Glossary of Carriages

A summer vehicle used for driving in the great parks.  Originating from Germany and Poland, as a large clumsy vehicle built near the ground with no step needed, it later became more elegant like the
Canoe-Landau with only one hood over the back seat.  Drawn by pairs of high quality horses this was an expensive fashionable vehicle.

Break (Brake)
A four wheeled, open country vehicle of varying shapes.  The Shooting Break carried six sportsmen with space for their dogs, guns and game in the slatted sided boot.  Break vehicles, sometimes have a hood and are characterised by having longitudinal seats with the passengers sitting facing each other and alighting by a rear entry.  See photographs of a real Kinross Wagonnette Break here.

An enclosed carriage drawn by one horse without as many windows as a coach.  Named after the designer, Lord Brougham, an English statesman in 1839, it was popular in the Victorian age among both aristocrats and the middle classes.  See an advert for a Kinross Brougham with “circular front movable glasses” or a photograph here.

A hooded Gig.  The Americans use ‘Buggy’ to describe various two or four wheeled vehicles, but generally it refers to light carriages built for speed.  See the details of a Kinross Buggy which was withdrawn from sale or a picture of Mrs Kinross showing a Piano Box Buggy.

A light, two-wheeled, hooded one-horse chaise.  Replaced the curricle as a fashionable vehicle for society men in the early years of Queen Victoria's reign.

An earlier version of the Barouche from the 18th Century, a light, four-wheeled, hooded vehicle.  The seating arrangement was similar to the Vis-À-Vis and it was low to enter like the Victoria.

Wheeled vehicle for persons. Usually private four wheeled vehicle, drawn by two or more horses.

A two wheeled waggon with the advantage of being more manoeuvrable, suitable for hilly districts and drawn by only one horse rather than a team.  A general-purpose trade or farm vehicle with no suspension.   Special versions had a tipping mechanism and were often used for carting manure (dung carts) or building materials.

A pleasure or travelling carriage, usually open, low, four wheeled and drawn by one or two ponies.

A country vehicle that carried more passengers than a wagonette, always driven by four horses.  Originally used for the transport of shooting parties, they were later gaudily painted and used for public sightseeing tours.

A Swiss vehicle that carried passengers sideways facing outwards so that they could look at the beautiful views.

A stately, four-wheeled carriage with back seats only.  The Travelling Chariot was the private posting vehicle of the nobility with the owner's crest painted on the doors, a sword-case incorporated in the back of the body, a satin interior and seats for the servants up at the back.

A square fronted town vehicle to seat four, being midway between a Brougham and a Coach, drawn by two horses.  Having plenty of room they were later made into street cabs, earning the nickname ‘Growler’.

State carriage, four-wheeled, seating four, usually enclosed with windows all around, a curved underbody and the roof forming part of the framing of the body.  A Town Coach was a massive vehicle, drawn by up to six heavy horses, with armorial bearings painted on the doors.

A light, two-wheeled vehicle, usually drawn by a pair of horses abreast, a favourite of men-about-town before the cabriolet.  This was the only two-wheeled vehicle built to be drawn by a pair, and had a steel bar attached to pads on the horses backs, which supported the weight of the pole.

A small, light two-wheeled (later four-wheeled), one-horse vehicle for driving in.  Used for short trips, such as to meet guests at the railway station or going shopping.  The first Perth Dog-Cart was made by Mr William Kinross in Stirling, and a good many more like it.  The Dog-Cart was derived from a gig and was used for carrying four sportsmen sitting back to back with their dogs underneath in a deep boot with venetian slatted sides.  Click here for photographs of a real Kinross two-wheeled Dog-Cart, a four-wheeled Dog-Cart, a Perth Cart or the Stirling Observer report of Walter Gilbey's Stirling welcome.

An enclosed carriage designed for long expeditions with a well-sprung body that could be converted into sleeping accommodation for night-time travel.  Luggage was stowed on the roof.

A vehicle used by the wealthy to convey their luggage and servants.

A two wheeled cart with a very low floor for carrying heavy loads such as milk churns (milk float) or dressed stone or marble for building.  This was achieved by having a cranked axle, like the governess cart.

A vehicle drawn by four horses driven by one person on the box.

A light two-wheeled, one-horsed vehicle for two people.  Used by commuters, it was the most common vehicle on the road.  See a real Kinross Square Gig and a Cab Fronted Gig here.

Governess Cart
A tub-shaped, two-wheeled, one-horsed vehicle originally designed for a governess to take young children in relative safety.  The body was hung on elliptic springs with a cranked axle to give a lower centre of gravity.  Access is by a rear door with a low-hung step for small children and the outside door handle is low down out of their reach.  The main disadvantages are the sideways driving position and the difficulty of opening the door to get out in a hurry, to control an excited horse.  The carriage on the left hand side of the picture of the “Long Saloon” showroom is a Governess Cart.  See some real Kinross Governess Carts here.

Hansom Cab
A two-wheeled cabriolet for two inside, with the driver mounted behind and his reins going over the roof, patented in 1834.  Despite being public vehicles for hire, many were privately owned and considered rather dashing vehicles such that no lady would venture out in one unaccompanied.

