The history of the stagecoach in the US started in 1827 with Concord. It cost over $1,200 to $1,500. The stagecoaches were used to transport people as well as goods. Most of them weighed no less than 1,800 lbs.
The Abbot Downing Company
As stagecoaches gained popularity, its services began to spread throughout the States. The Abbot Downing Company created over 40 kinds of carriages. Their base was in New Hampshire. The company continued making carriages and wagons until 1919. At its height the company employed 300 people.
Stagecoach Facts and Figures
The seats were made of leather and each carriage was assigned a number. A look at the history of the stagecoach indicates it was known for its durability. The carriage had boots where luggage could be placed. There was also room at the top of the carriage where other items could be stored.
Each stagecoach could carry nine people. It had roll down curtains and three sets of seats inside. If filled to capacity, each individual had 15 inches of space. The carriage moved at an average of 8 mph. There were different types of rides available, with first class travel costing $7.
The stagecoach was also used to deliver mail and other goods. Even during the Civil War these carriages continued to ply their trade.
Stagecoaches around the World
The history of the stagecoach in Europe began earlier in Europe. The exact date is uncertain. However, depictions of stagecoaches were seen in English illustrations in the mid 1200s. However it was not invented and used until the 1500s in Britain. As it became popular, coaching inns spread throughout the continent. Stages and stations also emerged in the US.
There are reports that Shakespeare’s plays were conducted in inns like George Inn and Southwark. The Royal Mall stagecoach came out in 1784.
Demise of the Stagecoach
The end of the stagecoach came in the late 1890s and early 1900s. The emergence of the railway system and the automobile made it irrelevant. The emergence of the motor bus also spelled the end for the carriage.
In the history of the stagecoach, the motor bus had more to do with its demise than any other vehicle. Unlike carriages, there was little chance of being preyed upon by bandits. Carriages carrying money were often hijacked along the way. The lack of phone service made it extremely difficult to report these crimes.
Traveling in a Stagecoach
Traveling in a crowded carriage was difficult. There was also little to protect the passenger from the dirt and grime along the way. The inns provided little security and one could be attacked by robbers. It goes without saying that roads then were not well paved.
There were rules of conduct to be followed. If for some reason the passenger was asked to walk in some stages, they were expected to obey. Smoking in the leeward side was forbidden. You could drink but you had to share it with fellow passengers.
The final chapters in the history of the stagecoach were written a long time ago. But to many people, they still hold a certain charm.