What carriage tour would be complete without viewing a Hansom Cab? Its name is nearly as well known to the American public as the Buckboard or even the generic term Buggy. However, it is probably more misidentified and mislabeled than any carriage that exists. How often visitors to Central Park claim to have ridden in a Hansom Cab when, in fact, one can no longer be found on the streets there. It's name has been popularized by the classic tales of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle; however, most readers, not being able to visualize one as they read, often think the term is simply synonomous with "carriage." In fact, the vehicle is so distinct that it becomes easier to identify than any other type.
As you can see as you view this marvelous example by D. P. Nicholas & Company, of New York City, it is a two-wheeled vehicle with a body hung very close to the ground, affording easy access to passengers through twin doors in the front of the cab. The driver's seat is high up and behind the body of the vehicle. The driver could open and shut the passenger doors from where he sat. The Hansom Cab was used primarily as a public vehicle and became the cab of choice in most major cities of England and America. There were, however, some private Hansoms manufactured and the one pictured here may, indeed, be an example. The particular vehicle was probably manufactured in the last decade of the 19th century.
The Hansom Cab derives its name from its inventor, Joseph Hansom, an English architect, who patented the design in 1834.