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Vehicles

chariots, wheels, carriages, vehicle, axle and roman

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VEHICLES.

term vehicle, in its widest application, embraces all structures employed for the purpose of transportation of merchandise and of human beings. Specifically, vehicles which are hung on springs and used for pleasure are termed carriages. Four-wheeled vehicles used for carrying goods and heavy loads are commonly called wagons, and two wheeled vehicles without springs are earls. In ancient times the only vehicles were two-wheeled carts, called chariots, which were used both for pleasure-riding and in war. A Greek tradition attributes the origin of wheeled vehicles to Erechtliens, the first king, of Athens, about moo 13. C. , but the first fonn of wheeled vehicle is known to have been in use as early as 2000 B. C.

Egypian possess ample information as to the build and decoration of the chariots of the Egyptians from their sepulchral paintings. The Egyptian chariot, which was used in state processions, in warfare, and for racing, was constructed principally of wood, and rested on an axle, upon which the wheels were secured by linch-pins. Frequently the wheels were fixed to the axle, which turned with them. The chariots invariably had two wheels, which were secnred at the junction of the fellies with clamps or bands of bronze, and bound with a tire of that metal.

Greek Greek chariot had an axle usually made of oak, ash, or elm, though Homer describes the chariots of Juno and Neptune as having metallic axles. The wheels of the Greek chariots were about 4 feet in diameter, and each consisted of a nave (bound with an iron ring), spokes, fellies of elastic wood, and a heavy iron tire, and were fastened to the axle by pins.

Roman Roman triumphal chariots, which were usually of ivory, adorned with the utmost skill, and drawn by a number of white horses, were the chief features in the processional celebrations. In the Roman games chariots were often decorated with sculptures enriched with gold and ivory. The Romans had one-wheeled vehicles, which were drawn by slaves, and also vehicles with two and four wheels. They had carriages adapted for two, three, and four horses, and it was among the Romans that the use of carriages as a private means of conveyance was first established, and their carriages attained a great variety of form and richness in orna mentation. Because of the narrowness of the roads and the crowded con

dition of the streets in Rome, carriage-travel was restricted to a few persons of high rank. For making long- journeys and conveying large parties, the reecia and were mostly used, but their construction and arrange ment are unknown. The carritcce, which are said to have been gorgeously trimmed, had no springs. During the Empire, the carriage which appears in representations of public ceremonials is the earpentam, a very slight vehicle with two wheels, sometimes covered, and g,enerally drawn by two borses. The sirpea, which originated with the Gauls, by whom it was called benna, was an ancient form of vehicle employed for the conveyance of persons and goods. The body of this vehicle was of osier basket-work. The esseclum was a two-wheeled carriage, whose form the Romans copied from the war-cars of the Beige. The arcena was a covered carriage for the use of the sick and the infirm. Covered carriag-es become more and morc the appendages of Roman pomp and magnificence, and sumptnary laws were enacted on account of the public extravagance, but these were little regarded, and were entirely abrogated by the emperor Severus. With the fall of Rome, carriages fell iuto disuse.

French Vehicles. —Carriages were in nse in France to a limited extent at a very early day, but for a time they were restricted to the sick, to royalty, and to ambassadors. Philip the Fair, in 1294, issued an edict by which the wives of the citizens were forbidden to use them. At Paris, in the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries, the French monarchs rode on horses and the servants on mules. Carriages did not grow in favor very rapidly, and we find that in 155o there were only three in Paris—one belonging to the queen, one to Diana of Poictiers, and the third to Rene de Laval.

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