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View Full Version : We have car shows. Were there ever wagon shows?



Scott
08-27-2016, 03:38 PM
Before there were cars, were there enthusiasts who got together and had wagon or carriage shows? Maybe part of horse shows? I know there have always been daredevils and even in the horsedrawn carriage days they could make a scare, but as for the equipment, what was the culture like, say 125 years ago. Anyone here remember? Just kidding. Were expositions the only time stuff like that happened? On another topic, are there any showroom floor photos of Studebaker dealerships with wagons (specifically inside the building)?

8E45E
08-27-2016, 03:55 PM
Yeah, it was called the circus!

Craig

PackardV8
08-27-2016, 05:10 PM
A concours d'elégance (from the French, 'a competition of elegance') dates back to 17th-century French aristocracy, who paraded horse-drawn carriages through the parks of Paris during summer weekends and holidays, spending huge sums on matching horses, harness and ornate carriages, each trying to outdo the other.

jack vines

48skyliner
08-27-2016, 06:12 PM
"A concours d'elégance (from the French, 'a competition of elegance') dates back to 17th-century French aristocracy, who paraded horse-drawn carriages through the parks of Paris during summer weekends and holidays, spending huge sums on matching horses, harness and ornate carriages, each trying to outdo the other."


Sounds like the Microsoft parking lot, but now it's Ferrari, Lambo and Porsche.

Mikado282
08-27-2016, 06:17 PM
Like PackardV8 states there were shows. But they were for the 1% of the population that could afford such things. Historically there was nothing like a lot of today's car shows where people people of more modest means enter. Although there still are ones for the "Upper Crust". In the US the horse drawn exhibitions were more about the horse than the vehicle as racing horses is almost as old as man's domestication of the horse. Tractor pulls are one thing that you can correlate to. instead of using tractors they used horse teams.

8E45E
08-27-2016, 06:24 PM
In Euorpe, I can see wagons being shown in that manner.

In good ol' North America, the travelling circuses produced the most creative and sometimes opulent wagons from the 1800's.

Craig

studegary
08-27-2016, 06:35 PM
There have been carriage and wagon shows in this area for as long as I can remember. There is a guy in this town that has about two dozen, including Studebaker. I believe that there are local chapters of clubs that deal with this. Having no interest in this, I never looked into it. There were maybe ten on display in the carriage house of one of our town's parks that I saw during another event there. I had a restored Studebaker wagon show up at one of our Hudson Valley Chapter, SDC annual meets.

raprice
08-27-2016, 06:44 PM
I believe that there were all kinds of exhibits, including horse-drawn wagons, at the original Smithsonian Castle in Wash., D.C.
Rog

jclary
08-27-2016, 07:29 PM
As far as I know, I believe just about every culture in existence, has had some form of "Pride of Ownership" exhibitions. From the early days of Egyptian Chariots, there are accounts of some being highly adorned. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe Mr. J.M. Studebaker, himself, had begun a collection of historical horse drawn carriages, buggies, and wagons. I have heard and read stories of Plantation owners, Aristocrats, wealthy businessmen, who not only owned and bred exotic horses, but maintained a special fleet of prized horse drawn vehicles. That included farm wagons, family wagons, and personal driving vehicles like an enclosed carriage, or open buggy.

I have heard the statement that..."When the Automobile came along, the manufacturing of horse-drawn vehicles, was a MATURE industry." Meaning, that except for a few odd differences, a wagon was a wagon, a buggy was a buggy, no matter who built it. I'm not so sure about that, but that's pretty much the attitude of some historians.

My thinking is, that motorized vehicles swept the world like few other technological developments. I recall in the early 1950's, visiting farms with discarded wagons, shoved down deep gullies, or rotting away in weeds. Back in the days (especially in rural areas) there were no trash collectors, or public landfills. It was not unusual, down an out of the way place, to find improvised dumps. There among discarded stuff like tin cans, household trash, you would see obsolete disposed wind up victrolas, pump organs, broken ceramic butter churns, and discarded mule drawn farm implements. I recall one such trash pile, where an old farm wagon had been loaded with all kind of obsolete stuff (we would call antiques today) and pushed into a gully to rot into the earth.

I suspect, that many proud owners of horse drawn vehicles, showed them off, back in the day...but once automobile came along...that was the end of it. Before the cell phone came along, I recall folks organizing CB Radio clubs...where are they today? I have not heard anyone bragging about how powerful their CB Base Station is in years!;)

Of course, in contemporary times...there are interest groups for all sorts of things. Just like our old cars, there are dog shows, cat shows, and all kinds of Equestrian (horse) activities. The horse events related to horse drawn vehicles, is called "DRIVING" (go figure:)). And it is alive and well. And...like cars...expensive!:ohmy:

studeclunker
08-28-2016, 02:15 AM
Here's an interesting tidbit for you John, one operates an automobile and Drives a horse. One really doesn't go driving in a car, they go motoring. The British were much better at their language than we are here in the U.S. The reason it is called Driving a horse is because one sits behind the animal and literally drives them away from oneself continually. In doing so, the horse (or other beast of burden), which is harnessed into the vehicle where the driver sits, pulls the vehicle forward. It's kinda like sitting in your travel trailer and operating the tow-vehicle by remote control. Hence the colloquialism of driving an automobile is rather obtuse. Still, I like driving my car on a regular basis just like about everyone else I know.

