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The Swift Hungarian “Kocsi”

The word coach is derived from kocsi, Hungarian for stagecoach. Kocs is a small town in Northwest Hungary where, in the Middle Ages, mail coaches with a novel, exceptionally durable and comfortable steel-spring suspension and steering system were built. At the time these were the most sophisticated horse-drawn vehicle in the Western world.

The complexity of the coach was remarkable for its time. The body was constructed of a light wood frame with wicker work attached. The wheels were light and the single trees were curiously secured to the rear axle. The coach and other vehicles developed during the Renaissance were dramatically superior to the lumbering carts and wagons of earlier times.

In 1382, when Anne of Bohemia (1366-94) came to England to marry King Richard II, she brought with her several sophisticated vehicles from her homeland. While these precursors to the Renaissance kosci were vastly superior to anything produced in England, the atrocious roads of the day would limit their usefulness until the improvements of the 18th century.