Vehicles Found in France in the 1700 and 1800s: A-Z

Ambulance Volante (Flying Ambulance) developed by Larrey to quickly transport the wounded from the battlefield to field hospitals. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

There were a variety of vehicles found in France in the 1700 and 1800s. Here is the list A to Z.

Ambulance Volante – This translates to “flying ambulance” and was developed by a French battlefield surgeon named Dominque-Jean Larrey so that the wounded could be quickly transported from the battlefield to field hospitals. They were so named because of their speed (or ability to fly) when they carried the injured off the battlefield and to the rear where surgeons could more effectively deal with their wounds. The ambulance volante was manned with a trained crew and a horse-drawn wagon modeled after the “flying artillery.” Crews assigned to each ambulance included a doctor, quartermaster, non-commissioned officer, a drummer boy (who carried the bandages), and 24 infantrymen functioning as stretcher bearers. There had been a long-held tradition of waiting to collect the injured until after the battle ended, but after 1797, flying ambulances were always present with the army’s advance-guard and cared for the wounded on the battlefield. These ambulance volantes proved so effective and so serviceable to the critically wounded that they served as the forerunner to the modern military ambulance and triage system eventually adapted by armies throughout the world. Continue reading

Vehicle Titles, Origins, and Descriptions of the 1700 and 1800s, S-Z

vehicle titles, origins, and descriptions of the 1700 and 1800s
Sedan Chair with Painted Panels Attributed to Charles Antoine Coypel. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, there were a huge variety of vehicles. Because there were so many, it sometimes became confusing as to their names, where they originated from, and the differences between vehicles. Thus, to help people understand vehicle titles, origins, and descriptions of the 1700 and 1800s vehicles, here is a list from S to Z.

Savanilla Phaeton – This was the name given a variety of Phaetons used in Bangkok, Siam.
Sedan Cab – A type of Cab invented and patented by Chauncey Thomas of Boston, Massachusetts. It was so named because it resembled the outlines of the Sedan Chair. Sedan Chairs were first introduced in England in 1635 and soon became popular in London. The intention was to “interfere with the too-frequent use of coaches, to the hindrance of the carts and carriage employed in the necessary provision of the city and suburbs of London.” Continue reading

Vehicle Titles, Origins, and Descriptions of the 1700 and 1800s, L-R

vehicle titles, origins, and descriptions of the 1700 and 1800s
Landaulette From 1816. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, there were a huge variety of vehicles. Because there were so many, it sometimes became confusing as to their names, where they originated from, and the differences between vehicles. Thus, to help people understand titles, origins, and descriptions of vehicles from the 1700 and 1800s, here is a list from L to R.

Landau – It is believed that the name came from the German town Landau, in Bavaria, where it was supposedly first built. A description of the Landau in 1790 claims: Continue reading

Vehicle Titles, Origins, and Descriptions of the 1700 and 1800s, D-K

Vehicle Titles, Origins, and Descriptions of the 1700 and 1800s
The Diligence. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, there were a huge variety of vehicles. Because there were so many, it sometimes became confusing as to their names, where they originated from, and the differences between the vehicles. Thus, to help people understand titles, origins, and descriptions of vehicles from the 1700 and 1800s, here is a list from D to K. Continue reading

Vehicle Titles, Origins, and Descriptions of the 1700 and 1800s, A-C

vehicle titles, origins, and descriptions of the 1700 and 1800s
Kesterton’s “Amempton” Carriage. Public Domain.

During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, there were a huge variety of vehicles. Because there were so many, it sometimes became confusing as to their names, where the vehicles originated from, and the meaning of their titles. Thus, to help people understand titles, origins, and descriptions of vehicles from the 1700 and 1800s, here is a list from A to C. Continue reading

Laufmaschine, Nicknamed the Dandy Horse

Laufmaschine, nicknamed the dandy horse: Karl Drais
Karl Drais, Courtesy of Wikipedia

Karl Drais was a prolific German inventor who invented the Laufmaschine (“running machine”), nicknamed the dandy horse. Later, the Laufmaschine was called the velocipede, draisine (English), or draisienne (French). Drais’s first rode his horseless invention on 12 June 1817. The ride took over an hour, involved a distance of less than 5 miles, and began at Mannheim and ended at a coaching inn named Schwetzinger Relaishaus.

