B2355 Horse-drawn vehicle, full size, Abott buggy and parts, wood/nickle/leather/metal, designed by Joseph Abbot, made by Arthur Wynne, coachbuilder, Victoria, Australia, 1914-1925
This type of buggy was very popular in both America and Australia during the mid-nineteenth century. This one was built in the Victorian town of Horsham by coachbuilder Arthur Wynne between about 1914 and 1925. It was a low cost, stylish and versatile alternative to the expensive and cumbersome English carriages of the time. Lightly constructed of strong, resilient and flexible timbers such as hickory, the buggy was well suited to rough colonial Australian roads and could be easily righted if it overturned. It is fitted with a hood and a dashboard to protect the driver and passenger from dust and mud.
From the 1920s the influx of cheap, mass-produced Model T Fords hastened the demise of horse-drawn buggies. However, they remained in use, particularly in country areas, until the 1940s.
The Abbot buggy was originally designed in America in 1813 by Lewis Downing of Concord, New Hampshire. In 1828 Downing was joined in business by Joseph Stephens Abbot. Their heavy Abbot-Downing coaches became famous, being used by companies such as Wells Fargo in America and Cobb & Co. in Australia. In Australia their light vehicles were known as Abbot buggies, from the name of the company rather than the name of the designer. It is claimed that the first Australian buggy of this type was made by Thomas Craine in Melbourne in 1854.
The Abbot buggy continued to be made until the 1920s. It eventually came in several variations: with and without a hood, single and double seats, and with various patented foldaway seats, also called jump seats.
'The Abbott Buggy' in "Cobb & Co. Post: Official Newsletter of the Friends of Cobb & Co. Museum", Vol.2, Issue 2, April-June 1999.
Cuffley, Peter, "Buggies and horsedrawn vehicles in Australia", Pioneer Design Studio, Lilydale, Victoria, 1981.
Assistant Curator, Science & Industry