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PHYSICIAN'S COUPÉ TO STORM BUGGY
From the Carriage Museum of America


     The word Physician or doctor became a word that was attached to many different kinds of vehicles, meaning that it was a vehicle that was comfortable in all kinds of weather and easy to get in and out of. There was the Physician's phaeton (drop front phaeton) the doctor's buggy (piano box buggy with a top) doctor's sleigh (Portland cutter with a top). In going through the fashion plates of the Carriage Monthly and the Hub we have found maybe the most distant type of vehicle for the Physician to be the Physician's coupé. When we checked Don Berkebiles' Carriage Terminology we could not find the Physician's Coupé so we would like to ad it to the list of distant types of vehicles. The first known published drawing of a Physician's coupé was in the Coach-Makers Magazine in May 1855 called a Physician's Close Rockaway. We might assume that it was developed sometime between 1835 to 1855 when someone decided to combine the rockaway, brougham and buggy into one design. We can see in the first three early drawings that it was undecided as to what to call it a Physicians' Brougham or a Physician's Rockaway.

Physician's Close Rockaway
Coach-Makers' Magazine May, 1855

     Made for Dr. Mason of Louisiana. The back of the body is closed with a sliding glass. The front is also closed with a glass sash, when the weather is clear, the medical gentleman raises the sash above described, (Ezra M. Stratton describes it in his World on Wheels as: The front portion was closed by a door attached to a bar under the roof by means of three hinges so contrived that when desirable this front was swung up on the inside and secured to the under side of the roof by a catch.) lets drop the windows in the doors and back, rolls up the quarter curtain, and enjoys as complete a view of every passing object as though he were in the ordinary top buggy, and by the use of this carriage he can defy the cold, wind and rain. A dash is applied, the only object in view is ornament, as without it the front of the body would look wanting and naked. The attachment of a fine pair of lamps adds materially to the external appearance of the carriage.

Physician's Close Phaeton.
New York Coach-maker's Magazine, Jan. 1862.

Philadelphia Physician's Brougham.
Coach-Makers' International Journal-Aug. 1868.

Trimming leather. Painting, black, striping to fancy.

Philadelphia Physician's Coupé.
Hub February 1874.

Octagon-Front Physicians' Coupé on two elliptic springs.
Hub - February 1878.

     Designed by William P. Fest of New York, for Dr. Webster H. Jones of Chicago, Illinois. Painting.--Door panels, a dark lake; stripe with a fine line of glazed carmine on inside of moldings. Gearing, black, striped with two fine lines of carmine. Wheels, lake, to match body, with two fine stripes of carmine around the rims, facing of spokes, and hubs. Hub-bands, black. Trimming.--Claret morocco, with cloth head-lining. No fall on seat. Trim with carpet under the seat, with broad-lace around it and also in center. The front ought to be lined with morocco, in case there is a large morocco pocket attached, to use for blankets, etc. The heel-board, under the back seat, is hinged the whole length on bottom, so as to make a lid, and when opened gives the customer the entire length of box room under the seat, and it can be easily opened with out disturbing the cushion.

Physicians' Rockaway.
Hub July 1879.

     Built by Henry Willets, Chicago, Illinois. Painting.--Body, black; running-gear, black, striped with one fine line of gold bronze. Mountings, silver.

Physician's Coupé.
Carriage Monthly February 1880.

     Designed by S. W. Kilvington foreman with F. T. Clymer, of Wilmington, Delaware. Painting- Body; black. Carriage-part; black, with a ribbon line ¼ inch wide, of dark blue, and fine line of light blue, distant ¼ inch. Trimming-Blue, using buttons; style, squares; 1¼ inch raisers on cushion front and fall. Carpet to match.

Physicians' Coupé.
Carriage Monthly March 1884.

     Designed by Dexter Spring Company, Hulton, Pennsylvania. Painting.--Body; upper part of body and moldings, black; lower panels, bottle green. Carriage-part; bottle green, striped two 3/16 inch lines of black, ½ inch apart. Trimming-Green morocco and cloth. Back, morocco, block and pipe pattern, leather-covered buttons, lace welts. Cushions, morocco, diamond plaited top, lace welts, buttons, broad-lace front. Fall, plaited morocco, faced with lace. Squabbing, lower half morocco, top cloth. Glass-frames, hard wood finished. Doors, plain morocco, finished with laces; broad-lace frame-holders. Mountings-Silver.

Physician's Coupé without driving seat.
Hub October 1884.

     Improved design of Henry Willits, of Chicago, Illinois. Painting.--Lower quarters, back and door panels, dark green ; and upper quarters, back panel and moldings, black. The moldings are striped with a fine line of light green. Running-part, black. Trimming.--Green cloth throughout. The cushion tops and back are laid off in biscuits. No broad-lace is used around the fall and top rail. A plain raiser is made around the fall, and a valance, with a welt of cloth around the edge, for the top rail. Carpet, green, with black figures, Mountings, silver.

Canadian Physician's Rockaway.
Hub May 1885.

     Designed by James Andison foreman of John Dixon's carriage works, Toronto, Ontario. Painting-body, black; and gear, black, with two medium lines of carmine. Trimming, bronze-brown cloth throughout. The upholstering of the back and cushion is laid out in medium-size squares. No broad-lace is used. The top is finished with a plain cloth welt. Plain cloth binding is used for the cushion front and sides. Carpet, same color as the trimming, with black figures. Mounting, silver. The Canadian Physician's Rockaway is designed similar to the Physician's Coupé of October 1884 except that the extended dashboard is missing.

Physician's Coupé.
Hub August 1892.

     Painting.--Body solid black, the moldings striped two line fine lines of yellow or gold, the first preferred, ¼ inch apart, and a very fine stripe. The gear should be painted blue. The axles, springs, steps, body loops, iron span bar, both front and back, lamp irons and dash stays, black. Strip the wheels and gear first one _ line of black, edged with fine line of yellow, which ought to be under two coats of rubbing varnish. All outside mountings black except door handle, which should be silver. Cover line rail with heavy dash leather; inside mountings, silver. Trimming- blue goat skin for cushions, back and sides, with cloth above; blue carpet; glass frames covered with blue cloth; the front between the coupé pillars blue goat skin; the inside of front glass frame covered with blue cloth and edged with lace to suit. The buttons should be blue plush with yellow center.

       

The last two designs for the Physician's Coupé appeared as working drawings in the Carriage Monthly in Jan. 1897 and April 1903.

from the Vehicle Dealer June 15, 1902 The first patent for a Transformable Buggy was issued on Oct. 27, 1903 # 742, 319 to Heinzelman Bros. Carriage Works of Belleville, Illinois. Other buggy companies soon followed with there version of the Transformable Buggy. With this type of vehicle the doors and front panel could be removed for fair weather.

Storm Buggy equipped with electric lights.
Carriage Monthly January 1913.

     By 1913 the Physician's Coupé seems to have been transformed to what was called the storm buggy, no longer a distant style of vehicle for the doctor, but a vehicle for anyone who needed to travel in bad weather. Modern carriage enthusiast generally call this a storm buggy. We found a storm wagon describe in the Hub of July 1874 page 111, as being similar to the Jenny Lind, but could be enclosed with side curtains and was used for business rather than pleasure. The storm wagon being for business was larger, roomier and built heavier. The naming of carriages certainly seems to have its trifling differences, along with being inconsistent at times.