
'', uniformly
bay A bay is a recessed, coastal body of water that directly connects to a larger main body of water, such as an ocean The ocean (also the sea or the world ocean) is the body of salt water which covers approximately 71% of the surface ...
in color, 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 Porte may refer to: *Sublime Porte , was known as the Sublime Porte until the 18th century. Image:DSC04009 Istanbul - La Sublime Porta - Foto G. Dall'Orto 25-5-2006.jpg, 300px, The later Sublime Porte proper in 2006 The Sublime Porte, also known ...
''. An outbuilding for a carriage is a ''coach house'', which was often combined with accommodation for a
groom A bridegroom (often shortened to groom) is a man who is about to be married in Stockholm Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock, is a culturally recognised union between people, called spouses, that establishes rights and obligatio ...

or other servants. A ''
livery stable A livery yard, livery stable or boarding stable, is a stable where horse owners pay a weekly or monthly fee to keep their horses. A livery or boarding yard is not usually a riding school and the horses are not normally for hire (unless on working ...
'' kept horses and usually carriages for hire. A range of stables, usually with ''
carriage house 267px, Small carriage house, Douglas County, KS A carriage house, also called a remise or coach house, is an outbuilding which was originally built to house horse-drawn carriages and the related horse tack, tack. In Great Britain the farm bui ...
s'' (''remises'') and living quarters built around a yard, court or street, is called a ''
mews Mews is a British English, British name for a row or courtyard of stables and carriage houses with living quarters above them, built behind large city houses before motor vehicles replaced horses in the early twentieth century. Mews are usually ...
''. 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 show A horse show is a judged exhibition of horse The horse (''Equus ferus caballus'') is a domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence ove ...
s host driving competitions for a particular style of driving, breed of horse, or type of vehicle. Show vehicles are usually carriages,
cart A cart or dray (Aus. & NZ) is a vehicle designed for transport Transport (commonly used in the U.K.), or transportation (used in the U.S.), is the Motion, movement of humans, animals and cargo, goods from one location to another. In other ...

s, or and, occasionally, or
wagon A wagon or waggon is a heavy four-wheeled vehicle pulled by draught animals or on occasion by humans, used for transporting Good (economics), goods, commodities, agricultural materials, supplies and sometimes people. Wagons are immediately dis ...

s. Modern high-technology carriages are made purely for competition by companies such as Bennington Carriages. in England. 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-round test of driving:
combined driving Combined driving (also known as horse driving trials) is an equestrian sport involving carriage driving Carriage driving is a form of competitive horse driving Driving, when applied to horse The horse (''Equus ferus caballus'') is a d ...
, also known as ''horse-driving trials'', an equestrian discipline regulated by the Fédération Équestre Internationale (International Equestrian Federation) with national organizations representing each member country. World championships are conducted in alternate years, including single-horse, horse pairs and four-in-hand championships. The
World Equestrian Games The FEI World Equestrian Games are the major international championships for equestrianism, and are administered by the International Federation for Equestrian Sports, Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI). The games have been held every fou ...
, held at four-year intervals, also includes a four-in-hand competition. For
pony A pony is a small horse The horse (''Equus ferus caballus'') is a domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction ...

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

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: * Araba *
Bandy Bandy is a team A team is a group of individuals (human or non-human) working together to achieve their goal A goal is an idea In common usage and in philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundame ...
Barouche A barouche is a large, open, four-wheeled carriage A carriage is a private four-wheeled vehicle for people and is most commonly horse-drawn A horse-drawn vehicle is a mechanized piece of equipment pulled by one horse or by a team of hors ...
Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the List of cities in the European Union by ...
Brake A brake is a mechanical device A machine is a man-made Artificiality (the state of being artificial or man-made) is the state of being the product of intentional human manufacture, rather than occurring naturally through processes not invol ...
* Britzka * Brougham *
Buckboard Duke's cigarettes advertising insert card, 1850-1920 A buckboard is a four-wheeled wagon of simple construction meant to be drawn by a horse or other large animal. A distinctly American utility vehicle, the buckboard has no springs between the body ...

