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JohnnyGottaKeyboard
02-19-2017, 02:55 PM
My mc and his servant need to get to a train station with a large trunk (the type that might or might not hold a body). A hansom wouldn't do. Were there larger transports for immediate hire (there isn't time to arrange a wagon, for instance)? And if so, what were they called?

I'm researching early 20th C transports on line, but everyone keeps raving about hansoms, which, are just too small.

Thanks!

Marlys
02-19-2017, 05:00 PM
I checked 1912 newspapers, and automobile taxis (with meters, even) were available. Cities had taxi stands near major hotels (and probably train stations), or if your characters have a phone they can call one. One ad mentions a 50 cent surcharge for a steamer trunk, so they were definitely big enough.

jclarkdawe
02-19-2017, 05:36 PM
Steamer trunks were very common in all classes of transportation.

It sounds like the train station is the destination, so I don't know where your characters are starting from. Any decent hotel could arrange a wagon in half an hour or less, if there wasn't one waiting around. If he's at home, it's a bit more of a problem. But think about how you'd get a cab if you didn't have a phone and you'll understand how to go about getting a wagon.

Drayage was much more important then now for most people. Most first class travelers would have needed several wagons if the entire family was traveling. Twenty or more steamer trunks was not uncommon. Business people also did a lot of traveling, especially salesmen. A couple of steamer trunks would not be unusual. Although many people might travel with only the clothes they were wearing, many men traveled with evening wear, day wear, maybe business wear, bed and sleep wear, and don't forget the hats.

One thing to realize is that horses are patient creatures. A horse for a dray would be hitched to the wagon in the morning and probably not unhitched until the evening. Standing around as the wagon is loaded and unloaded was a part of their life. Teamsters would wait at train stations and hotels for the next fare, just like cabbies wait now.

Jim Clark-Dawe

Marlys
02-19-2017, 05:57 PM
Adding: your character wouldn't need a home telephone to call for a taxi (or wagon, if you have a specific reason for wanting horse transportation). Public telephones were available, usually in booths. One New York newspaper ad says "Public Telephones are found at Railroad Terminals, Steamship Docks, Hotels, Restaurants, Seaside Resorts, Lobbies of the Large Buildings, on Limited Trains and Steamships; in Cigar Stores, Drug Stores, and other Retail Stores." Apartment buildings would advertise that they had a public telephone among their amenities.

jclarkdawe
02-19-2017, 07:02 PM
Up until World War I, horse drawn wagons would have been more common. Between World War I and II, we see the switch, but it was gradual and depended upon the city how fast it took place. That's why I went with horse power. Small trucks, roughly the size of a full-sized pickup now, were available.

Jim Clark-Dawe

Marlys
02-19-2017, 07:49 PM
It's true that location would matter. What town/city is this set in?

Tsu Dho Nimh
02-19-2017, 08:23 PM
Any livery stable - and there were stables scattered all over - would have light wagons for hire because people had to haul things.

Hotels had luggage hauling wagons on call for their guests, usually at a nearby livery stable.

The train station had a "station wagon" (yup) that was equipped for hauling passengers and their luggage to and from hotels.

snafu1056
02-20-2017, 08:37 AM
I'm pretty sure a task like this would be handled by an "expressman", a driver working for an express (you can find listings for expresses in any old business directory. There were lots of them in big cities). If you were going on a trip you would usually hire an express driver to transport both you and your luggage to the station/dock/etc. (anyone who has ever seen a western has seen Wells Fargo stagecoaches. Wells Fargo was one of the bigger national expresses). I'm assuming the cost varied, and some were more extravagant than others. I also believe some hotels had their own expresses, or partnerships with big expresses like Wells Fargo.

There were also "truckmen", but they were more like moving men, and hiring a truckman to move one trunk might be overkill. BTW, words like truck, van, and cab (also called a hack/hackney) were already in use before automobiles, so feel free to use them even in reference to wagons.

JohnnyGottaKeyboard
02-20-2017, 01:40 PM
Thanks for all the responses (I had the thread subscribed but never got any notices anyone had responded). The travel is in Providence RI and the trip is from home to Union Station. The year is 1912. The travelers are two men and the luggage is a large trunk and a large rucksack (the sort of bag most commonly associated with seamen). The trip is sudden/unscheduled.

I've discovered hints automobile taxis may have existed there at the time, but my mc is a bit of a luddite (for his day) and I thought he'd prefer a horse drawn conveyance. For expediency, I've described the cab as a hansom but I'm sure that's incorrect.

snafu1056
02-20-2017, 03:37 PM
Oh for sure, automobile taxis were in regular use by 1912, at least in New York (a smaller place like Rhode Island might've been a different story). In fact there were different types of cars in use. Aside from a standard taxi, there were also large open "touring cars" (http://audrainautomuseum.org/cars/1912-packard-model-30-7-passenger-touring-2/) that could fit seven people and were usually a little cheaper than regular taxis (not sure why. Maybe because they just looked more "touristy").