A hackney coach or carriage kept for hire.  These were often the discarded coaches of the nobility and were much despised on account of their shabbiness and dirty interiors.  ‘Hackney Coach’ comes from the French ‘haquenée’ meaning a horse for hire.

Jaunting Car
A traditional Irish two-wheeled vehicle with side facing seats hung over the wheels.  It was driven from the side or from a central front driver's seat above the luggage in rather unbalanced variations.  Whilst the driver or ‘jarvey’ required considerable skill, to drive sideways, the passengers also had to concentrate to stay seated on the corners, keep their legs dry in the wet and avoid being hit by obstacles due to the width of the vehicle.  Also known as a Side Car, Irish Car or an Outside Car.

A four-wheeled carriage with a folding two-part hood, the front and back halves of which can be raised and lowered independently.  Originally from Landau, Germany.  The Canoe Landau has a rounded underbody, which appears lightly built, compared to the more angular Shelborne Landau in which the underbody mirrors the shape of the seating.  See an advert showing a Kinross Canoe Landau built for “His Highness, The Rajah of Jowar” in 1871 or this Canoe Landau on the right hand side of the “Long Saloon” showroom.

A large wheeled public vehicle, plying on a fixed route, taking and picking up passengers at fixed stages or at any point along the way.  Shillibeer's first omnibus of 1829 had bench seats for 18 passengers inside with a door at the back.  William Kinross & Sons were awarded a silver medal for their improved omnibus design as exhibited at the 1851 Great Exhibition.

A four-wheeled Dog-Cart, which was a speciality of William Kinross & Sons. Click here for photographs of two of only three Perth Carts thought to remain in existence.

A light, usually low, four-wheeled open carriage, drawn by a pair of horses.  Phaethõn, the son of the Greek sun-god Helios, was famous for his bad driving of the sun chariot.  See pictures of Mrs Kinross in her elegant Show Phaeton or her Cut-Under Phaeton.

Pony Cart
A small, light two-wheeled, vehicle for driving a pony in.  Click here for photographs of a real Kinross Pony Cart.

An offshoot of the Dog-Cart that became very fashionable in about 1898.  It was named after the Greek shipping magnate Pandia Ralli (1862-1924) of Ashtead Park, Dorking, Surrey.  Sometimes the body was much lower than a Dog-Cart, because the shafts ran inside the body.  A Ralli Car had graceful curved side panels inclining outwards over the wheels; the body style being popular with women.  See photographs of two real Kinross Ralli Cars here.

A low-hung vehicle, carrying four seated vis-à-vis, drawn by a pair of horses and driven from the box seat.  Similar to the Victoria, but with doors.

Sleighs are typically driven from the front seat and have a high dash board to help protect the passengers from the clods of snow thrown from the horse's feet.  They often have a rear rumble seat for the groom as the weight helps lift up the front of the runners.

Stage Coach
A large four wheeled carriage, usually four-horsed, enclosed with seats inside and on the roof, carrying passengers at fixed rates and times with stoppages for meals and relays of horses.

A very high two wheeled vehicle for one person, hence its name.  It was used for timed trotting matches and still is today, although the seat is much lower now.

A light, general purpose, four-wheeled, trade vehicle with a square body and flat sides, often covered with a canvas top on hoops.  The driving seat is the entire width of the front with a low footboard and there is no proper dashboard.  A van has springs whilst a waggon or cart has solid axles.  The name is derived from Caravan, which was a train or convoy of goods travelling together for safety.  See photographs of a real Kinross Van here.

A light, low, four-wheeled, one horse carriage with a seat for two, a raised driver's seat and a folding hood.  They have no doors and have nearly continuous front and rear mudguards, which sweep down like a running board to form an entry step.  A popular ladies' carriage, partly through the snob appeal of its name.

A narrow coach, seating only two people “face to face”, used for ceremonial occasions.  It was soon superseded by Dress Chariots and State Coaches, but the name was used for carriages where the occupants sat opposite each other.  See a photograph of a real Kinross Vis-À-Vis here.

A four-wheeled, heavy haulage farm vehicle handmade by the local wheelwright.  The distance between the wheels was set to match the the gauge of the ruts in the local roads.  There were roughly 35 local varieties of waggon around Britain.  The carter walked alongside controlling the horse just by his voice and a long whip or by holding onto the bridle.  There was no suspension and large wheels to cope with the uneven tracks.  A heavy waggon was drawn by a team of carthorses which were expensive to run, with poor manoeuvrability and unsuitable for hilly regions.  “Wagon” usually refers to a railway wagon and “waggon” to a road waggon.

A four-wheeled, open pleasure vehicle (or with a removable cover) for one or more horses, with side facing bench seats.  The carriage equivalent of a utility vehicle it was perfect for the family country outing with the luggage being stowed beneath the removable seats.  See photographs of a real Kinross Wagonnette Break here (no removeable seats).

Please email me if you can add any more European carriage types to this glossary.