Tom Thumb's Carriage, circa 1875

Summary

This miniature carriage was custom-made for the famous Tom Thumb--the entertainment sensation of the 19th century. Showman P.T. Barnum discovered the diminutive lad (only 3 feet, 4 inches when fully grown) at the age of four. Lively, able to impersonate, sing and dance, Tom Thumb (whose real name was Charles Stratton) became an instant celebrity, bringing the boy--and P.T. Barnum--wealth and fame. Tom Thumb performed for four decades, and probably appeared before more spectators than any other performer of his time. A specially-built carriage made to fit Tom Thumb was an effective way to advertise his show. In the cities and towns where he played, the sight of the entertainer riding in a tiny carriage pulled by ponies was quite an attraction. People eagerly gathered to gaze at his elegant, built-to-fit vehicle. This carriage dates from the later years of Tom Thumb's career. It is one of at least six miniature horse-drawn vehicles he used during his lifetime.

This miniature carriage was custom-made for the famous Tom Thumb--the entertainment sensation of the 19th century. Showman P.T. Barnum discovered the diminutive lad (only 3 feet, 4 inches when fully grown) at the age of four. Lively, able to impersonate, sing and dance, Tom Thumb (whose real name was Charles Stratton) became an instant celebrity, bringing the boy--and P.T. Barnum--wealth and fame. Tom Thumb performed for four decades, and probably appeared before more spectators than any other performer of his time. A specially-built carriage made to fit Tom Thumb was an effective way to advertise his show. In the cities and towns where he played, the sight of the entertainer riding in a tiny carriage pulled by ponies was quite an attraction. People eagerly gathered to gaze at his elegant, built-to-fit vehicle. This carriage dates from the later years of Tom Thumb's career. It is one of at least six miniature horse-drawn vehicles he used during his lifetime.

Artifact

Brougham (Carriage)

Date Made

circa 1875

Creators

Unknown

Place of Creation

United Kingdom, England 

Creator Notes

Attributed to an English maker.

Location

Not on exhibit to the public.

Object ID

35.687.1

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of the University of New Hampshire.

Material

Wood (Plant material)
Glass (Material)
Leather
Corduroy
Steel (Alloy)
Rubber (Material)

Color

Black (Color)
Red

Dimensions

Height: 53.75 in

Width: 42.625 in

Length: 83 in

Wheelbase: 51.5 in

Diameter: 26.25 in  (Wheel Diameter)

Diameter: 30.25 in  (Wheel Diameter)

Inscriptions

Imprinted on tires on proper right side: UNION E.P. SANDERSON CO. BOSTON

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