Buckeye Buggy Co.


Continuing on from yesterday’s post, we have two variations on what the Buckeye Buggy Co. called a “Duquisa,” one with the driver’s seat [boot] and one without. The Carriage Terminology book doesn’t list Duquisas per se, but it does say that Duquesas were a type of Phaeton, somewhat resembling a Victoria.

As we learned yesterday, Victorias belong to the Cabriolet family of vehicles, based on their body shape.

Here’s what Mr. Berkebile said about Victorias specifically:

“This carriage is believed to have had its beginnings in England, in both the George IV Phaeton, a variation of which was built for Queen Victoria in 1850, and in the Cab Phaeton. Some of the designs of these carriages migrated to the Continent, where, being more favorably received than in England, they resulted in the vehicle known as the Milord. First used as an aristocratic pleasure carriage, the Milord soon degenerated into a public hack, and after 1850 lost favor among the gentry. The term Victoria was applied by the French to some of these carriages at least as early as 1844, in honor of the English Queen. In 1869, the Victoria returned to England when the Prince of Wales imported one from Paris, and Baron Rothschild imported one from Vienna, following which it gained an immense popularity among both the English and American aristocracy.

“Adaptable for use with either one or two horses, the Victoria has but one seat-board, and a curving dash that is reminiscent of the George IV Phaeton, with the driver’s seat being supported by an iron framework over the dash. Occasionally, a rumble was added. A variation of the Victoria is the panel-boot Victoria, sometimes called a Cabriolet. The forward portion of the body differs from the true Victoria in having a paneled driver’s seat, framed to the body proper, with a straight, conventional dash standing in front of the seat. Many have a child’s seat that folds out of the rear of the panel-boot. Suspension of both these vehicles may be on four elliptics, elliptics and platform springs, C-springs, or double suspension.

“The Victoria was mainly a park carriage in England and the United States, and was more stately in form than the Cabriolet. In Europe, the driver’s seat was sometimes removed from the Victoria, and the carriage was driven with postilions.”

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The first of our Buckeye Buggy Co. Duquisas / Victorias has the driver’s seat attached:

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… And the second example has the driver’s seat removed. According to Mr. Berkebile, this may have meant the carriage would be driven postilion. Even though her carriage, as shown, has no coachman’s seat and no rumble-seat for a groom, I’m not sure that the lady in this illustration would’ve actually been out driving in the park with just her dogs to accompany her, but who knows …

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For our final look at the Gray-Parker illustrations in the 1891 Buckeye Buggy Co. catalog, we have three variations on a theme.

First, for today, a Cabriolet:

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Don Berkebile, in his exhaustive Carriage Terminology book, had this to say:

“CABRIOLET — (Derivation: French, cabriolet, through the Italian, capriolo, kid, from the Latin capreolus, diminutive of caper, goat.) A name originally applied to a two-wheel vehicle used in France and Italy during the late seventeenth century, so named because of the capering or goat-like motion given to the vehicle by its long, springing shafts. The body, resembling an exaggerated comma or nautilus shell, was a relic of the cut-down coach body, thus relating the Cabriolet to the coach family. The Cabriolet eventually borrowed an additional characteristic from the coach in the manner of suspension, being hung from whip springs and C-springs. Popular at first among men of fortune, the Cabriolet came into common use in Paris as a public hack during the late eighteenth century. Shortly thereafter, it was introduced into London where, early in the nineteenth century, it was again put into limited service as a public carriage, and thus was the ancestral form of the two-wheel public cabs.

“At about the same time, an English coach builder combined the two-wheel Cabriolet with the Perch-high Phaeton to produce a four-wheel vehicle known as the Cabriolet Phaeton. Later the vehicle came to the United States, where the word Phaeton was soon dropped from the name, leaving only the word Cabriolet, though the term now referred to a four-wheel vehicle.

