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1848 Brewster Buggy - Vanderbilt Family


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Our Brewster buggy has the Vanderbilt family colors. I am continuing to research through an Amish group that restored this carriage to original condition with a very few minor upgrades in the harness.

Our oldest drop top, 1848 Brewster Victoria, Park Model -two horsepower (if it had two horses!) Made for the Vanderbilt family. This was a very powerful buggy. Usual carriages were pulled by only one horse.

 

Vanderbilt family color maroon and black (fenders) with muted orange pinstriping. You could ONLY have that color if you were a Vanderbilt.

The major families had their own distinctive colors. J.P. Morgan had bottle green and John Jacob Astor had light blue.


The Brewster Company was honored in 1878 Paris Exposition Brewster & Co. won the Gold Medal for the best exhibit and a number of the firm’s craftsmen won distinguished awards of excellence as well. Marshall Macmahon, the President of France, personally awarded Henry the coveted Chevalier of the Legion of Honor. Brewster & Co. was now able to proclaim that it stood alone as “the finest manufacturer of carriages in the world”. Brewster & Company would receive many more honors at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
http://www.coachbuilt.com/bui/b/brewster/brewster.htm

 

Brewster went on to make some of the finest automobiles in the world, including Rolls Royce and others.

Note our pictures of our 1934 Brewster car, being driven by my dear wife, Anne and followed up with a 1926 Stutz, (Not our car, but in Vanderbilt colors).

1 1848 Brewster.JPG

2 1848 .JPG

3 1848.JPG

4 1848.jpg

4 1934.JPG

5 1926.jpg

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Can anyone tell us what the range of these 2 h.p. carriages was ? Assume no engine change en route , 4-5 folk aboard , good roads for the times over level terrain in good weather. The reason I ask is that I enjoy trying to understand the state of mind of the original owner of my mid '20s Cadillacs. Figure a guy my/your age who treated himself to a good car when the '20s roared. The owner of the new car would have been born before the Civil War ; might have even fought it ! The guy my age would have been born when Bill and Anne's carriage was brand new. Hoss drawn boy , hoss drawn most of his life. The man after a financially successful career , is now an owner/driver of the reliable 40 mph quality cars of the era. I expect he could travel farther in one hour than 2 steeds could have dragged his family all day ? Throw in rolling , hilly roads , the car might go 2 or three times the distance in an hour than the vastly less powerful rides could go all day. Some grades might require the passengers to disembark. We all have seen pictures of people having to put shoulder to wagon to help crest the hill. But , as I say , let's just assume the best level roads of the day. Of course the ponies had to be paced so as not to be exhausted for a long range jaunt of 10 hours duration. To get max range from a brace of nags , they would not be sprinters. The animals would not be expected to return until properly rested. The comfortable Nickel Era car would benefit from lubrication somewhere for the return , or perhaps on an every/every other day basis if it was going Coast to Coast over the new Lincoln Highway. Now , if the elderly gent was in as bad condition as I am , he would have to linger at points along the way. Or , if time were an issue , take the steam train.Trains were very fast in the '20s. Staffed by George Pullman Porters. Some of these tough gentlemen were also born before the Civil War. In the later '20s , thanks to the newly formed Brotherhood' , movin' on up with another amazing life story to tell. Able to pass on a better life to their children , who would be able to buy Cadillacs of their own. American history. Great stuff ! 

 

My guess is about 20 miles in a long day. More ? How beat would the horses and passengers be after such a trip ?     -  Carl 

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My guess is about 20 miles in a long day. More ?

How beat would the horses and passengers be after such a trip ?     -  Carl 

 

I believe that you are correct on the distance a horse could go in a day.  My opinion would actually be closer to 25-30 miles in a day.

 

The reason would be if you look at the distance between small towns east of the Mississippi River on old maps, most towns were about 25 miles apart.  This is where the railroad would not be a factor in farmers going to town or where towns were started.  That made the longest distance from a farm to town about 12-15 miles.  This distance to town in the morning and the same distance in the afternoon back to the farm.  Times two would be 25-30 miles for a total for both ways.

 

West of the Mississippi River the railroad had a much larger influence in where towns were placed.

Edited by Larry Schramm (see edit history)
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Person on foot about 30 miles in a day.

