КАРЕТА (ит. carretta), большой закрытый комфортабельный экипаж с окнами, дверцами и ступеньками.
Рыдван, колымага, повозка с крытым кузовом на пружинах. Счастье едет в карете, а с умом идет пешком. В карете цугом по грибы не ездят. Карета не карета, лошади не лошади! все щегольское, много прнхотей. Каретмый, к карете относящ. Каретник м. каретный, вообще повозочный мастер. || Сарай, для постановки повоэок. Каретнаца, жена каретника; -ников, -ницын, ему, ей прнадлежщ. Каретничий, мастерству этому свойственый.
In the Middle Ages all travellers who were not walking rode, save the elderly and the infirm. A trip in an unsprung cart over unpaved roads was not lightly undertaken. Closed carriages began to be more widely used by the upper classes in the 16th century, and better sprung vehicles were developed in the 17th century. New lighter and more fashionably varied conveyances, with fanciful new names, began to compete with one another from the mid-18th century. Coachbuilders cooperated with carvers and gilders, painters and lacquerworkers, glazers and upholsterers to produce not just the family's state coach for weddings and funerals but light, smart fast comfortable vehicles for pleasure riding and display.
In British and French coaches, the coachman drove from a raised coachbox at the front. In Spain the driver continued to ride one of the horses.
From the 1860s, few rich Europeans continued to use their posting coaches for long-distance travel: a first-class railway carriage was the faster modern alternative. Then, in the 1890s, just as automobiles came into use, "coaching" became an upper-class sport in Britain and American, where gentlemen would take the reins of the kinds of large vehicles of types generally driven by a professional coachman.
Some of the names for types of carriages have been adopted to describe automotive car body styles, while others are now the trivia of history: coupé, victoria, Brougham, landau and landaulet, cabriolet, (giving us our cab), phaeton, and limousine— all once denoted particular models of carriages. So did the unfamiliar calèche or calash), berline, diligence, britzska, surrey, and barouche and the open vis-à -vis similar to a landau (see illustration above).
Two-wheeled conveyances went by other names: gig, Hansom cab, chaise (corrupted to shay), sulky, and trap. A buggy might have two wheels or four, with a minimal, inexpensive body (a "piano-box buggy").
Other types are: