Chaise

This is a rather tricky carriage to pin down because I’ve seen all sorts of differing opinions on what it is and how to define it.

Originally, it was a very small one-person carriage (with two or four wheels) that had evolved from a sedan chair; the name came from the word “chaise”, which is French for chair. When you see images from primary or official sources (like museums), this is what you will see when you search for a chaise. It was generally only used for going about town and not for long journeys.

Where it gets tricky is that I’ve found plenty of unsubstantiated information on various websites that define a chaise in all sorts of terms beyond that original meaning. Some say it’s for two passengers, some say four. Some say two-wheeled, some say four-wheeled. Some had foldable heads. Some were fixed, unmoveable heads. Where most carriage types have specific identifying characteristics, there seems to be no rhyme or reason to how these sources describe a chaise.

However, I believe this is simply a misunderstanding of the term “chaise” as used in primary sources written in the 1800s. If you read books from that era, they seem to use the term “chaise” to mean a coach or chariot style of carriage; kind of like how we use the term “Googling” to mean searching the internet now, even though it originally referred to using the Google search. This is merely a hypothesis that comes from extensive research and reading and that I did find primary sources that specifically say that a post-chaise was another name for a traveling chariot. And the fact that if you search for specific styles of chaise or photos or historical drawings of them, you can’t find any specific information (other than referring to the original meaning of chaise).

  • Seats: 1 passenger

  • Horses: 1