Normal man on a normal horse about 30 miles a day.

Mounted Cavalry Soldiers 50 to 60 miles a day with a fit horse.

Wagon with 2 horses 10 to 20 miles a day depending on conditions.

Carriage with 2 horses about 45 miles per day.

Stage Coach with 4 to 6 horses would cover 50 to 60 miles a day over a designated route.

Keep in mind it is best to rest the horses every 2 hours or so.

59cc4e58ec3e8.image.jpg

Wells_Fargo.jpg

CavalryUnit.jpg

DSCN2045.jpg

Edited by Brass is Best (see edit history)
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HI Bob ! Thanks for the perspective from the standpoint of heavy trucking 130 years ago. Interesting read ! That tandem trailer load would be about what a modern big rig might be hauling these days. 

 

And Bill , do you , or do you have plans to take your buggy out for a spin ? Is there some place or roads/trails where you actually could cruise it ?    - Carl 

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10 hours ago, C Carl said:

And Bill , do you , or do you have plans to take your buggy out for a spin ? Is there some place or roads/trails where you actually could cruise it ?    - Carl 

5

 

It might be interesting, but probably not. Not a fan of horses and don't have the harness but do have the tree. So I have a seriously old horseless carriage. I have joined the Carriage Club of America (CCA not to be confused with AACA) and I am waiting for more info.

 

We live about one mile from Stone Mountain Park. It has a lot of roads at 25MPH (Patrolled) so a perfect ride for our old clunkers. It does have over 15 miles of hiking trails including one mile to the top of Stone Mountain when you are ready to climb 1600 feet of granite. There is a Skylift for us curmudgeons. 

 

Our Brewster was normally the transport of the seriously wealthy, probably not for back roads. It was called a "Park Model" under other names and was used to take the rich around New York city and parks. Maybe they had some small reins attached to the horses' testicles when they needed an extra burst of speed.

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12 minutes ago, CatBird said:

 

"Maybe they had some small reins attached ............................................... "

 

You mean sort of like a shot of "Nitro" ?  ?   Yeah , I can see that. On the other hand such steeds might have been "amputees" , the more to make them docile and subservient !  ?.   - CC 

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3 hours ago, C Carl said:

 

You mean sort of like a shot of "Nitro" ?  ?   Yeah , I can see that. On the other hand such steeds might have been "amputees" , the more to make them docile and subservient !  ?.   - CC 

 

The Budweiser Clydesdales on the Hitch Team are all geldings. For exactly that reason.

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16 hours ago, 1937hd45 said:

Ever notice carriages at local fairs have been upgraded to disk brakes? I've always thought that was odd since disk brakes on a pre WWII automobile will send some observers in to fits. Bob 

 

But with an Automobile the power plant doesn't have a mind of its own. Maybe the disc brakes help tell a horse to whoa.

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"I have joined the Carriage Club of America (CCA not to be confused with AACA) and I am waiting for more info." Quote myself

 

Unfortunately, CCA does not have Brewster records before 1888 where 5 digit serial numbers came into play. The best they can tell me that our Brewster Carriage is a very early model since it has serial number 2320.

 

Still researching. Ours is titled at 1848. Could be earlier. If anyone knows better info, please let me know.

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2 hours ago, CatBird said:

"I have joined the Carriage Club of America (CCA not to be confused with AACA) and I am waiting for more info." Quote myself

 

Unfortunately, CCA does not have Brewster records before 1888 where 5 digit serial numbers came into play. The best they can tell me that our Brewster Carriage is a very early model since it has serial number 2320.

 

Still researching. Ours is titled at 1848. Could be earlier. If anyone knows better info, please let me know.

 

Your Brewster has whale oil lamps. You can tell whale oil lamps by the large round wick. These went out of style around the Civil War. So it has to be pre 1860.

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On 3/14/2018 at 9:44 AM, Brass is Best said:

 

Your Brewster has whale oil lamps. You can tell whale oil lamps by the large round wick. These went out of style around the Civil War. So it has to be pre 1860.

 

Thanks for the great info. I noticed the round wicks but did not know why. Hmmm, where can I get some round wicks and squeeze a few whales?

