What’s a Herdic Cab? What Did They Look Like?

Do you know what a herdic cab is? I’m guessing not. Briefly, it’s a horse-drawn carriage, typically on two wheels, which was commonly used as an omnibus for transportation around urban areas in the late 19th century. It was invented by Peter Herdic of Williamsport, Pennsylvania (also the home of the Little League Baseball World Series).

Do you know? I’m guessing not. Briefly, it’s a horse-drawn carriage, typically on two wheels, which was commonly used as an omnibus for transportation around urban areas in the late 19th century. It was invented by Peter Herdic of Williamsport, Pennsylvania (also the home of the Little League Baseball World Series).

We dug up an amusing story from The Washington Post printed on January 28th, 1881 titled “A Fast Ride for Five Cents.”

A very amusing incident occured [sic] on the Avenue, last evening, in a hotly contested race between a street car and a Herdic cab. The spirit of emulation had apparently seized both drivers on Fifteenth street, and without exchanging a word both began to speed their animals. When they had turned the corner of Fifteenth street to the Avenue, coming down the hill, the street car horses were lashed into a run, and the Herdic horse was showing his best steps, and was leading somewhat. The combined rumble of the car and clatter of the cab produced a roar that made all the passers turn and see whether an avalanche was coming down the Avenue. The spectacle of this unusual activity in these leisurely vehicles was exhilarating, when, to the disgust of the driver of the car, the delight of the Herdic man, and the regret of the the spectators, the car was hailed, in front of Willard’s and the horses were stopped to take on a passenger. The Herdic, of course, sailed swiftly on, but the car was soon started again, and the horses, on a full run, started in pursuit. By the time they had reached Thirteenth street they were about a quarter of a block apart, and both doing their level best, when the Herdic was hailed from the sidewalk and was obliged to stop. The car dashed to the front. Then the race was renewed and all that could be seen was the twinkling lights of the of the vehicles as they rapidly disappeared down the Avenue. The Herdic had apparently got to the front again, but it was impossible to see. It is safe to say that the occupants of the two vehicles never before had a faster ride for five cents.

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