* *
Cabriolet A convertible or cabriolet () is a passenger car that can be driven with or without a roof in place. The methods of retracting and storing the roof vary between models. A convertible allows an open-air driving experience, with the ability to p ...
Calash A barouche is a large, open, four-wheeled carriage A carriage is a private four-wheeled vehicle for people and is most commonly Horse-drawn vehicle, horse-drawn. Second-hand private carriages were common public transport, the equivalent of ...
* Cape cart *
Cariole A cariole (also spelled carriole) was a type of carriage used in the 19th century. It was a light, small, two- or four-wheeled vehicle, open or covered, drawn by a single horse. The term is also used for a light covered cart or a dog-drawn tobogg ...
Carryall The term ''carryall'' refers to several types of vehicles, including: historical carriages, automobiles, sleighs, and tractors. Horse-drawn carriage Historically, a carryall was a type of carriage A carriage is a private four-wheeled vehi ...
* Chaise * Chariot (carriage), Chariot ** Chariot *** Biga (chariot), Biga *** Triga (chariot), Triga * Clarence (carriage), Clarence * Coach (carriage), Coach * Coupé * Croydon (carriage), Croydon * Curricle * Dogcart ** Dos-à-dos (carriage), Dos-à-dos * Drag (carriage), Drag * Driving (horse) * Droshky (Drozhki) * Ekka (carriage), Ekka * Fiacre (carriage), Fiacre * Fly (carriage), Fly * Four-in-hand (carriage), Four-in-hand * Gharry * Gig (carriage), Gig * Gladstone carriage, Gladstone * Governess cart * Hackney carriage#History, Hackney * Hansom * Hearse * Herdic * Horse and buggy * Horsebus * Jaunting car * Jingle (carriage), Jingle *Kalesa Filipino carriage * Karozzin (Maltese horse carriage) * Kibitka * Landau (carriage), Landau * Limousine (carriage), Limousine * Mail coach * One-horse carriage * One-horse shay * Park Drag * Phaeton (carriage), Phaeton ** Spider phaeton * Post chaise * Randem * Ratha ** Temple car * Road Coach * Rockaway (carriage), Rockaway * Sociable (carriage), Sociable * Sprung cart * Stagecoach * Stanhope (carriage), Stanhope * Sulky * Surrey (carriage), Surrey * Tarantass (Tarantas) * Tanga (carriage), Tanga/Tonga (Indian horse carriage) * Telega * Tilbury (carriage), Tilbury * Trap (carriage), Trap * Troika (driving), Troika * Un-sprung cart * Vardo (Romani wagon) * Victoria (carriage), Victoria * Village cart * Vis-à-vis (carriage), Vis-à-vis * Voiturette (carriage), Voiturette * Volante * Wagonette * Whim (carriage), Whim * Whiskey (carriage), Whiskey

Carriage collections


*Muhfit (Museo Histórico Fuerte Independencia Tandil), Tandil.


*Cobb + Co Museum – National Carriage Collection, Queensland Museum, Toowoomba, Queensland. *The National Trust of Australia (Victoria) Carriage Collection


*Museum of Carriages and Department of Court Uniforms, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.


* VZW Rijtuigmuseum Bree, Bree, Belgium, Bree, Limburg (Belgium), Limburg * De Groom Carriage Center Bruges, Brugge, Belgium, Brugge, West-Vlaanderen (Belgium), West Flanders * Koetsenmuseum Verdonckt * Royal Museum for Art and History Brussels (KMKG/MRAH)


* National Historical Museum (Brazil), National Historical Museum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil * Museu Imperial, Imperial Museum in Petrópolis, Brazil


* The Remington Carriage Museum in Cardston, Alberta, Canada * The Campbell Carriage Factory Museum in Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada * Kings Landing Historical Settlement in Prince William, New Brunswick, Canada, has a large collection of horse and oxen drawn vehicles.


* Royal Carriage Museum, Christiansborg Palace, Copenhagen * Slesvigske Vognsamling, Haderslev


*Carriage Museum (Egypt), Carriage Museum


*Palace of Versailles **The Versailles Stables


*Marstallmuseum of Carriages and Sleighs in the former Royal Stables, Nymphenburg Palace, Munich * Hesse Museum of Carriages and Sleighs in Lohfelden near Kassel


* Museo "Le Carrozze d'Epoca", Rome. * Museo Civico delle Carrozze d'Epoca di Codroipo. * Museo Civico delle Carrozze d'Epoca, San Martino, Udine. * Museo della Carrozza di Macerata. * Museo delle Carrozze del Quirinale, Rome. * Museo delle Carrozze di Palazzo Farnese, Piacenza. * Museo delle Carrozze, Catanzaro. * Museo delle Carrozze, Naples.


