We are very proud to announce the completion of the project to reproduce the horse-drawn carriage of the 3rd US President, Thomas Jefferson. The carriage, called Poplar Forest Phaeton, was reconstructed at the request of The Corporation For Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest, a foundation established in 1983 to protect the president's memory and rebuild the Poplar Forest private residence.
Poplar Forest Residence is located in Bedford County, Virginia, on an area of nearly 2,000 hectares. In 1764 this tobacco plantation was purchased by the father of the wife of the later president of the United States, and the Jeffersons inherited it after his death in 1773.
The construction of the mansion, which Thomas Jefferson designed himself, began in 1806. Poplar Forest, compared to the official ancestral residence in Monticello, was an intimate place that gave Thomas Jefferson peace. The president visited the plantation several times a year, the last time in 1823.
The Corporation For Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1983 by the initiative of individual people who set protecting the president's memory and rebuild the Poplar Forest as goal. The plantation and buildings were taken over by the foundation in 1984 and opened to visitors two years later. The foundation's activity is based on donations, and it was an anonymous donor who financed the reproduction of Thomas Jefferson's favorite horse drawn carriage.
The Foundation ordered a carriage at the GLINKOWSKI plant at the end of 2019. The challenge while recreating the carriage was that the original documentation of the project consisted of only the three surviving photos. The original horse-drawn carriage burned down in the 1960s.
In the process of designing and reconstructing the carriage, apart from engineers from the GLINKOWSKI company supervised by Henryk Glinkowski, the following persons were also involved: Richard Nicoll, former director of the horse carriages department of the renowned Colonial Williamsburg museum and Jack Alvarez of Driving Esssentials, an authorized dealer of the GLINKOWSKI brand in the USA.
- In addition to historical sources that we obtained from American partners, we conducted our own consultations and research with the help of historians who have been cooperating with us for years on reproductions and restoration of carriages - says Henryk Glinkowski, the owner.
The carriage design was largely based on well-documented sources depicting Chew Phaeton, owned by Benjamin Chev, president of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, a contemporary of Jefferson. The Chew Phaeton was considered to be equivalent to Jefferson's carriage, as there were only about 80 to 90 carriages in all of Philadelphia at that time.
Phaetons were open-ended sports carriages that were very popular in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Designed for one or two horses, with a slightly sprung body on four large wheels, they were light, stable and allowed for fast driving.
The reproduction of this historic horse carriages, from the planned four months, was extended to almost a year.
- We delivered the carriage to Poplar Forest in November 2020 - says Hubert Glinkowski responsible for sales and marketing - Due to the difficulties in obtaining historical sources, and later the coronavirus pandemic, the reproduction process of the carriage extended by several months. - he adds.
Poplar Forest Phaeton, as it was named, will be used by The Corporation For Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest foundation for educational, tourist and promotional purposes.
More about Poplar Forest: https://www.poplarforest.org
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