Tuesday, January 27, 2015

What's a traveling chariot?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Loretta reports:

If you’ve read stories set in the early 1800s, you’ve probably encountered traveling chariots.  In Lord of Scoundrels, my hero and heroine travel in such a vehicle from London to Dartmoor. 
Between the town chariot and the travelling chariot, or post chaise, there was no difference in the design of the body. The nature of their use occasioned the alteration of name. The former was fitted with a seat in front, and generally furnished with a hammer-cloth; but this, in the case of plain chariots, was dispensed with. It was in all cases mounted upon a perch carriage, either with straight perch, or curved, with crane neck, and suspended upon whip springs, to be later on succeeded by the C spring. Many of these chariots were very elaborately finished; in some cases the bodies were made with quarter lights, having Venetian blinds, and a feature was made in the decoration of the panels by painting ornamental borders and floral wreaths thereon ...

The travelling chariot, or post chaise, was naturally of a plainer description than the town chariot. As already observed, the body was of the same design, and invariably fitted with a sword case, an excrescence, as it were, on the back, the access to which was gained from the inside of the body, and covered by the back squab. At first, the hind carriage supported a travelling case, which was afterwards displaced for a rumble. There was ample provision for luggage. In addition to a large boot, or box, fixed on the front carriage, there were imperials on the roof, and a bonnet case fixed between the front of body and the splasher. By removing these cases and substituting a driving seat, the travelling chariot was readily converted into a town chariot. The post chaise, it should be observed, was always driven by postilions.

Papers Read Before the Institute of British Carriage Manufacturers, 1883-1901

More images here, here, and here.


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