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On 3/14/2018 at 9:44 AM, Brass is Best said:

 

Your Brewster has whale oil lamps. You can tell whale oil lamps by the large round wick. These went out of style around the Civil War. So it has to be pre 1860.

1

 

Digging deeper into our Brewster Buggy and that it was restored by the Amish, I found a small album of pictures under the seat and located the son of the man who restored our "buggy." He has a family business in Ohio. Daniel Raber.  A&D Buggy Shop in Millersburg. He is restoring two Brewsters in his shop, among others.

 

I asked if he knew about Brewster cars and only received silence. Prompting me to do some research on the Amish Community. They still use horses for most transportation. Even in farming horses are used in many Amish communities since that driving a tractor is a short hop to driving cars. In addition to not using tractors because they do not drop manure, like horses and the belief that tractors compact the earth and hard earth is bad for seedlings.

Daniel was a delightful conversationalist and gave us a fascinating glimpse into his community. He gave me some tips where I can acquire the proper harness (ours is missing), we can get "fancy" (low tone as not "proper") or "plain" which would more fit our "Buggy."

I asked him what he had was restoring in his shop and he mentioned names "Victorias" and "Broughams" and he was referring to buggies, not cars!

 

Since he and his family had restored many buggies he was not sure which was ours until I described our lamps. He thinks he remembered ours and he said that most of the early Brewsters lamps were lit by candles though some did have whale oil lamps. I looked at our lamps and do not have reservoirs for oil. They do seem to be made for candles.
 

He suggested that I send him some pictures of our buggy and see if he can remember ours.

He said that Brewster was one of the greatest buggies in the world.

Though there are exceptions, an interesting community who are very close to the earth and enjoy a pure lifestyle. While some Amish use electricity live more simple lives. It is ok to have some lights in their buggies, but not in their homes. Anne and I would like to visit a community that lives, 'way back in time

Edited by CatBird (see edit history)
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3 hours ago, CatBird said:

 

Digging deeper into our Brewster Buggy and that it was restored by the Amish, I found a small album of pictures under the seat and located the son of the man who restored our "buggy." He has a family business in Ohio. Daniel Raber.  A&D Buggy Shop in Millersburg. He is restoring two Brewsters in his shop, among others.

 

I asked if he knew about Brewster cars and only received silence. Prompting me to do some research on the Amish Community. They still use horses for most transportation. Even in farming horses are used in many Amish communities since that driving a tractor is a short hop to driving cars. In addition to not using tractors because they do not drop manure, like horses and the belief that tractors compact the earth and hard earth is bad for seedlings.

Daniel was a delightful conversationalist and gave us a fascinating glimpse into his community. He gave me some tips where I can acquire the proper harness (ours is missing), we can get "fancy" (low tone as not "proper") or "plain" which would more fit our "Buggy."

I asked him what he had was restoring in his shop and he mentioned names "Victorias" and "Broughams" and he was referring to buggies, not cars!

 

Since he and his family had restored many buggies he was not sure which was ours until I described our lamps. He thinks he remembered ours and he said that most of the early Brewsters lamps were lit by candles though some did have whale oil lamps. I looked at our lamps and do not have reservoirs for oil. They do seem to be made for candles.
 

He suggested that I send him some pictures of our buggy and see if he can remember ours.

He said that Brewster was one of the greatest buggies in the world.

Though there are exceptions, an interesting community who are very close to the earth and enjoy a pure lifestyle. While some Amish use electricity live more simple lives. It is ok to have some lights in their buggies, but not in their homes. Anne and I would like to visit a community that lives, 'way back in time

 

Wow candle lamps. That is very early. You have a great piece of history.

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2 hours ago, Brass is Best said:

 

Wow candle lamps. That is very early. You have a great piece of history.

 

It is really exciting! Brewster began making carriages in 1810 and our serial number is 2310. Not sure what that means, but it is early.

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Between 1911 and 1913 the FDNY phased out horse drawn apparatus and replaced the horses with motors.

 

Here is a story about it: http://hatchingcatnyc.com/2015/02/01/upstate-farm-for-retired-fdny-horses/

 

 

engine39lastrun.jpg

 

The photo is of Engine FDNY Engine 39 in 1911. Here is Engine 39 today:

 

Edited by Brass is Best (see edit history)
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