*Nationaal Rijtuigmuseum, Leek, Groningen, Leek in Groningen (province), Groningen.


* Łańcut Castle
Rogalin Palace


* National Coach Museum (Lisbon), National Coach Museum (''Museu dos Coches''), Lisbon * Geraz do Lima Carriage museum


* Carriage Museum, Seville, Carriage Museum, Seville

United Kingdom

* Mossman Collection, Luton, Bedfordshire *
Royal Mews The Royal Mews is a mews, or collection of equestrian stables, of the British Royal Family The British royal family comprises Queen Elizabeth II and her close relations. There is no strict legal or formal definition of who is or is not a ...
at Buckingham Palace, London. * Swingletree Carriage Collection. John Parker Swingletree Carriage Driving, Swingletree, Wingfield, Nr. Diss, Norfolk * National Trust Carriage Museum, Arlington Court, near Barnstaple, Devon * The Tyrwhitt-Drake Museum of Carriages, Maidstone, Kent

United States

* Florida Carriage Museum, Weirsdale, Florida. Formerly Austin Carriage Museum. * Skyline Farm Carriage Museum, North Yarmouth, Maine * The Carriage Collection of the Owls Head Transportation Museum, Owls Head, Maine. * The Carriage Museum, Washington, Kentucky * Carriage Museum of America, Lexington, Kentucky * Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn, Michigan * Long Island Museum of American Art, History, and Carriages, The Long Island Museum of American Art, History & Carriages, Stony Brook, New York * Pioneer Village (Utah)#Carriage Hall, Pioneer Village, Farmington, Utah. * Thrasher Carriage Museum, Frostburg, Maryland * Sylvanus Wade House, The Wesley W. Jung Carriage Museum, Greenbush, Wisconsin * Shelburne Museum, Shelburne, Vermont * Forney Museum of Transportation, Denver, Colorado * Mifflinburg Buggy Museum, Mifflinburg, PA. Only museum in US that preserves an original intact 19th century carriage factory. * Frick Art & Historical Center Car & Carriage Museum, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, preserving carriages owned by Henry Clay Frick and his family.The Frick Pittsburgh

See also

* Horse-drawn vehicle * Horsecar * Horse harness * Driving (horse) * Horseless carriage (term for early automobiles) * Howdah (carriage positioned on the back of an elephant or camel) * Wagon * War wagon


Further reading

* Bean, Heike, & Sarah Blanchard (authors), Joan Muller (illustrator), ''Carriage Driving: A Logical Approach Through Dressage Training'', Howell Books, 1992. * Berkebile, Don H., ''American Carriages, Sleighs, Sulkies, and Carts: 168 Illustrations from Victorian Sources'', Dover Publications, 1977. * Boyer, Marjorie Nice. "Mediaeval Suspended Carriages". ''Speculum'', v34 n3 (July 1959): 359–366. * Boyer, Marjorie Nice. ''Mediaeval Suspended Carriages''. Cambridge, Mass.: The Mediaeval Academy of America, 1959. . * Bristol Wagon Works Co., ''Bristol Wagon & Carriage Illustrated Catalog, 1900'', Dover Publications, 1994. * Elkhart Manufacturing Co., ''Horse-Drawn Carriage Catalog, 1909'' (Dover Pictorial Archives), Dover Publications, 2001. * Hutchins, Daniel D., ''Wheels Across America: Carriage Art & Craftsmanship'', Tempo International Publishing Company, 1st edition, 2004. * Ingram, Arthur, ''Horse Drawn Vehicles since 1760 in Colour'', Blandford Press, 1977. * King-Hele, Desmond. "Erasmus Darwin's Improved Design for Steering Carriages—And Cars". ''Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London'', 56, no. 1 (2002): 41–62. * Kinney, Thomas A., ''The Carriage Trade: Making Horse-Drawn Vehicles in America'' (Studies in Industry and Society), The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004. * Lawrence, Bradley & Pardee, ''Carriages and Sleighs: 228 Illustrations from the 1862 Lawrence, Bradley & Pardee Catalog'', Dover Publications, 1998. * Museums at Stony Brook, ''The Carriage Collection'', Museums, 2000. * Nelson Alan H. "Six-Wheeled Carts: An Underview". ''Technology and Culture'', v13 n3 (July 1972): 391–416. * Richardson, M. T., ''Practical Carriage Building'', Astragal Press, 1994. * Ryder, Thomas (author), Rodger Morrow (editor), ''The Coson Carriage Collection at Beechdale'', The Carriage Association of America, 1989. . * Wackernagel, Rudolf H., ''Wittelsbach State and Ceremonial Carriages: Coaches, Sledges and Sedan Chairs in the Marstallmuseum Schloss Nymphenburg'', Arnoldsche Verlagsanstalt GmbH, 2002. * Walrond, Sallie, ''Looking at Carriages'', J. A. Allen & Co., 1999. * Ware, I. D., ''Coach-Makers' Illustrated Hand-Book, 1875: Containing Complete Instructions in All the Different Branches of Carriage Building'', Astragal Press, 2nd edition, 1995. * Westermann, William Linn. "On Inland Transportation and Communication in Antiquity". ''Political Science Quarterly'', v43 n3 (September 1928): 364–387. * "Colonial Roads and Wheeled Vehicles". ''The William and Mary Quarterly'', v8 n1 (July 1899): 37–42. .

