ON PATENT CARRIAGE-STEPS, AND SUNDRY OTHER CONVENIENCES.
" THERE is an art in every thing ; and whatever is deserving of being learnt, cannot be unworthy of a teacher." Such was the logical induc- tion of the professor of the art of stepping in and out of a carriage ; who, in a brief introductory lecture upon this fashionable acquirement, remarked its apparent simplicity, yet real complexity ; contrasting the graceful bend of the plumed head of an elegante entering her carriage, with the clumsy stoop of the citizen's wife—the calm commanding ease with which his pupils descended the steps, with the blundering haste of the untutored ; and enlarged upon the importance and infallibility of this test of high fashion. The professor was an enthusiast in his art, and most critical in his judgment of the quality of persons by their manner of entering or alighting from their coaches ; and he invariably posted himself at the door of the Opera, and the entrance a the Palmet- to study the physiognomy of exits and entrances. "The most difficult point of attainment in the .art of mitering acar.. riage;" the professor used to observe, "is the instinctive adaptation of , the motion of the body and the pressure of the foot to the step of a strange carriage : to, acquire facility, elegance, and perfect self-posses- sion as regards your own carriage, will be the work but of a few lessonti.. As with the fan-exercise" of STEELE, there were various manners, particularly of alighting, the selection of which 'depended upon the taste of the individual, and was regulated by circumstances. There was the languishing lounge—the Amazonian step—the zephyr glide—thejuvenile trip—the dignified pas—the bounce—the flouncing twirl, and many others. But the most elaborate part of the science can only be brought into action on the occasion of a drawing-room, when all the skill of the pupil and all the resources of the art are needed, in order to the due management of the hoop and train. Nor were the gentlemen left en- tirely neglected by the professor ; he warned them seriously against such vicious manners as the "physician's bolt," the "running dart," and the "gouty hobble' " inculcating coolness, propriety, and self-command. "Always," said he with gusto, "imagine that you are a monarch or a
minister of state, when you alight ; and beware of fancying yourself a rat when you enter."
The professor was patronised by that sublime dandy Beau BRUM3IEL, whose deprecation of" those horrid coach-steps" he would repeat with great delight. Mr. BRUMMEL used to say, that the sedan was the only vehicle for a gentleman, it having no steps ; and he invariably had his own chair (which was lined with white satin quilted, with down squabs, and a white poodle rug) brough Ito the door of his dressing-room—(on that account always on the ground floor); from whence it was transferred with its owner to the foot of the staircase of the house which he condescended to visit. Mr. BRUMMEL has told me, continued the professor, that to. enter a carriage was torture to him. "Conceive," said he "the horror of sitting in a carriage with an iron apparatus, afflicted with_ the dreadful though vain apprehension of having one's leg crushed by the machinery. Why are not the steps made to fold outside g The only detraction from the luxury of a vis-a-vis is the double distress for both legs !—Excru- ciating idea!" We certainly have ourselves participated in Mr. BRUMMEI:''S alarm, when, after hearing what we fancied to be the overturning of a cart. load of old iron, we have been told that the coach is waiting; and as- cending the crazy "machinery" which bent under the body of the vehicle with the weight of ours, heard the iron skeletons of Steps rattled into the coach, and continuing their convulsive clatter, close to one's• shin to the journey's end. It required an exercise-of-our knowledge of practical mechanics to assure us that our ankles Were notIo be smashed by the aforesaid iron contrivances called steps.
These anecdotes have been recalled to our recollection by the inspectioir - of a patent improvement in coach-steps,. by Mr.-Amasser Sarra, which goes far to obviate the inconveniences so sensitively felt by Mr. BRUMMEL. The invention consists of the application of a simple me- chanical contrivance on the principle of the lever only, by which the opening of the coach-door simultaneously unfolds the steps. The con. trivance is as simple as it is ingenious and convenient; and is applicable to all descriptions of carriages, public or private, that have a door of entrance. SMITH'S patent carriage steps are those of the march, of civilization: and as the march of intellect chiefly affects our scullions and house*
Maids, so these steps are in favour of that numerous and important class of his Majesty's lieges—the footmen ; who, instead of dislocating their arms in letting down and folding up the .,stiff-jointed steps of their masters' carriages, and venting their indignation at the inconvenience of stooping by slamming the door under pretence of the hinges being also stiff, may now shut the carriage-door calmly, and without deranging the propriety of their dress. Admirable contrivance !—Mr. SMITH is also the inventor of the Metallic Shutters, which are wound up or down with great ease, and form a barrier as impregnable to the burglar as the portcullis of a feudal castle ; - between 'whose bars, by the way, mir modem thieves would have easily crept.
We also inspected several other ingenious contrivances, at the manu- factory, 69, Princes Street, Haymarket. Among the most curious and useful of these, are the metallic fastenings for excluding the wet from a room with French windows. Here too we saw an ingenious adaptation of the screw to the purpose of a crane for wharfs and warehouses, which raises and lowers goods at the same time, and is capable of raising two tons' weight by the exertions of a single man : another and great advan- tage is, that it has no need of a stop to prevent the load from running down, as is the case with the common crane ; but the heaviest load will continue to swing midway without any check, until the handle is again turned. A compact and simple yet powerful lever cramp for compressing flooring-boards, is singularly effective, and exemplifies the prodigious powers of the lever: by the ordinary exertions of a man, a deal-board, nine inches broad, is instantly compressed into the space of seven. The utility of this invention is best proved by its general adoption.