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Enquiry from Online Galleries regarding "Pair of Coaching Dials"
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Look at what I found on the Online Galleries website!
Height: 16 ½ in (42 cm)
Width: 16 in (40.75 cm)
Regular stagecoach routes began in England and Scotland in the early 17th century, opening up for the first time the prospect of long-distance travel in relative comfort for those not wealthy enough to have their own carriage and servants. Stagecoaches began to acquire a glamour reflected in their names: the Regulator (so reliable that you could set your watch by it), the Mercury and the Flyer.
By the late 18th century transport achieved a new peak of speed and luxury with the advent of the mail coach. Mail coaches were truly the kings of the road, with all other traffic ordered out of their way and turnpikes held open at the sound of their horns, upon pain of a fine for the toll-keeper. The turnaround of horses, mail and passengers at coaching inns was timed to the second, the Formula One pitstop of the day.
A hierarchy developed, as recorded in the “New Bath Guide; Or, Useful Pocket Companion” of 1790. Post coaches were slower than mail coaches and had more passengers squeezed inside and out, but were more affordable for many.
Coaching dials, like this exceptionally rare late 18th century pair in original condition, seem to have hung in pairs with an “M” and a “P” on each dial. We can speculate that the “ M” would be set for the attention of the wealthy gentry, showing the arrival of the next mail coach, with the “P” for the more humble users of the post coaches.
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