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Horse-drawn Carriage, Buggy, Cart, Sulky

Horse-drawn vehicle

Horse-drawn vehicles were once common worldwide, but they have mostly been replaced by automobiles and other forms of self-propelled transport.

A two-wheeled horse-drawn vehicle is a cart.  A four-wheeled vehicle can have many names – one for heavy loads is most commonly called a wagon.

Very light carts and wagons can also be pulled by donkeys, which are much smaller than horses, ponies or mules. Other smaller animals are occasionally used, such as large dogs, llamas and goats.

Heavy wagons, carts and agricultural implements can also be pulled by other large draught animals such as oxen, water buffalo, or even camels and elephants.

Vehicles pulled by one animal, or by animals in tandem single file.  They have two shafts which attach either side of the rearmost animal which is the wheel animal or wheeler. Vehicles pulled by a pair, or by a team of several pairs, have a pole which attaches between the wheel pair. Other arrangements are also possible, for example three or more abreast, or a wheel pair with a single lead animal. Very heavy loads sometimes had an additional team behind to slow the vehicle down steep hills.

Two-wheeled vehicles are balanced by the weight of the animal, and so the shafts (or sometimes pole) are fixed to the vehicle's body. The shafts or pole of four-wheeled vehicles are hinged vertically, allowing them to rise and fall with the movement of the animals, and they are attached to the front axle so the animals steer the vehicle round corners.


Ambulance: Much the same purpose as the modern sense. Details of the design varied but would be a lightly-built and well-sprung, enclosed vehicle with provision for seated casualties and stretchers.

Barouche: An elegant, high-slung, open carriage with a seat in the rear of the body and a raised bench at the front for the driver, a servant.


Buggy: A light, open, four-wheeled carriage, often driven by its owner. It is an American design.

Cab: A shortening of cabriolet. Joseph Hansom based the design of his public hire vehicle on the cabriolet so the name cab stuck to vehicles for public hire.

Calash or Calèshe
Cape cart
Carriage: In the late eighteenth century, roughly equivalent to the modern word vehicle. It later came to be restricted to passenger vehicle, and even to private, enclosed passenger vehicle.
Covered wagon: The name given to canvas-topped farm wagons used by North American settlers to move both their families and household goods westward. Also called Conestoga wagon and prairie schooner.


Diligence: A French stagecoach. The 19th century ones came in three sizes, La petite diligence, La grande diligence and L'impériale.
Dog cart: A sprung cart used for transporting a gentleman, his loader, and his gun dogs.

Governess cart: A sprung cart with two inward-facing benches, high sides and entry at the back. The upper part of the body was often of wicker.

Hackney carriage

Hansom cab: A one-horsed, two-wheeled, maneuverable public hire vehicle.



Jaunting car: A sprung cart in which passengers sat back to back with their feet outboard of the wheels. An Irish design.

Kid hack: A van used in the US for carrying children to and from school.

Meadowbrook (carriage)
One-horse carriage

Outside car: jaunting car.
Phaeton: An early nineteenth century sports car.
Post chaise

Ralli car: a light two wheeled sprung cart (gig) with two forward-facing and two rear-facing seats back-to-back, and a sliding fore-and-aft seat adjustment to allow the vehicle to balance with different numbers of passengers.


Sleigh: a vehicle with runners for use in snow (or when delivering children's presents).

Spider phaeton

Sprung cart: A light, two-wheeled vehicle with springing, for informal passenger use. Its name varied according to the body mounted on it. See dog cart, gig, governess cart, jaunting car, and trap.

Stagecoach: A public coach travelling in timetabled stages between stables which supply fresh horses.

Stanhope (carriage): A light, open, one-seated carriage: originally with two wheels, later also with four.

State Coach: A very grand coach used for royal state occasions. For example, Gold State Coach, Irish State Coach and Scottish State Coach.

Sulky: a very light two-wheeled cart for one person, especially used for harness racing.


Tarantass or Tarantas



Training cart or training trap: A simple sprung or unsprung two-person modern cart for training a harness horse on smooth roads. Often made of steel with motorcycle wheels, and sometimes with adjustable shafts for different-sized horses.

Trap: An open sprung cart. Often used in a general sense to cover any small passenger-carrying cart.

Troika: A sleigh drawn by three horses harnessed abreast. Occasionally, a similar wheeled vehicle.

Victoria: A one-horse carriage with a front-facing bench seat. The body was slung low, in front of the back axle. Driven by a servant.

Village cart

Wagonette: a four-wheeled vehicle for carrying people, usually with a forward-facing seat at the front and two rows of inward-facing seats behind.




Streetcar: Another US name for a horsecar.

Tram Another non-American name for a horsecar.


Fly boat: A canal boat which changed horses at stages and could therefore keep moving, care being taken to maximize its speed.


 A simple agricultural wagon with laths bowed over the wheels in the manner of mudguards, to keep bulky loads such as straw from contact with them. An Australian design.

Un-sprung cart: A simple two-wheeled vehicle for workaday use in carrying bulk loads. It was usually drawn by one horse.

Chasse-maree: A four-horse adaptation of the cart principle for the rapid delivery of fish to French markets.

Conestoga wagon: A large, curved-bottom wagon for carrying commercial or government freight. See covered wagon.

Dray: Particularly in Australia and New Zealand, an un-sprung cart. In Britain, even in the 18th century, the name came to be associated with brewers' deliveries so that the later vehicle that was more correctly called a trolley also came to be known as a brewer's dray. These are still seen at horse shows in Britain.

Also a sledge used for moving felled trees in the same way as the wheel. It could be used in woodland, apparently with or without snow, but was useful on frozen lakes and waterways.

Float: A light, two-wheeled domestic delivery vehicle with the centre of its axle cranked downward to allow low-loading and easy access to the goods. It was used particularly for milk delivery.

Lorry: A low-loading platform body with four small wheels mounted underneath it. The driver's seat was mounted on the headboard.

Mail coach: A stagecoach primarily for the carriage of mail, though also carrying passengers.

Mophrey: An un-sprung cart which could be extended forwards with the addition of front wheels. It was used by small farmers as and when dense or bulky loads were to be carried (muck-spreading and harvest). An eastern English design.

Pantechnicon van: Originally, a van used by The Pantechnicon for delivering goods to its customers.

Prairie schooner: The name given years later to the canvas-topped farm wagons used by North American settlers to move their families and capital goods westward.

Travois: A very simple sledge used for moving relatively small loads, consisting of a pair of shafts dragging on the ground.

Trolley: Like a lorry, but with slightly larger wheels and slightly higher deck. The driver's seat was mounted on the headboard.

Trolley and lift van: A standardized trolley and a lift van, a standardized box, designed to fit each other or any other of the same sort. The lift van was the direct counterpart of the modern container in the materials and size appropriate to its time.

Wagon: twenty mule team



Rubbish wagon or slab wagon or slate wagon: A small, four-wheeled truck used for carrying blocks of slate out of a quarry.

Dandy waggon: A special rail car on a gravity train used to transport the horse while coasting down a hill.


Broad boat: Used on the broad (14 feet) canals of Britain and towed from the tow path.

Flatboat: A canal boat of simple box-shaped design used on nineteenth century American waterways.

Horse-drawn boat: A general term relating to broad or narrow canal boats for passenger or freight carriage.

Narrowboat: Used on the narrow (7 feet) canals of Britain and towed from the tow path.

Slow boat: A canal boat which used only one team of horses which must stop each night to rest.

Agricultural and other implements:

Calliope or Fairground organ
Seed drill
War vehicles:

Gun carriage
Horse artillery
Scythed chariot


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