Antique Carriage, What Do You Think? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 12-03-2011, 03:32 PM Thread Starter
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Antique Carriage, What Do You Think?

My father just bought this carriage that is slightly battered and definately a fixer-upper. We do plan on restoring it, but before that we sort of wanted to know what it might have been used for. We did not spend a fortune on it so we won't be too heartbroken if it isn't something special. It looks cool, and if it can't withstand a few uses it will either be sold or retired to be a barn decoration. Sorry it is a bad picture, I took it with my phone.

Here is a little bit about it that I can tell that may or may not be obvious.

~It is a one horse carriage.
~It has springs under the seat
~There is one step to get up to the seat.
~The seat is stuffed with some type of loosely curled fiber. (Reminds me of that fake grass you put in easter baskets.)
~The spokes were made out of wood aswell as what it connects to, then the outside that touches the ground wrapped with metal.
~The axels are made out of metal.

If anyone knows I would love to know what year this could be from or what it was used for. Just would love to see what people think.
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post #2 of 13 Old 12-03-2011, 08:23 PM
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Looks a bit similar to this thing?
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post #3 of 13 Old 12-03-2011, 08:39 PM
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I think this type of buggy/carriage is called a runabout. There's a refinished one on ebay priced at $2000 so I would think yours might be worth some money.

The steel-covered wheels are a trademark of Amish wheelwrights; around here the Amish community's vehicles aren't allowed to have rubber wheels.
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post #4 of 13 Old 12-04-2011, 08:37 PM
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I'm thinking it may have been a Sunday go to church rig. No room for groceries or building materials or even kids. A doctor's carriage always had a foldup roof. As previously mentioned - a run about.
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post #5 of 13 Old 12-06-2011, 04:36 PM
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I would agree, runabout would be the correct name. Light, inexpensive when horses were driven.

Steel wheels then were the norm, got lots more miles on them than rubber.

PLEASE do not hitch this to a horse without having the wheels checked by a wheelwright for soundness. They can tell if wood is really solid and dependable. Have the shafts checked over as well, easy to get brittle or rotten under any covering on them, so the break with any stress.

Mark each wheel nut amd wheel to the place it came off, if you remove wheels for checking. Nuts are right handed on one side, left handed on the other side. Wheels will have worn the axles to fit ONLY that wheel, unless they have roller bearings inside. Axles will probably need greasing and new leather washers put on before taking buggy out for a ride.

Sorry to say that runabouts are pretty common in the USA. Locally you can get pretty nice, usable ones for $1200 or less. Decoration ones go very cheap, but wheels are bad, so they are hard to move. Any carriage will not last very long if left outside in the weather. They are made of many small, light pieces of wood that warp and swell when left wet. Buggies are an amazing design product, but not good as decorations. Most last outside less than a year before falling apart.

The second carriage is no where close to being a runabout. More expensive to begin with, has all the "desirable options" for fancy carriages with 5th wheel cut under for turning, groom seat behind, independent shafts, lamps, patent dash and fenders. Looks modern, not an antique. That will cost what several runabouts will bring, together! Lovely vehicle.

Make sure your runabout is safe to use FIRST. Old wood is tricky, can break easily. Parts are not hard to find to replace worn items so you can use it. Do enjoy it as a real carriage. There were MANY of these made, they are not rare. Just don't expect to make lots on resale unless you discover a rare maker's tag while cleaning it up. Most of these could have the folding tops added, they had holes and brackets ready to use on them. Folding tops were their "optional equipment" when purchased.
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post #6 of 13 Old 12-06-2011, 06:04 PM Thread Starter
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We definately would not hook anything up it in the condition it is right now. Thanks everyone for the feedback
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post #7 of 13 Old 12-14-2011, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Shiavo View Post
Looks a bit similar to this thing?
This is a spider phaeton. Not even close to the run about. It is designed for the more affluent person who could afford to have a groom.The spider is more sporty while the other is more utilitarian. This one should have a full turn gear for tight turns while the other is considered a country vehicle for going straight down the road. The Phaeton's run about 8K and up while the other is inexpensive.

Last edited by churumbeque; 12-14-2011 at 02:52 PM.
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post #8 of 13 Old 12-31-2011, 06:18 AM
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Another old trick is to put the wheels in water overnight and they will swell and tighten any loose spokes
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post #9 of 13 Old 12-31-2011, 06:30 AM
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^that would also make the wooden spokes rot out so I don't see how that would be affective.
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post #10 of 13 Old 12-31-2011, 06:32 AM
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Just an old pioneer trick
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