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Why There Were Limousines 200 Years Before Cars March 7, 2019

Inwood, Manhattan
Why There Were Limousines 200 Years Before Cars, Manhattan, New York

Today, hiring a limo service is a status symbol. It turns out, it’s been that way for hundreds of years. But it didn’t look anything like it does now. For more on the history of this prestigious form of transportation, check out this brief overview.

The History of the Limo Service

Cloaks & Carriages

People were using the word “limousine” as far back as the early 1700s — but back then, a limo service was a horse and large carriage for people of exceptional wealth and power. 

The word, however, didn’t even refer to the horse and carriage! It referred to a big, boxy cloak the coachmen wore to protect themselves from the elements. You can’t drive a horse from inside the carriage, so coachmen had to sit outside when they did their job. Those cloaks were a style first worn in the Limousin region of France. So if you were getting a “limousine,” you were getting someone wearing one of those cloaks to drive you. 

Introduction of Cars

The age of the factory put cars on the road, and within one decade automobiles had replaced horses as the major form of transportation in America. A new kind of ride meant a new kind of limousine. 

The automotive limousines followed the same template as the horse and carriage, and having a limo service was still a pretty big statement. The driver was separate from the passengers, and in the early limousines, the driver was still outside in a covered compartment. 

The Advent of the Stretch

Limo Service New YorkThe first modern style “stretch” limo was debuted in Arkansas in 1928 by the Armbruster company. It didn’t have any of the features we associate with limousines today — it didn’t even have heating! — but it could fit a lot more people, and the drivers were finally moved inside.

Luxury for Everyone

As cars have gotten more advanced, limousines have stayed on the vanguard, and as cars have gotten more affordable, the luxury of using a limo service has become more widely available.


In New York City, First Class Car & Limo Service is the heir to this tradition. With more than 20 years of experience providing luxury transportation to all five boroughs, their fleet of luxury vehicles is available 24/7 and uses advanced navigation systems to make sure customers get where they need to be in style. They can create packages for any budget, and have a great touch with special requests like balloons, candy, and flowers. Find your perfect ride around the city that never sleeps by taking a look at their luxury fleet, or call (212) 304-1111 to make a reservation. Download their easy-to-use app on Google Play™ or the Apple Store®.

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