“On the Continent, the four-wheel Cabriolet was lifted to the dignity of a royal equipage. It was then driven with postilions, which necessitated the removal of the driver’s seat, and at the same time were added an ornate leather dash in front and a rumble seat for the groom behind. The French named this carriage the Victoria, in honor of Queen Victoria of England, probably about mid-century. Later, without altering the vehicle, a skeleton boot [driver’s seat] supported by iron stays was added above and in front of the dash. Thus the social significance in the skeleton boot of the Victoria, as compared to the paneled boot of the Cabriolet, is obvious. It should be remembered, however, that the Victoria properly belongs to the Cabriolet group, the latter name being applicable to carriages solely because of the resemblance of their bodies to the body of the original two-wheel Cabriolet.

“In its final form the Cabriolet is a low, four-wheel, four-passenger (including driver) hooded vehicle without doors. Either one or two horses might be used, depending on the size of the carriage. The rear portion is made with a deep quarter, and the driver’s seat is on an elevated, paneled boot. Some carriage manufacturers applied the term Cabriolet if there was only a slight elevation to the driver’s seat, while they used the term panel-boot Victoria if there was a greater elevation of the driver’s seat. The top is generally over the back seat only, but some later types have extension tops that cover the front portion as well. The body usually is suspended on elliptic springs in front and platfrom springs in the rear, although in some instances elliptics were used in both front and rear.

“The terms Cabriolet, Cabriolet Phaeton, Cab Phaeton, Victoria, Duc, and Milord are often so loosely used as to be nearly synonymous.”

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Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at two variations on a Victoria …

Continuing with our look through the Buckeye Buggy Co. catalog, here, first, is a Brougham with full platform springs …

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… followed by an Extension-front Brougham …

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In looking through our recently donated 1891 catalog from the Buckeye Buggy Co., we find this description of the factory:

“We have 3.5 acres of the finest factory buildings in Ohio, situated on High Street (our principal business thoroughfare), immediately north of the Union Depot. We have the best arranged carriage-making plant in the country, being constructed from the ground up for a MODEL carriage factory. Each department is in a separate building, and arranged with the greatest convenience and economy for carrying on the carriage business. As we have twice built carriage factories from the ground up, we were competent to know what was necessary, and such plan was better than the usual way of adding from year to year, and placing new building where they could be and not where they should be, convenience not being considered. Our factory consists of six separate buildings, all brick but one, giving us many acres of floor space. We can finish each day thirty vehicles, and can load three [railroad] cars at once direct from our packing room. We show 150 vehicles in our repository on one floor alone. Our buildings now all being separate, we do not expect that any fire can materially damage and delay our business to any extent.”

The company’s factory and repository were in this location from 1882 until 1910.

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Here, a light Curtain Rockaway for one horse …

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The Buckeye Buggy Co. catalog has more illustrations by Gray-Parker but, as is more usual than we saw in the Studebaker catalog, these are all in black and white.

On the first page of the Buckeye catalog, we read: “We are the only firm in Columbus that can and do make (and are not compelled to purchase elsewhere to supply our trade) a fine line of Heavy Work — closed carriages, Rockaways, platform Victorias, Cabriolets, Duquisas, Kensingtons, Premiers, etc., and, compared with this, as every one knows, the making of an ordinary line of fine Light Work is simple and easy.”

Here’s is Mr. Gray-Parker’s illustration of a Buckeye Buggy Co. Coupe Rockaway …

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… and the “cut” (the descriptive catalog drawing) of the same vehicle.

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We recently received a donation of books and old carriage catalogs for the CAA’s library (thank you, Charlie!), which included the 1891 catalog of fine vehicles from the Buckeye Buggy Company (“Arbiters of Fashions”) of Columbus, Ohio.

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Here is one of the firm’s vehicles (number 11.5), a “Wing Dash, Canopy Phaeton” …

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The catalog description of this carriage notes that it has “all the latest swells, curves, and sweeps.” It was available for $260.

I’ll have more on this catalog, including more Gray-Parker illustrations, over the next few days.