For trivia, the going rate for a NY hansom cab (youre not wrong, people used that term then) was 25 cents for the first mile and 15 cents for every additional mile. Prices varied though, and some companies charged a little more or a little less. And cab drivers were notorious for swindling people.

Marlys
02-20-2017, 05:39 PM
Thanks for all the responses (I had the thread subscribed but never got any notices anyone had responded). The travel is in Providence RI and the trip is from home to Union Station. The year is 1912. The travelers are two men and the luggage is a large trunk and a large rucksack (the sort of bag most commonly associated with seamen). The trip is sudden/unscheduled.

I've discovered hints automobile taxis may have existed there at the time, but my mc is a bit of a luddite (for his day) and I thought he'd prefer a horse drawn conveyance. For expediency, I've described the cab as a hansom but I'm sure that's incorrect.

You're in luck. Google News Archive has 285 issues of the Providence Evening News (https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=0q7iQwrhYWUC&hl=en) online from the year 1912. Go to the link, put 1912 in the date box, and spend a few hours (or days) browsing for ads and news item mentions for the types of transportation Providence had then.

Sunday papers were usually stuffed with advertisements, so check out the Sunday Tribune (https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=kuAnG0LXj_AC&dat=19120908&b_mode=2&hl=en), too (Evening Tribune is mixed in, so look for 'Sunday' on the masthead). They only have a couple of months from 1912, but it should be helpful.

More Rhode Island newspaper links here. (http://www.theancestorhunt.com/blog/rhode-island-online-historical-newspapers-summary#.WKrmUFUrIXA)

Local newspapers are an incredible primary source for anyone writing in historical time periods. You can find details of what people wore, ate, books they read, where they shopped, how much they spent. What the national and local news of the day was. Also read the editorials and find out what outraged people. Fascinating stuff, and you can add detail and color to your story.

jclarkdawe
02-20-2017, 06:44 PM
A rucksack and a seabag are two different things, and especially on a cultural level. A seabag is much more like a duffel than a rucksack. But for the purposes of travel, none of them present much of a problem. Worst case scenario is you keep the bag on your lap.

Hansom cabs often didn't have room for much in the way of baggage. There are some that were set up to hand a bit of baggage, but usually if you wanted to transport more than three people, you'd go with a four-wheel vehicle. These frequently had room to carry something like a steamer trunk.

I'm not sure why you want a lot of details here. But if I wanted to travel in a rush, I'd take a hansom, and arrange with the express company at the train station to pick up the steamer and put it on the next train. That's the fastest way to travel and was frequently done. A bit slower is contact a cab company and say I've got two men and a steamer to get to Union Station. The cab company will send what is needed. One approach for the cab company is a hansom and a wagon.

But in the period you're talking about, stables were going from being the only game in town, to struggling to fight back against cars. They were a service industry, and that's what they made sure to offer -- service. What you're trying to do was something that occurred frequently. The last minute traveler is not an invention of the airlines. My guess is late minute travelers goes back to the ancient Greeks. This isn't much of a problem, other than stress.

Jim Clark-Dawe

King Neptune
02-20-2017, 06:50 PM
My mc and his servant need to get to a train station with a large trunk (the type that might or might not hold a body). A hansom wouldn't do. Were there larger transports for immediate hire (there isn't time to arrange a wagon, for instance)? And if so, what were they called?

I'm researching early 20th C transports on line, but everyone keeps raving about hansoms, which, are just too small.

Thanks!

It would have been a taxi, even then. There were automobiles being built for that purpose. If there were no automobiles available, then it would have been a livery service, most of which were already converting to motors.

JohnnyGottaKeyboard
02-20-2017, 07:07 PM
So would they refer to it as a taxicab? There's actually very little detail about the cab which is why I was able to just use hansom and move on. I just know hansom's are too small. I was picturing something closer to like a stagecoach or the box cab you see in John Houston's The Dead. Just not sure what the locals/contemporaries called them.

(There is a conversation that takes place while they ride, but not much is said about the mode of travel.)

King Neptune
02-21-2017, 01:06 AM
So would they refer to it as a taxicab? There's actually very little detail about the cab which is why I was able to just use hansom and move on. I just know hansom's are too small. I was picturing something closer to like a stagecoach or the box cab you see in John Houston's The Dead. Just not sure what the locals/contemporaries called them.

(There is a conversation that takes place while they ride, but not much is said about the mode of travel.)

