Tuesday, July 12, 2016

HIPPOMOBILE

Les Calèches de Versailles
This carriage full of tourists rolling along the streets of Versailles is a reminder that the world's first public transportation system was created by Blaise Pascal in the 17th century. In 1662 Pascal, the famed French mathematician, physicist, inventor, philospher, and religious writer, obtained the privilege from Louis XIV to operate the first horse-drawn "buses" which were called "les carrosses à cing sols." For a modest tariff, the carriages, which seated eight, ran on fixed routes at regular hours in Paris, whether emtpy or not. 

Here, "sol" is synonym for "sou" which is an old French term used for a small coin, usually made of copper or brass. Curiously enough, according to the Larousse dictionary the word "hippomobile" is an adjective, although to my thinking it would make a wonderful noun. It is used to describe a vehicle pulled by one or more horses.


©2016 P.B. Lecron

2 comments:

  1. Now, how will I work "hippomobile" into conversation!? No matter, I love knowing it; it makes me smile. Another fun, witty and historically interesting post.

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