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Hansom

Object Name: Hansom cab
Date: ca. 1895-1902
Related People:
Medium: Wood, iron and other metals, glass, mirror glass, leather, textiles, and paint
Dimensions: Overall: 8 ft. × 6 ft. 5 in. × 13 ft. 5 in. (243.8 cm × 195.6 cm × 4 m 8.9 cm)
Place made: North America, United States
Description: Body painted black, running gear yellow with black striping; trim, black morocco; wheels with wooden hubs, two-piece rims, rubber tires, Collinge's axles; two side and one cross spring. Accessories: square kerosene lamps, set of harness.
Credit Line: Gift of John Campbell
Object Number: 1945.146
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Marks: Hub stamped "Burr & Co. Broadway 254th St. New York"; Harness stamped "M & M" [Martin & Martin, N.Y.C.]. Manufacturer's serial number, probably "23068," stamped under seat.
Inscribed: None

Gallery Label:

The hansom cab was patented in 1834 by Joseph Hansom, an architect in York, England. They were used in New York from 1890 to 1910 as a public or private conveyances. Pulled by a single horse, the cabs held a single passenger protected by a high hood, which separated the driver. The Society’s Hansom, was used on the Cochrane Estate, Strawberry Hill, Stamford, Conn., from 1895 to 1902.

Hansoms did not become popular until the form was redesigned in 1873 by a coach-builder named Forder. It was particularly desirable for town use because of its high driver’s seat, which provided a good view of the traffic. Being short and on two wheels, it was highly maneuverable. Used in New York from 1890 to 1910, with the Brougham, Hansoms performed the services of today's taxicabs. Driver usually wore a black felt top hat and light-colored box coat.

Exhibitions:

Carriage Gallery, New-York Historical Society, 1945–1977.