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Albert Car - J. Hackett, Fitzroy, circa 1860s Object Reg. No: ST 018251

Summary:
A one-horse two-wheeled vehicle with cross-wise back to back bench seats facing forward and rearward. Capable of carrying five to seven passengers in addition to the driver. Used as a taxi cab in Melbourne, this style of vehicle is believed to have been developed during the early 1850s, being based loosely on the Irish jaunting car and was often referred to as a "Jingle", "Melbourne Cab", "Molly Brown", "Patent Cab" or "Albert Car". Albert Cars were widely seen on Melbourne streets by the late 1850s and remained in use until the late 1870s, when they were largely replaced by more comfortable wagonettes.

The distinctive style of hood which folded to the centre of the vehicle was designed by a coach trimmer Mr Joseph Fowler and his son-in-law, the Irish-born coachbuilder Mr John Hackett of Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, who in June 1858 took out a patent for "an arrangement by which the covers of back and front seats of carriages fall towards the centre of the body" suitable for "dog carts, mail phaetons, Albert conveyances and any other carriage that required passengers to sit back to back". An example of a Victorian cab of this distinctive style was displayed at the London Exhibition of 1862.

This vehicle was originally owned and operated by the donor's uncle, Mr Thomas D. Phillips, of Peel Street, Prahran, a cab proprietor of many years standing. He did not ply for hire but had a number of regular customers. References to this type of vehicle and Thomas D. Phillips are given in the "History of Prahran", by J.B. Cooper, 1924, p.147. It is reputed to have carried the Prince Consort as a passenger during his visit to Victoria in 1867 and was subsequently named "Prince of Wales" in his honour. Most of Melbourne's Albert Cars were given individual names which were painted on the vehicles.

A photograph of the cab appeared in the Melbourne Argus in Jan 1931, at the time the museum acquired this vehicle with the caption "AN HISTORIC MEMENTO - This Albert car or "jingle" used to ply for hire between St. Kilda and Prahran about 70 years ago, the fare being 3d. a mile. It has been presented to the Technical Museum by Mr T.D. Phillips, of Windsor, who owned it for 50 years."
Description:
Two-wheel single-axle horsedrawn vehicle with rear and forward facing passenger seats and folding hood.
Length overall 12 ft, width overall 7 ft, height overall 8 ft.
Acquisition Information:
Donation from S. Phillips, 1931
Discipline: Technology
Dimensions: 250 cm (Height), 185 cm (Width), 430 cm (Length)
Weight: 500 g (Weight)
Dimension Comment: Length overall 12 ft, width overall 7 ft, height overall 8 ft.

More information

Tagged with: horsedrawn vehicles
Themes this item is part of: Transport Collection
Primary Classification: ROAD TRANSPORT
Secondary Classification: Horse Drawn Vehicles
Tertiary Classification: hire cabs
Inscriptions: Marked with Prince of Wales coat of arms & motto "ich dien." Also "Prince of Wales."
Designer: Mr John Hackett, Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia, circa 1858
Past Owner: Mr Thomas Phillips, Prahran, Victoria, Australia, by 1881-1931
References: References to this type of vehicle and Thomas D. Phillips are given in the "History of Prahran", by J.B. Cooper, 1924, p.147. The Argus, 11/11/1880, stated "An incident of the past few years has been the disappearance of the old two-wheeled Albert car from our streets..."

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