Carriage shows and exhibitions have been going on for about two hundred years. They are still going strong. However, now we have a new twist in that there is a performance end to it as well. So the common man can have fun along with the well-heeled. Concours D'Elegance is a type of show where the horse and Carriage are both equally judged for style, and elegance. The turnout as a whole including appointments, the driver, passenger, and any servants in attendance are taken into account in judging. I find it interesting how someone here said the horse is more important in this kind of show. Well, come now, isn't the motor of a car important in a car show? In the case of a Carriage, the motive power is also put on show.

Paris put on an exhibition every few years for which two American companies always dominated the vehicular (horse-drawn at that time) venue. Studebaker took the blue for their Wagons every time and Brewster often did for their Carriages.

Another thing needs to be kept in mind as well. The word Carriage actually refers only to the chassis of the vehicle. It's almost like saying I have a chassis that I drive to work daily. Sounds a bit funny doesn't it? The point that was being made in this distinction was that one was driving a vehicle that actually had a suspension, vs a wagon that usually didn't. The springs we take so much for granted have only been around a short time, since the 1830's. Spring steel is a fairly recent convenience as is the half-elliptic spring so popular with auto-motive vehicles for a very long time. The horse-drawn carriage with its comfortable elliptic spring system was only around a hundred years or so. Certainly the common-man's version for far shorter a time than that. So who knows how long our automobiles will be around. We might be coming into the end of the auto-motive age and moving on from it very soon at this rate.

qsanford
08-28-2016, 08:32 AM
The Breakers Stable and Carriage House in Newport, R.I. has a nice collection of Coaches and Carriages on display. The Vanderbilt family hosted weekends of Coaching around the turn of the last century. The tradition was re-established in 1968 and is held once every three years. The building itself is worth a tour!

Scott
08-28-2016, 12:00 PM
Well, here is a photo of a dealership in Denison, TX. I don't know if they had Studebakers, but I suppose lots of Studebaker repositories must have looked something like this. I wonder what they did when someone wanted "that one...over there in the middle of the room"?
57809

sasquatch
08-28-2016, 05:29 PM
My thinking is, that motorized vehicles swept the world like few other technological developments. I recall in the early 1950's, visiting farms with discarded wagons, shoved down deep gullies, or rotting away in weeds. Back in the days (especially in rural areas) there were no trash collectors, or public landfills. It was not unusual, down an out of the way place, to find improvised dumps. There among discarded stuff like tin cans, household trash, you would see obsolete disposed wind up victrolas, pump organs, broken ceramic butter churns, and discarded mule drawn farm implements. I recall one such trash pile, where an old farm wagon had been loaded with all kind of obsolete stuff (we would call antiques today) and pushed into a gully to rot into the earth.

John, I recall back in the mid 50's our town had a free trash collection day once a year. People would put all kinds of GOOD (old) stuff on the curb for pickup, a lot of it still good/working. I would go around before the trucks picked it up and hi-grade the stuff that caught my eye. Got a Maytag washing machine gas engine, a wall mounted cast iron coffee grinder, a 1932 Silver-Marshall short wave floor model radio and lots of other neat stuff. I still have the coffee grinder and the radio. Antiques on the curb, free!

jclary
08-28-2016, 05:57 PM
John, I recall back in the mid 50's our town had a free trash collection day once a year. People would put all kinds of GOOD (old) stuff on the curb for pickup, a lot of it still good/working. I would go around before the trucks picked it up and hi-grade the stuff that caught my eye. Got a Maytag washing machine gas engine, a wall mounted cast iron coffee grinder, a 1932 Silver-Marshall short wave floor model radio and lots of other neat stuff. I still have the coffee grinder and the radio. Antiques on the curb, free!

Funny thing...a while back, I was in Hobby Lobby with a friend. That place is loaded with plaster reproduction of all kinds of vintage products. I pointed out, to my friend, that it looks like someone raided those old dumps, of our childhood... shipped it off to China, to be reproduced in plaster and sold back to the United States. Just imagine...billions of trash reproductions are hanging on the walls of expensive new homes all across America...and we call it "Interior Decoration.":confused::rolleyes::lol:

studegary
08-28-2016, 08:14 PM
Here's an interesting tidbit for you John, one operates an automobile and Drives a horse. One really doesn't go driving in a car, they go motoring. The British were much better at their language than we are here in the U.S. The reason it is called Driving a horse is because one sits behind the animal and literally drives them away from oneself continually. In doing so, the horse (or other beast of burden), which is harnessed into the vehicle where the driver sits, pulls the vehicle forward. around.

