The name “governess car” was first used in England in the 1880s for an improved version of the Irish inside car of earlier years. This name was given by the firm of Allen & Co. of Long Acre, London, for a pony-sized model made with rounded corners and a cut-back portion in the center of the right seat to allow the driver, who sat to the rear of this seat, to face forward. The cart was copied by some French builders and called by them a “tonneau.” Larger versions in Britain were usually called “tub carts.” Governess “cart,” rather than “car,” was the name used by most American carriage builders.
The governess cart was another of the carriages bought from Ben W. Colburn of Tulare, California, in June, 1961. It was then in good original condition and complete with the Guiet lamps and a stick basket.
It is a fine example of the quality of the work done by this noted French builder. Guiet & Co. enjoyed the patronage of several wealthy Americans who spent a great deal of time in Paris. Among them were James Gordon Bennett, Eugene Higgins, H. Ridgway, T. Suffern Tailer, and William G. Tiffany, all coaching men. Guiet & Co. built several coaches for these gentlemen. The firm prided itself on using only the best materials, and for carriages built for residents of other countries, they would use woods of the kind used in that particular country for the main parts of the carriage.