1892 Charrette Peugeot


1892 Charrette Peugeot

In the 1890s, Peugeot produced the charrette, a small person-carrier pulled by hand or by dogs. It’s an interesting reminder of final decade before motorized transport took over the roads. There’s a fabulous plaque on the side showing the manufacturer’s name.

I’m not sure why, but small handcarts and dog-carts seem to have been more integral to French culture than British.

The picture above dates from 1914, and the one below shows Mary Pickford in the film Polyanna.

Over the past 100 years, the word ‘charrette’ has taken on a different meaning, and is now more commonly used to describe ‘getting something done to a deadline.’ Apparently, French architectural students used to congregate around these carts to complete their exam work, and the word ‘charrette’ or ‘charette’ was anglicised to describe ‘an intense period of design activity.’ A design charrette is a public workshop – ‘an intensive, hands-on workshop that brings people from different disciplines and backgrounds together to explore design options.’

I found this charrette in a remote area of France that was difficult for collection. Luckily, my friend Alain had an idea. I’d just driven up to London to retrieve some motorcycle parts from Bonhams for a friend of his who’d been stumped about how to get them collected. It turned out that this friend lived close to the brother of the owner of the charrette. Alain explained to the friend that he had to repay the favour of me collecting the motorcycle parts, so the charrette made its way across 500 miles of France, to be delivered to me when Alain came over for the Pioneer Run in March 2011. The logistics of collecting and delivering can be challenging at times, but we always get there in the end.

My original idea was to make an attachment so it could be pulled behind an early Peugeot. But, of course, it’s too beautifully original to risk anything faster than the pace of a dog.

Dog cart photos from: http://terriermandotcom.blogspot.com/2008/10/dog-carts-and-extinction-of-memory.html

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