Configuring Your Own Carriage

From the evidence of customer orders in the ledgers and orderbooks, and the diversity of seats, bodies and wheels left at the Campbell Carriage Factory, it is clear each customer could customize their own carriage.  You could choose its colour and the amount of trim work, and which accessories to add (much as we can, today) but you could also make adjustments to its size and shape, which kind of seat, what placement of springs and which style of body.

Of course, during any one decade certain styles proved to be popular as they met typical needs.  But every customer was free to request adjustments to meet their needs.  As craftsmen, carriage makers had little to gain by making each vehicle to the same specifications.  Only in slower seasons -- when the winter production of sleighs had passed -- did the Factory build up its inventory of the more common models.

The Campbells still tell the story:  having constructed several carriages beyond their current orders, one or two of the carriage makers were given a "Spring break" ... by hitching a half dozen carriages in a line, and driving off down the road with instructions to keep going until they were all sold!
Paul Bogaard
Adèle Hempel, Michael Doan
19-20th Century
© 2007, Tantramar Heritage Trust. All Rights Reserved.

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