Journal Article

The Mail-Coach Revolution: Landmarks in Travel in Germany Between the Seventeenth and Nineteenth Centuries

Klaus Beyrer

in German History

Published on behalf of German History Society

Volume 24, issue 3, pages 375-386
Published in print July 2006 | ISSN: 0266-3554
Published online July 2006 | e-ISSN: 1477-089X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1191/0266355406gh379oa
The Mail-Coach Revolution: Landmarks in Travel in Germany Between the Seventeenth and Nineteenth Centuries

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The mailcoach, more than any other mode of transport, has been romanticized and portrayed as the epitome of old-fashioned travel for Mr and Mrs Average. This idyllic picture dates from the growth of railway travel, which for ever altered perceptions of earlier travelling patterns. In fact, before the coming of the railways things were very different. The introduction of timetabled ordinari mailcoaches from the seventeenth century onwards brought about a transport revolution of entirely new proportions. The mail coaches were rapid, comfortable and reliable, and they brought about a new understanding of space and time. The expansion of travel enabled by the mail coaches opened the door to other new patterns of thought: the Enlightenment, and the emancipation of ordinary people from the restrictions of feudal society. This new mode of transport reached its apotheosis in the early nineteenth century with the introduction of the express coaches and the rapid postal coaches. The overarching principle, however, is that as the centuries pass, revolutions in structures and infrastructures are the determining factor in enabling society to pass cultural milestones.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: European History

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