Wagonette or Body Break

Healey & Co.
New York
Circa 1910

The earliest form of “breaks” appeared in Britain sometime in the closing years of the 18th century in the form of what might now be called a “skeleton break,” intended for use only in training horses for pair or four-in-hand work. In the 1840s, breaks with the addition of a wagonette body were built, and these became known as “body breaks.”

The addition of a removable forward-facing seat behind the box seat was a later development, and breaks with this addition were sometimes called “built-up breaks.” The Healey break is built on a perch undercarriage with telegraph springs like a coach. The axle arms have Timken roller bearings, which had come into use for carriage a few years earlier.

The break was built for Colonel Jay Coogan of Gladstone, New Jersey, who was a keen driving enthusiast. Mr. Seabrook bought the break from Colonel Coogan in 1954. The paintwork was done by Tom Sullivan, an English coachpainter, in the Seabrook workshop in 1972.

The firm of Healey & Co. was started in 1849 by William Williams. He was awarded a Gold Medal for work exhibited at the American Institute Fair in 1850. Afterwards, William Healey became a partner, and the firm then became Healey, Williams & Co. About 1880, a new factory was built on West 43rd Street, New York. This was a six-story building with a large elevator for transferring carriages to the different departments. There was also a repository on Broadway. The firm became Healey & Co. in the 1890s and remained one of the leading builders of high-class carriages in New York City. They built the “Arrow” coach for the Ladies Four-in-Hand Driving Club of New York in 1901.

Helping preserve our horse-drawn heritage for over 50 years.