We all know that we must equip our carriages with a minimum of accessories and complements in order to be able to show them correctly during an exhibition. Beginning with the whip, or the lanterns until arriving at a suitable dress for its occupants that includes the hat, the footwear and/or the apron there is a great amount of accessories and complements that will help us to return with a greater accuracy the correct historical value of the carriage during its exhibition.
As defined by Sallie Walrond in her magnificent work “Encyclopaedia of Carrige Driving” of the year 1988:
“A well-equipped presentation is one that creates a vision of overall harmony. Any display of ostentation immediately detracts from what might otherwise have been a pleasing vision. What is considered to be in good taste for one carriage may be totally inappropriate for another. Country and sports cars are equipped very differently from those used for state occasions or used in the city. The harness should be suitable for the vehicle, and the horse for both. Generally speaking, accessories and complements refer to items such as cisterns, lamps, livery, cases and boxes for various uses, parasols, whips, tool kits and watches, to name but a few”.
Definitely, accessories and complements are the final touch of any type of vehicle. Whether it is all the accessories needed for a Park Drag or just a simple tool kit for a buggy, we are obliged to recover the true historical value of our buggy through the correct use of accessories that allow us to achieve true excellence during the exhibition.
Unfortunately there is currently very little documentation available to collectors and amateurs in general that allows them to know exactly the number of accessories and their correct use in relation to the carriage they own. Institutions such as the American Carriage Association are doing a great job recovering this information from old publications, such as The Hub, and publishing different treatises and essays that are helping enormously in this work.
However, even if we know exactly what kind of accessories we need, where can we find them? During the more than 200 years of its existence, the thousands of accessories and complements for our carriages have been spreading through countless antique shops, private collections or have simply disappeared forever. The collector today faces the difficult challenge of recovering these unique and exclusive pieces in time.
For years, at DHD Dorantes Harness Makers we have been collecting all kinds of objects, garments and other accessories so that our craftsmen can work on them with the same love as on our harnesses and bring them back to life after a careful restoration. In this way, in our house our customers can walk through our showroom and find on our shelves an infinite number of objects and accessories ready to return to the carriage they belonged to. A journey in time in which the clocks and their boxes, the lanterns, the baskets, the parasols, the whips, the chisteras , or the liveries have a story to tell many times with anecdotes that surprise us.