An account of the velocipede and its management was given by Drais and published in 1819. It is provided below (nearly verbatim) and begins with four points related to the machine’s properties: Continue reading

The 18th Century’s First Fatal Balloon Accident

First Ascension in a Free Balloon by Pilâtre de Rozier and the Marquis d'Arlandes, Courtesy of mheu.org
First Ascension in a Free Balloon by Pilâtre de Rozier and the Marquis d’Arlandes, Courtesy of mheu.org

The first air hot balloon of manned flight occurred in a balloon belonging to the Montgolfier brothers on 21 November 1783. This flight left from the garden of the Château de la Muette in the Bois de Boulogne with pilots, Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent d’Arlandes, and covered about 5½ miles in 25 minutes. It landed between windmills on the Butte-aux-Cailles.

Rozier decided to leave the ground again on 23 June 1784. This time he was accompanied by Joseph Proust, an actor and a French chemist. The June flight involved a modified version of the Montgolfier’s first balloon, and it was christened La Marie-Antoinette after the French Queen. The balloon took off in front of the King of France and King Gustav III of Sweden. It flew north at an altitude of approximately 1.8 miles and traveled over 32 miles in 45 minutes. The cold and turbulence forced the balloonists to descend just past Luzarches, which is near the Chantilly forest. However, the flight was still amazing because it set records for speed, altitude, and distance traveled. Continue reading

Robert Brothers and the First Balloon Flight of Over 100km

Robert brothers
September 1784 Flight Lifting Off From the Gardens of Tuileries, Courtesy of Bibliothèque nationale de France

The first flight of more than 100 km (about 63 miles) took place on Sunday, 19 September 1784. It was conducted by two brothers — Anne-Jean Robert and Nicolas-Louis Robert — known collectively as Les Frères Robert (Robert brothers). Their aerostatic experiment, as it was called, launched from the royal gardens of the Tuileries Palace. It was a widely acclaimed event and attended by thousands of spectators. One report about the event was published in the Derby Mercury on 30 September 1784 and titled, “Paris Intelligence. Areostation.” The article is provided below, almost verbatim.

The third aerostatic experiment of the brothers Robert, … was attended with complete success. Mons. Vallet, to whom the brothers committed the charge of filling the Globe, began the business on Saturday afternoon. He employed new apparatus, constructed on the most ingenious and simple principles; by means of which the balloon was amply filled in three hours. The operation would not have required more than an hour and a half, if the workmen had been accustomed to the new method. Continue reading

The Balloon Monster

Jacques Charles. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Jacques Charles and two engineering brothers — Anne-Jean Robert and Nicolas-Louis Robert — known collectively as Les Frères Robert (Robert brothers) were the first to fly a hydrogen balloon. “which, after many weeks of incessant labor and anxiety, was floated in the air and, after some successful essays in private, was deemed ready for public exhibition.” With everything readied, the day selected for the grand ascent was established for 27 August 1783, and the place selected was the Champs de Mars, a large public greenspace in Paris, France, located in the seventh arrondissement, between the Eiffel Tower to the northwest and the École Militaire to the southeast.

An enormous crowd of 31,000 people attended the event, including Benjamin Franklin. One eyewitness, a Monsieur de Feujas, recorded what happened. According to Feujas, the throngs of people were thick, with most people concentrated at the Hotel de l’Ecole Militaire. At five o’clock in the afternoon a cannon boom announced the balloon’s imminent ascent, and the enormous globe, freed from its bonds, rose with such velocity it amazed spectators and it reached “a height of 3123 feet in two minutes.”  It then encountered a cloud and disappeared. A few minutes later it reappeared at a higher height and then once again disappeared behind a cloud. The gazing multitude was ecstatic and a cry of success rent the air. But it was premature. Continue reading

French Diligence and Its Drivers

French diligence and its drivers
Thomas Rowlandson’s The Paris Diligence, Courtesy of Wikipedia

In the early 1800s, one gentleman decided to travel to France “to gratify the wish of [his] Father, who was desirous to know the real state of the people of France, and especially of the farmers and labourers.” French coaches and coachmen were different in several ways from English coaches and coachmen, and during his visit, the gentleman came upon a diligence (a form of public conveyance equivalent to the English stage coach). He described the French diligence and its drivers, as well as two outriders (escorts). His remarks follow: Continue reading