more phaeton... and curricle
Posted by P. Bingham on July 14, 1998 at 20:30:11:
In response to Man loose with scanner.... look out!, written by Roger V on July 11, 1998 at 23:34:07
Yes there was a lower version of the pheaton that some ladies apparently took to the park... 'Lady Salisbury scrupulously adhered to the state of former days; she always went to court in a sedan-chair with splendid liveries, she drove out in a low phaeton with four black ponies in the Park, and at night her carriage was known by the flambeaux of the footmen.' Personal Reminiscenes by Cornelia Knight and Thomas Raikes.
In the Regency Companion by by Laudermilk and Hamlin, they give this explaination of the pheaton: 'These light four-wheeled carriages were drawn by two. four or six horses. Over the front wheels were one or two feet higher than the four to five feet front wheels. The precarious height turned them into a challenge that no game buck refused. Prinny's love of tooling his phaeton to Brighton helped usher in driving as a fashionable pastime. various types of phaeton's included perch, crane-neck, high-perch and high-fliers.
] Yes, that's the one of the points I was going to make.... I was under the impression that a Curricle was more of a "man's carriage." I have just uploaded a scan of a pic that is supposed to show the Prince Regent driving a curricle, and if you think the Phaeton was high and top heavy, take a look at this pic! It's even more dangeous-looking because the prince is standing up, and the carriage flooboards are as high as the backs of the horses. A fall from that distance could be extremely dangerous.
Also, the curricle has only two wheels, which would make it more prone to tipping or overturning... the phaeton, even though it is also very high, has four wheels, and would therefore be more stable.
Curricle from Regency Companion:
'This two-wheeled carriage was pulled by two horses. Prinny helped popularize this low-wheeled vehicle. A steel bar connected to the horses' back pad balanced the weight of the pole. The curricle had a seat at the back for the groom or tiger.'
the curricle would have been considered a man's vehicle too and the sword case that inevitably showed up on the back testified to that. It was not so precarious, however, and was never compared to the danger of the high-flyer phaeton. The curricle was known to be an 'easy rider' so to speak. Here is a bit on the curricle from Wheels by Edwin Tunis:
'The only carriage since roman days that had its pole supported by a yoke. The curricle was easy riding, well balanced, and well sprung, ao it was deemed worth the five hundred dollars it cost. In the closing years of the eighteenth c curricles were ultrafashionable, and they remained popular for almost fifty years. The earliest curricles had an unusually long pole with a rope stretched tight beneath it from the tip clear back to the axletree. The ends of the metal yoke or curricle-bar rested on the saddles of the two horses. A strap was looped over the middle bar and under the stretched rope; this allowed the rope to act as a spring to absorbe the joggling caused by the motion of the horses. later curricles used an actual spring. Coil springs were often inserted as spreaders between the two parts of the leathr braces on which the body was hung.
behind the seat of the curricle there was a sword case and it really was used for carrying a sword at least as late as 1796 (which is the year of the illustration in the book). The sword case was the mark of a gentleman's carriage. Because of this the sword case remained long after the sword went out of fashion and the last ones, some fifty years after our curricle, were merely painted wooded blocks.'
While were on sword cases: the other carriages which typically displayed this was the perch-high phaeton and town chariot.
here is something about the Phaeton from Wheels:
When george III's son was Prince of Wales he cut a dash as a sporting blood. One of his more spectacular diversions was driving himself and perhaps a friend to the races in a high-flyer phaeton. This was the hot rod of its time, an incredible vehicle, which like the Roman carruca had only one real purpose - to attract as much attention as possible. One reputable expert has clainmed that this vehicle never existed and that contemporary drawings of it were caricatures, but the scathing descriptions written by people who saw it leave little doubt that it actually looked about like the drawing. It took a fool's courage to ride in it, for it swayed violently and was obviously top-heavy, especially with the oversize Prince aboard. he used a ladder to get up and down. With all the high-flyer's absurdity it was the jumping-off point for a new era of lightness and elegance in coach-building which reached its peak some 35 or 40 years later. In his obese age the same gentleman had another phaeton built. for obvious reasons as low as possible. it is known as a George IV phaeton and was a direct ancestor of the graceful victoria.'
LAURA if you are out there... something more on the post chaise I found here: 'Very like the berline-coupee was an English vehicle known as a chariot or, if it had no driver's seat, as a post-chaise.'
- Thanks, Patricia! Noted. nfm Laura W 23:45:15 7/15/98 (0)
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