First English usage of "car"

You want to know this, right? :wink: Here’s what Oxford ED says

  • First usage, referring to a wheeled cart or carriage, 1320 AD, Carcloutis cum clavis pro eisdem, . Rolls Abbey of Durham

  • Referring to a chariot, 1350 AD, Hij in carres, and hij in horses, and we shul herien þe name of God, Prose Psalter

  • Referring to motor car, 1896 Auto-cars, The latter drove with a daring which may have been dangerous to himself, but which never affected his car.

Etymology: < Anglo-Norman and Old French (northern) carr, carre, Middle French car (c1100), variant of Anglo-Norman and Old French, Middle French char (French char : see char n.2) < classical Latin carrus , carrum , post-classical Latin carra (from 8th cent. in British and continental sources) kind of two-wheeled wagon for transporting burdens < the Celtic base of Gaulish carro- wheeled vehicle (in e.g. the place name Καρρόδουνον ), Early Irish carr wagon, chariot (Irish carr , Scottish Gaelic càr , both denoting various kinds of vehicles, now also specifically ‘motor car’), Welsh car vehicle, car < the same Indo-European base as classical Latin currere to run (see current adj.); compare currus chariot.

Compare Old Occitan car , Catalan carro (14th cent.), Spanish carro (13th cent. or earlier), Portuguese carro (13th cent.), Italian carro (early 14th cent.), also Middle Dutch carre (Dutch kar ), Middle Low German kāre , karre , Old High German karra , karro (Middle High German karre , karren , German Karre , Karren ), and ( < Middle Low German) Danish karre (already in early modern Danish), all denoting kinds of wagons or carts, but not usually motor vehicles; compare further in similar senses Middle Dutch kerre (rare), Old Icelandic kerra , Old Swedish kärra (Swedish kärra ), Old Danish kærre (Danish kærre ). Compare char n.2

3220 year difference?
The earliest recorded sort of carriage was the chariot, reaching Mesopotamia as early as 1900 BC

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But suspensions may have predated the chariot. There’s some indications that stone-age Celtic horse carts had elastic suspensions.

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“Suspension” long ago meant that the carriage was suspended by leather straps.
I don’t think I’d want to do a long trip in one. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Better than a long trip in one with no leather straps. :wink:

It’s kind of amazing the routine level of discomfort even the wealthy had to put up with just a couple hundred years ago. Heatless carriages in January if you were rich, the open-air back of a horse if you weren’t, home heating involved the kitchen stove and everywhere else was cold, and that’s not even getting into using the bathroom…

And today we get mad if the power window switch only has auto-down and not auto-up. :wink:

Excellent points, shadow.
I have a book at home entitled “The Good Old Days - They Were Terrible!” by Otto Bettmann, published by Random House. They go into very vivid descriptions of the difficulties people lived with before cars came along. The book talks about the problems with horses, especially in the cities. Streets were piled with toxic byproducts of digested hay, flies, and all he downsides of horses. Resultant illnesses were rampant. It wasn’t good. Cars were widely hailed as a blessing for the environment.

Some complain endlessly about the environmental impact of cars. It’s too bad they can’t spend six months in a city in the 1800s.

The best thing about the modern era imo is indoor plumbing w/a thermostat-controlled hot water tank. It’s quite a feat if you think about it. For it to work, someone has to be keeping water in the pipes while someone else has to be keeping natural gas or electricity flowing 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. And it is pretty inexpensive considering the comfort and convenience it provides.

Were I to have to either give up automobiles or that, I’d give up automobiles. Not even a question. The days without indoor plumbing w/an automatic hot water tank, those were dismal days indeed for humans. Riding around on a horse wouldn’t be that bad. You get a little heat from the horse itself.

There’s no question than indoor plumbing, sanitation, and central heating are three of the greatest developments ever. These things have done more to eliminate disease and illness and promote human longevity than perhaps anything else.

And to think that the Romans and the Incas had plumbing and sanitation systems of sorts thousands of years ago, although not within each home. It’s also believed that the culture that built Petra had plumbing of sorts. Petra is believed to have been created about 400 BC. Even thousands of years ago the importance of plumbing to sanitation and health was recognized.

I’m sure you’ll agree that carving Petra in the rock is equally amazing, especially since they had no explosives to reduce the rock to rubble.

The ancient Egyptians had air conditioning. They’d hang wet reeds in the window to cool the breeze - same principle as a swamp cooler which is still used in dry places today.

And the Romans had central heating! There are ducts under the floors in public bath houses that routed hot air from a central fire.

Good points. I forgot about those systems.

“Amazing” is an insufficient word. No sufficient word exists.
The rock is sandstone, and a 1-hour special on PBS showed how they accomplished it, but it’s still absolutely incredible. More incredible is how they channeled water there from miles away and controlled not only the water supply, but also the rare but occasional flash floods that occur in that part of the desert, to create a thriving community in the middle of nowhere.

I wonder… did they use carriages/carts to move all that rubble from the carvings? Methinks they must have. The things that carriages enabled to happen can be as amazing as the invention of the carriages themselves.

My grandparents visited Petra a few years ago. The pictures they brought back were amazing (my grandfather is a retired photographer), but he said as amazing as the pictures are, they don’t do it justice.

Speaking of early technology, Jalopnik just posted a couple videos of starting one of the first gas-powered cars. The process makes even the crank-handle starters look luxurious by comparison. Check it out:

Just because environmentally cars in cities are better then horses, doesn’t mean it’s GOOD. I still remember when I was young driving into Syracuse with my dad and seeing the cloud of smoke in the city from all the cars. Better then it’s been, but still doesn’t mean it’s GOOD or we can’t improve on it. I think we should and can to better.

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Environmentally the horse was better. Yes, horse droppings are unpleasant, but they don’t generally put polar bears on the path to extinction.

And the only reason the horse droppings were a problem is because no one did anything about it. They could have cleaned the streets. They could have passed laws requiring manure bags within city limits. They didn’t. That’s not indicative that the horse was environmentally unfriendly, it’s indicative that the people in charge of the horses were dumb.

But you also have to remember that for the majority of the time that the horse was used as transportation, the idea that manure can cause health problems was pretty much unknown. It wasn’t until about the time of the civil war that Joseph Lister figured out that maybe being clean and having clean instruments might just kill fewer surgical patients than going in with dirty instruments and unwashed hands.

For most of the human race’s existence, we were incredibly dirty, foul-smelling apes. When you bathe maybe once a week despite working sunup to sundown on the farm doing hot, sweaty manual labor, and then you go into town and mingle with a bunch of other manual laborers who haven’t bathed in 6 days, the horse poop probably smells pretty good by comparison, so without sanitation theory, there’s no particular reason to to be motivated to clean it up.

The other problem with horses in bog cities was the horses themselves. They’d just drop dead in the street.

Interesting article about the Benz patent-mobile, thanks for posting @shadowfax . Seems the starting function needed a little more Benz design work. Once you get it started, it does look like a pleasant way to drive to church on a Sunday morning. It’s fun to see more of the moving engine parts for a change. I couldn’t tell how the piston rod bearing on the crankshaft side was lubricated. Maybe the owner just squirted a little oil on it before each ride. There was a Russian production car that was sort of like that, the driver would have to push a pedal next to the clutch pedal every once in a while to lubricate the engine bearings.

Sorry boys, I didn’t mean to start yet another endless knock-down drag-out fight about environmentalism. I was simply offering a piece of history and comparing what we have today with what we had in the 1800s.

Relax, everyone.