Object Record

  • Email This Page
  • Send Feedback
Catalog Number 223
Collection Carriage Collection Vehicles
Object Name Coach, Berlin
Place of Origin France
Maker Unknown
Date 1775-1785
Dimensions H-89 W-75 L-192 inches
Owned Pianetti family
Notes The berlin coach was invented circa 1660 by Col. Philip de Chiese, an Italian employed by the King of Prussia. It was named after that country's capital city. The berlin represented a major innovation in the design of coach undercarriage construction: to reduce the weight of the vehicle and improve its balance, two lighter perches instead of a single heavy perch were used to connect the front transom to the rear axle. The curved "crane-neck" perches used in this vehicle allow the front wheels to turn under the body, decreasing the turning radius needed by the vehicle; earlier forms of the berlin featured straight double perches. Whip springs, used in conjunction with leather braces, decreased the swinging motion associated with earlier coaches that had braces connected to rigid pillars. Although the berlin undercarriage design is usually associated with coach construction, it was also used with other types of vehicles.

The entire body of this coach is gilded wood. The panels are decorated with painted allegorical figures bordered by floral and fruit clusters. The band below the windows has a border of eagles and lions. Carved and gilded figures are attached to the corner pillars of the body. The hammercloth is of red striped voided velvet.
Credit line Museum Purchase, 1953.