Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A perfectly safe vehicle for 1819

Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Loretta reports:

Those of us who need to transport our aristocratic characters hither and yon are always excited to find detailed illustrations of fashionable vehicles.  A phaeton was analogous to a Ferrari—but not nearly as safe.  Whether this later version is as safe as claimed is anybody's guess.  You can read a fascinating testimonial here.
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Plate 3.—A LIGHT PHAETON WITH PATENT MOVEABLE AXLES.
The plate which accompanies the present article, represents one of the most elegant, and, at the same time, one of the safest vehicles of the kind ever constructed. The accidents so frequently occurring to phaetons upon the old construction, were so frequent, and generally so inevitable, as to have led to their almost total disuse; but the important improvement in them by the application of Mr. Ackermann's Patent Moveable Axles, is likely to bring them again into fashion with gentlemen who are fond of the exercise of driving their own horses with perfect security.

Independent of the other beauties of the vehicle represented, its peculiar shortness and compactness are particularly striking: in a phaeton upon any other plan, this would undoubtedly be a disadvantage in all respects but appearance; for the inevitable consequence would be, that in turning and what is called locking, the carriage must be overturned. The following letter from the builder of this phaeton, to Mr. Ackermann, the proprietor of the Patent Moveable Axles applied to it, will sufficiently explain this singular advantage.

Ackermann's Repository, July 1819

5 comments:

Lauren Hairston said...

Love that you've found the 1819 version of a Craigslist ad. I'm not convinced of the phaeton's safety, though!

Chantel said...

Lovely post! take a look at the seats -- one in front and one in back. hmmm.... I think I would opt to ride. I wonder how often carriages et al would tip over?

Jane O said...

I assume two people can fit in that front seat, no? It would hardly be very romantic to have your suitor take you for a ride with you stuck in the back seat.

The seats are a bit narrow, though. I guess no one horizontally challenged need apply.

Susan said...

OH but did you read the Miscellanies on page 188 of the same document? Letters of the lovelorn, they are priceless!

nightsmusic said...

I'm probably wrong, but I thought I read an article somewhere that said the leading cause of maiming and death during that time was carriage accidents. And falling off horses.

Walking was probably the safest mode of transportation though not nearly as snazzy as this, huh? ;o)

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