I always thought that even though the horse is in front, it is pushing to propel the vehicle, not pulling. The horse or other animal has a harness or yoke that it pushes against in order to propel the vehicle forward.

studeclunker
08-28-2016, 11:52 PM
Oxen have a yoke, horses have a collar (breast or full) and harness. Technically speaking you are quite correct. However you must first drive the animal forward into the collar (and his bit). The animal pushes into his collar and the Hames (metal bars formed to the full collar) buckled onto the collar or the breast collar have long straps attached to them. These straps are called traces and they are what draws the vehicle behind the horse or mule. Involved in this are several parts attached to the vehicle called a pole (for a pair) or a set of shafts (for single). The rest of the harness has to do with supporting the shafts or pole, and steering or stopping the vehicle with them. Nonetheless, the way it works is much like an automobile towing a trailer. Only you are sitting in the trailer, not the motive unit. Studebaker made some of the finest harness available on the market. Certainly, they had the largest selection available nationwide.

Horse drawn vehicles disappeared from this country quickly for two reasons. One was the Tin Lizzie. Ford was able to sell these for very little more than a horse and buggy. The Tin Lizzie didn't need the maintenance of a horse. Didn't need the shelter, didn't get sick, and didn't eat when not working. The second and arguably more important reason was WWI. Most of the horses went to Europe for the war effort. Literally millions of horses died in that war. It's something that leaves any horse-lover sick at heart to even think about. Hence, the automobile and tractor quickly took over in this country and Europe after the Great War. Dozens of horse breeds vanished after the war. A number of draft, dray, and farm horse breeds were completely wiped out. Many specialized breeds of horses continue to disappear. For instance, the last of the Yorkshire Coach Horses passed on in the fifties. My own favourite breed, the Hackney Horse, is fading. Other breeds, like the Morgan for instance, are doing very well. We shall see how things go for them in the future.

As to the antique Studebaker carriages and wagons still extant, They are highly sought after by both collectors and drivers of Carriages. I know of a family in Indiana that has quite a collection of Studebaker carriages and wagons, along with other brands. I'd love to have one. For now, I'll have to be satisfied with my Morgan and the McLaughlin (predecessor to Chevrolet).

Scott
08-29-2016, 12:31 AM
Well, this brings up a question. Is there always a category at international meets for horse drawn vehicles? I think I may have seen a very few photos in meet TW issues. but I sure don't remember any significant presence - ever.​ What is SDC's outreach to that community?

Mikado282
08-29-2016, 01:21 AM
Studeclunker, my dad had a horse during the mid 30's-early 40's. He said it was a Hambiltonian(not sure of exact spelling). He signed up for the Marine Corps Dec 8, 1941. The horse and his Model A Ford got left behind with his parents. Both were sold during the course of WWII while he was in the South Pacific until 1945. From what he said he regretted selling the horse a lot more than the car although the horse was an older horse. Have you ever heard of this breed of horse? Do you have any info on this breed of horse? He said something about them being related to Morgans. Thank you.

studeclunker
08-29-2016, 11:42 AM
Hambletonian is the founding sire of the Standardbred. They're the horses you see pulling those light carts in Harness Racing. His name was also borrowed for the Hambletonian society which was created to honour him with a special race every year. So if he had a "Hambletonian horse," the fellow likely had a Standardbred trotter. It is also likely that he was able to keep up with the cars in his buggy (in those days anyway) with that horse. Another influential trotting horse in the Standardbred's background is Ethan Allen (a Morgan grandson of Figure). He's the fellow you see trotting flat out on the weathervanes above every barn on the east coast.

It's interesting that Americans are far more practical when it came to horses, than Europeans. Our grandcestors wanted FAST! Hence, the Standardbred was a popular horse in this country. Not much has changed. Americans still love speed more than common sense.

Commander Eddie
08-29-2016, 12:16 PM
Well, here is a photo of a dealership in Denison, TX. I don't know if they had Studebakers, but I suppose lots of Studebaker repositories must have looked something like this. I wonder what they did when someone wanted "that one...over there in the middle of the room"?
57809

Gosh! I see they have a flat screen TV on the wall on the left side of this photograph. :ohmy:

studegary
08-29-2016, 01:52 PM
I seem to remember that the Habletonian race was run in Goshen, Orange County, NY.

I had to laugh when I read; "...the way it [horse with wagon] works is much like an automobile towing a trailer." I could picture the wagon hitched to the horse's tail.

studeclunker
08-30-2016, 12:07 AM
Gosh! I see they have a flat screen TV on the wall on the left side of this photograph. :ohmy:

​that's called a painting or lithograph Eddie. They don't move and don't run on electricity.

Scott
08-30-2016, 10:01 AM
Did Studebaker put serial numbers on its horse drawn vehicles? I find it hard to believe that the idea suddenly occurred to them when they started building cars. Serial numbers were used in other manufacturing (like pianos) from at least the early to mid 1800s.

studeclunker
08-30-2016, 04:24 PM
No Scott, they didn't, that I know of. There were several small brass tags in two locations, neither of which had a unique number and that on only some of the vehicles. Horse drawn vehicles generally weren't registered like automobiles are today. Some cities and counties issued tags and the owner had the responsibility of attaching them in the appropriate place. That was rare though.

Scott
08-30-2016, 05:15 PM
Brewster & Co. put serial numbers on their vehicles. I've read that sometimes serial numbers are on the wood under the seat if not on an axle or other metal part. But I understand Brewster was a world apart from most makers.