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Object ID # 1957.030.001
Object Name Surrey
Title Wathke Family's Surrey
Lexicon category 7: Distribution & Transportation Artifact
Date c. 1900
Artist Unidentified maker
Made Unknown
Place of Origin Unknown
Description Horse-drawn, two seater, black finished surrey, c. 1900. Leather upholstered, with button-style tufting. No maker's identification is observed. The back wheels are taller than the front ones and have large splash guards above them. The wooden spoked wheels have 16 spokes each.
Provenance Sadie Wathke told museum staff that this vehicle Mr. August Wathke, the father of Enoch Wathke, purchased this vehicle around 1900.

Last owned by Sadie Wathke. In 1957, the Wathke family was still living on their Crown land farm in Sullivan Township, Grey County. That year, Lawrence and Stewart Wathke brought the vehicle to the Owen Sound-Grey County Museum when it was situated at Buchan Manor, Owen Sound.


Collection Transportation, Land: Animal-Powered
Material Wood/Iron/Brass/Paint/Leather
Dimensions H-60 W-64 L-114 inches
Found Sullivan Township (formerly), Township of Chatsworth, Grey County
People Wathke, August
Function "A popular American four-wheel family carriage that developed comparatively late in the carriage era. The name supposedly came from an English SURREY-CART, the body of which was adapted to four wheels, but since this information appears to be erroneous, the real origin of the term is not understood. Apparently is was derived, through some misconception, from the English county of that name. The vehicle that obviously did lend its body was the English WHITECHAPEL-CART, the first one of which is believed to have entered the United States about 1867. A short time later, in 1872, James B. Brewster & Co., of New York City, introduced the surrey-wagon (by which name the surrey was first known) which consisted of a WHITECHAPEL body on four wheels... The first surrey-wagons had either one or two seat boards, for the accomodation of two or four persons. The top line of the body was straight in the early types, following the WHITECHAPEL outline, and if the carriage held four persons, the left front seat usually turned over to permit access to the rear seat. Although the first surrey-wagons were most frequently built without a top, occasionall they were equipped with either a falling or standing top. The popularity of the surrey spread rapidly, and by the mid-1880's the sides of the four passenger types were being cut down in the centre to permit access to the rear without disturbing the front seat. Eventually the two-passenger variety became almost unknown. A large variety of styles developed, either with straight bodies or wheel-houses, panel or spindle seats, open or with canopy, umbrella or extension tops, and body styles ranging from STANHOPE types to the nearly straight lines of a SPRING_WAGON. Popular as long as the horse continued in use, surreys could be purchased early in the 20thC for prices ranging from $50 - $100. Toward the end of the carriage era, some builders applied the term CABRIOLET to their finer surreys.