Anybody for dashing through the snow?


If you’re in the market for a rare one-horse open sleigh or pair of horse drawn carriages look no further than Sperryville.

A one-horse open sleigh and pair of horse drawn carriages on display outside Copper Fox Antiques in Sperryville. By John McCaslin

All three finds are currently on display outside Copper Fox Antiques.

“They came from a farm in F.T. Valley,” reveals Copper Fox proprietor Ashleigh Cannon Sharp.

The three early modes of transportation each contains a brass manufacturing plate, including the one attached to a faded red and black carriage built by the “Chas. S. Caffrey Co. of Camden, N.J.”

A brass manufacturing plate attached to one of the carriages. By John McCas

A little research reveals the Charles Caffrey Carriage Co. was manufacturing horse drawn carriages during the second half of the 1800s. In fact, in 1876 the company’s employees organized the Caffrey Cornet band to play at the nation’s centennial celebration.

The company also was an early manufacturer of bicycles, and by 1895 it had built a Caffrey steam car. According to the historical publication CoachBuilt, Dr. F.L. Sweaney of Philadelphia was proud owner of the first Caffrey steam car.

“It had four small steam motors, one driving each wheel, that could be driven individually or in combination. One, two, three, or four wheel drive could be selected by moving a lever. The car weighed 1350 pounds, had a foot brake that also cut off steam, and steam power steering,” according to CoachBuilt.

Caffrey, it was pointed out, later built bodies on Packard chassis.

The second carriage manufacturer’s plate reveals it was built early on by the Cortland Cart & Carriage Company, which CoachBuilt says was heralded decades later “for the debut of the 1916 Hatfield Suburban, the very first station wagon offered as a regular production model by an American Automobile manufacturer.”

The firm was originally founded in the early 1880’s by Hjalmar Malmberg, a Swedish immigrant who embarked upon the manufacture of wagons and buggies in Cortland, New York. Born in Sweden in 1845, Malmberg was already an accomplished wagon builder by the time he emigrated to the United States in 1877, the publication states.

Still sporting its original high-top canopy, the carriage in Sperryville, like the other two in need of restoration, is also equipped with a vintage tin lantern.

As for Santa’s (we cannot vouch for that) large sleigh — a two-seater, with high backs and four sets of runners — it was manufactured by H.B. DeHaven, a company in Pennsylvania.

About John McCaslin 466 Articles
John McCaslin is the editor of the Rappahannock News. Email him at