Someone was telling me about the good old days when they had a rubber-wheeled buggy to go to town, and the horse took off when it got caught in a hailstorm, and so on. This got me thinking.
First, What is the purpose of rubber wheeled buggies? The emphasis makes it sound like a whole new level of technology - back in the day, our family’s flying car put the neighbors to shame.
Was it for
- Noise reduction?
- Smoother ride?
The last seems the most likely, but I’m hard pressed to imagine that a solid rubber wheel is that much better cushioned than a non-rubberized wheel (and were they metal or wood?), especially if they had springs and the like to begin with.
Second, were changes in parking accommodations necessary in town? If so, how did they manage the transition from 10%, to 50%, to 90% cars?
Third, what kind of braking was available on these vehicles?
Fourth, Merriam-Webster says a buggy is “a light one-horse carriage made with two wheels in England and with four wheels in the U.S.” Same source says a surrey is “a four-wheel two-seated horse-drawn pleasure carriage.” What is the difference between a buggy and a surrey in American usage? (and could a buggy have fringe on top?)