TAXI-L Gallery of Cab History

Western Development Museum, Saskatoon.

(Winnipeg, Manitoba - 9)

Here's a close-up of a typical cab vehicle, taken in May, 1997 at the Western Development Museum in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The museum (one of four Western Development Museums in the province) has a fine little collection of horse-drawn vehicles, including three omnibuses, along with about a million antique tractors.

According to the Museum's Curatorial Centre, the carriage belonged to the T. Eaton Company and was sent to Saskatoon "from the east". It was used locally in parades. There is no indication as to when it was acquired by Eaton's, and whether or not it was ever used as a cab. However, it closely resembles the cab vehicles depicted in early Winnipeg photos, and its construction is probably quite similar.

In this carriage, the forward part of the roof and the front window could be quickly removed and left in the stable on sunny days. The rear doorposts folded back with the hood. The forward doorposts went with the roof, and the posts forming the frame of the front window folded down to meet each other across the front of the passenger compartment.

The front window (behind the driver's seat) and the two windows flanking the forward passenger seat were removeable. They were held in place by slots at the top and bottom of the frame, and by flat springs at the sides. A tubular rod above the front window still bears shreds of the original curtain.

There are probably windows concealed in the doors. The door window sills are divided at midpoint and hinged at the ends so that they can be folded up against the doorposts, presumably to allow the door windows to slide upward.

According to inscriptions on the brass wheel hubs, the carriage was built by James Cunningham & Son, Rochester, N.Y. (Winnipeg cabs were also imported from eastern Canada or the U.S.) The solid rubber tires are very pitted, suggesting that it has undergone a lot of use, but although worn in places the carriage is in excellent shape.

The interior of the carriage is upholstered in black, and lined with black cloth (see picture below). A charcoal footwarmer (standard equipment in carriages during the winter) is tethered to the floor by a strap.

In carriages where passengers sat face to face, "front seat" and "back seat" had entirely different meanings than they do now. The "front" seat was the rear seat, so called because it faced front. The "back" seat was the forward seat, so called because it faced back. The "front" (rear) seat was the preferred seat, and was therefore offered to ladies by gentlemen, or by the young to their elders.


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Revised February 13, 1998