External links

{{EB1911 poster, Carriage
''19th century American carriages: Their manufacture, decoration and use''.
By Museums at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY, 1987. Long Island Digital Books Project, CONTENTdm Collection, Stony Brook University, Southampton, New York.

University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

* [https://web.archive.org/web/20070822101846/http://www.car-nection.com/yann/Dbas_txt/Sty_apdx.htm Appendix to Cadillac "Styling" section (coaching terminology).] The Classic Car-Nection: Yann Saunders, Cadillac Database. Drawings and text
CAAOnline: Carriage Tour
Carriage Association of America. Photos and text.
Calisphere – A World of Digital Resources.
Search ''carriage''. University of California. Hundreds of photos.


ThinkQuest Library. Illustrations and text.
Colonial Carriage Works – America's Finest Selection of Horse Drawn Vehicles.
Columbus, Wisconsin.
''Driving for Pleasure, Or The Harness Stable and its Appointments'' by Francis Underhill, 1896.
Carnegie Mellon University. A comprehensive overview, with photographs of horse-drawn carriages in use at the turn of the 19th century. Full text free to read, with free full text search.
''An Encyclopædia of Domestic Economy, Comprising Subjects Connected with the Interests of Every Individual''..., by Thomas Webster and William Parkes, 1855.
Book XXIII, Carriages. Google Book Search.
''English Pleasure Carriages: Their Origin, History, Varieties, Materials, Construction, Defects, Improvements, and Capabilities: With an Analysis of the Construction of Common Roads and Railroads, and the Public Vehicles Used on Them; Together with Descriptions of New Inventions'' by William Bridges Adams, 1837.
Google Book Search.

The Guild of Model Wheelwrights.
Galaxy of Images , Smithsonian Institution Libraries.
Carriages and sleighs.

Georgian Index. Illustrations and text.
''The History of Coaches'', by George Athelstane Thrupp, 1877.
Google Book Search.

Educational Technology Clearinghouse, University of South Florida. Drawings.

Jane Austen Society of North America. Illustrations and text.
The Kinross Carriageworks, Stirling (Scotland), 1802–1966.

''Modern carriages'', by W. Gilbey, 1905.
The University of Hong Kong Libraries, China–America Digital Academic Library (CADAL).

The Guild of Model Wheelwrights. Illustrations and text.
Science and Society Picture Library – Search
Illustrations and text.
''Treatise on Carriages. Comprehending Coaches, Chariots, Phaetons, Curricles, Whiskeys, &c. Together with Their Proper Harness. In Which the Fair Prices of Every Article are Accurately Stated'', by William Felton, coachmaker, 1794.
Google Book Search.

Texas Transportation Museum, San Antonio. Photos and text.

The New York Times, 29 October 1871, page 2. Carriages, Animal-powered vehicles Horse driving Obsolete technologies