Motorized taxis, or taxicabs, were on the market from 1896 (see article). The term "Hansom" always meant a horse-drawn carriage; I don't think the term was ever applied to motorized vehicles. By that time the term "motorcoach" was also in use, showing that the conversion from horse-drawn to motorized was fairly general.
http://www.taxi-library.org/chekr01.htm

JohnnyGottaKeyboard
02-21-2017, 02:09 AM
So more research led me to traps and carriages. Traps seems like a general term referring to assorted horse drawn conveyances. Carriage seems to refer to what I called a box cab, but isn't restricted to hired taxis. The all but toss-away line I'm fretting over is something like "through the open door he sees a taxi at the sidewalk." (He's being restrained and forced to go.) The current rough draft version has "hansom" in place of "taxi". So could he think of it as a "taxi carriage" or a "hired carriage"?

King Neptune
02-21-2017, 03:29 AM
So more research led me to traps and carriages. Traps seems like a general term referring to assorted horse drawn conveyances. Carriage seems to refer to what I called a box cab, but isn't restricted to hired taxis. The all but toss-away line I'm fretting over is something like "through the open door he sees a taxi at the sidewalk." (He's being restrained and forced to go.) The current rough draft version has "hansom" in place of "taxi". So could he think of it as a "taxi carriage" or a "hired carriage"?

In 1912 a taxi would have been a motor vehicle, at least in a city of any size in the U.S.A. From what I know of how people talked about such things a few years later, I think he would have thought of it as a taxi or maybe a motor-taxi. Judging from the sizes and shapes of the bodies of early motor-taxis, I think they derived from Hansom carriages and carriages in general. If your character is stuck with a horse-drawn carriage, then it probably would have been more like a farm wagon by then, and it would have looked like the wagons they used in Westerns. That design was still in use in the 1950's in places where wagons were used.

I just remembered my father's story from a few years later of the owner of a horse and wagon hiring him to drive the wagon home, so he (the owner) could start getting drunk. Of course I don't know for sure, but the horse probably knew its way home better than my father did, but horses sometimes won't go more than a couple of steps unless there's someone holding the reins.

jclarkdawe
02-21-2017, 03:41 AM
Horse drawn conveyances of that period had broad categories but there weren't specific models as we think of such things these days. First dividing line is between wagons and carriages. Carriages are fancier and designed more for people while wagons were for transporting goods. Traps are a light, sporty type of carriage. More often than not a trap has only two wheels.

Wagons frequently were open for the passengers and driver, and seating was not very well-sprung. Carriages were more frequently able to be covered so that the passengers stayed dry. Wagons are almost always four wheel while carriages can be either two- or four-wheeled. Both wagons and carriages came in many different styles.

Cabs were probably mainly bought used, just like now.

Personally I'd change "taxi" to "carriage" and call its quits. But if you want to go a bit more fancy, you can use either "a hack" or "a hackney" or a "landau." Personally I like the "landau," as it was a common carriage for moderate to wealthy people, who would have been dumping them like crazy as they bought cars. The perfect thing for a cabbie to pick up cheap, capable of transporting four to six people, and big enough a steamer trunk, especially if you had a convertible model.

"Hired carriage" would be hard to recognize without knowing a fair amount about carriages. There's nothing that would have been distinct and it would be more looking at the horse and carriage and seeing signs that it wasn't being maintained that well.

Jim Clark-Dawe

snafu1056
02-21-2017, 09:00 AM
If you want to get technical, the types of wagons usually used for cabs (in the US at least) were cabriolets and Rockaways (also called carryalls). Hansom is technically just a make of cabriolet. Rockaways were very common street vehicles.

http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y67/snafu1056/wagon4_zpsecjmdh0i.jpg


Cabs were often Hansoms or Rockaway coupes like the one seen in this cartoon from the late 19th century

http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y67/snafu1056/cab22_zpselocygi1.jpg

Here's the station wagon Tsu Dho Nimh mentioned. Looks like a type of Rockaway as well.

http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y67/snafu1056/stationwagon_zpsgrh8tcoo.jpg


They weren't technically cabs, but omnibuses were also still available for hire even as late as 1912

http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y67/snafu1056/omnibus2_zpsgwoab8ze.jpg


The two general categories of wagons in pre-car days were self-driven and coachman-driven. Rockaways, Victorias, omibuses, stagecoaches, Broughams, cabriolets (where 'cab" comes from) and landaus were common coach-driven wagons, while traps, buckboards, buggies, runabouts, two-wheeled work carts, commercial vans & trucks, and Phaetons were common self-driven wagons.

These terms mean nothing to the average reader, so you probably wont ever need to go into the particulars, but just for your own general knowledge.

If you really want to delve into the wagon/automobile scene of that time, here's a collection of issues of "The Hub", which was a car/wagon periodical. These are from 1910. Google books has older ones too.

https://books.google.com/books?id=ZIPmAAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=editions:x2vC3PPNwEcC&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj1s6ynvqDSAhVBSyYKHWyNDLcQ6AEIODAG#v=on epage&q&f=false


Also look for old issues of "The Rider & Driver", another old driving magazine. I've seen issues floating around Google books. Interesting stuff with lots of pics.