"Horses and other animals including oxen and donkeys provided the primary means of transportation all over the world through the nineteenth century. A single horse could pull a wheeled vehicle and contents weighing as much as a ton."
When was the horse and buggy invented?
The earliest form of a "carriage" can be traced back to the chariots of Mesopotamia around 3,000 BC, where were simply two-wheeled basins meant for a few people and pulled by one or two horses. These early designs were light and quick, making them ideal for warfare with Egyptians.
Fast forward to 1915. At this point, the automobile wasn't affordable for most, it was mostly the lower and middle-class citizens that took advantage of the benefits of the horse and buggy method of transportation.
When did the horse and buggy era end?
My Charleston Carriage details that, eventually, it was simply cheaper to own a car:
"An essay titled From Horse Power to Horsepower explained that 'The equine was not replaced all at once, but function by function. Freight haulage was the last bastion of horse-drawn transportation; the motorized truck finally supplanted the horse cart in the 1920s.'"
How fast does a horse and buggy go?
Horses typically trot between 8 and 12 miles per hour, depending on their fitness. With that in mind, a couple of good carriage horses should be able to lead a carriage about a few dozen miles in an 8 hour day.
In some cases, horse-drawn carriages are accidents waiting to happen. PETA explains that countless incidents have occurred involving carriages and impatient or careless drivers. It's important to keep a respectful distance when passing a modern-day horse and buggy on back roads.
Other fun facts about the horse and buggy:
- In the 21st century, the buggy is still used as normal for Amish families and everyday means of transportation by Anabaptists like the Amish.
- Commercial horse-and-buggy rides meant for tourists exist in many places, like New York City's Central Park, Michigan's Mackinac Island, and in Vienna, Brussels and other European and North American sites.
- Many open buggy carriages used by the Amish can be found in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
- The Concorde buggy, first made in Concord, New Hampshire, had a body with low sides and side-spring suspension. A buggy having two seats was a "double buggy."
Tell us what you think, did we miss anything about the history?