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Catalog Number 1973.421
Description 1904 Standard Light Park Drag is black and yellow in color. Seventeen persons can be accomodated--four inside. For picnics, provisions and wine are carried in special compartments at the rear of the coach. A small wooden rack on the ceiling of the coach holds the horsewhip when the coach is not in use. A collapsible ladder for roof access and an umbrella basket hang on the rear of the coach. The coachman sits on the double cushion in the driving box.
Object Name Coach, Road
Collection 3D - Land Transportation Tools & Equipment
Title 1904 Standard Light Park Drag
Date November 16, 1904
Creator Brewster
Role Manufacturer
Provenance -Purchased new in 1904 by C.W. Watson.
-From the Roth Collection at Filoli.
-The Roth Collection is particularly significant as all of the carriages were built by one of the two Brewster firms in New York City, producers of the finest quality vehicles for America's leading families. The National Carriage Association in Staten Island has the original records of the Brewster Company. Since Roth carriages were produced for use in California, they evidence some special changes to adapt them to their owner's way of living. As of June 10, 1973, each carriage was in superb condition, never having been restored. Each carriage bears an individual registration number from the factory. The carriages were built almost entirely of wood, and many coats of paint were applied, each coat rubbed and polished until it was mirror-smooth. As the paint of that era dried slowly, there often was more than a week's wait between the application of coats.
Notes This vehicle is the most outstanding one in the Roth collection. If shown at the Royal Winter Fair, it would be second to none because of its superb condition. It was delivered from the Brewster factory in New York to a C.W. Watson on November 16, 1904. The purchase price was $2,800. At that time, Brewster carriages were the finest in America and were a requirement of every well-to-do household.
The Watson-Roth Park Drag was originally white and Essex Green. Its equipment included an iron ladder, a watch and case, a tufted driving cushion, a hat rack and 5 coat hooks, a mirror and a stable shutter. Perhaps the most outstanding features are the rear wine coolers with fitted tray for glasses, the umbrella basket and the interior seats covered in tufted black leather. The ivory builder's plates on the door interiors should also be noted. The magnificent coach lanterns are a later addition. The total weight is about 2,400 pounds.
As roads improved, the private Park Drag was developed from stage or road coaches. With increasing refinement came very precise rules and procedures for the Park Drag's appearance and usage. By the late 1800s, driving for pleasure had become an exacting performance. The key was simplicity. The total design or "turn out" could attract attention, but in a subtle manner. Only the occasional brilliance of uncommonly good horseflesh was permitted. The servants should be clad in smart, well-fitting and well put on liveries and carry themselves with an air of pride. The private coachman could wear neither a mustache nor a beard, for this was an indication of ignorance of his calling. The harness and livery were equally proscribed. The full complement of perfect carriage, 4 matched horses with polished harness and monograms, and exactly costumed grooms presented a spectacular piece of material culture and way of life attained by a very few.
Dimensions H-97 W-77 D-146 feet
Search Terms Bourn, William
Horse Drawn Vehicles
Roth, Lurline Matson
Subjects Carriages & coaches
People Roth, Lurline Matson
Watson, C.W.