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Traveling in the 1800’s was a lot different to what we have now; there are no cars, high-speed trains or planes to jet us around the world. Back then you wouldn’t have to deal with airport parking tickets or hold ups at the car parks. So how did the population travel back in the 1800’s?

Well transportation in the early 1800’s was primarily done by horse or sail; however, that being said the development and refinement of the steam engine spurred the development of rail and river transportation. But throughout this century, horses and horse-drawn conveyances remained the main method of transportation throughout this timeline. Towards the end of the 1800’s the automobile slowly came into existence yet, it took a while for that mode of transportation to really kick off.

Hot Air Balloon

Believe it or not, people actually used hot air balloons as a way of traveling in the 1800’s. This method occurred in the late 18th century after Henry Cavendish discovered how to isolate hydrogen. With his brother, he lit a bonfire of straw and wool directly underneath a 35 foot balloon in front of a rather large crowd who ended being astonished as they saw the balloon lift off the ground and drift into the sky.

River transport

Before the widespread use of steam engines, traveling by water had to take advantage of wind, currents and manpower for propulsion, so at times this way of traveling caused a bit of difficulty. Much of the river travel in the period was one way, as a keelboat or raft could transport goods downstream easily, but upstream- your travels would turn rather arduous. In regards to goods, most actually travelled over land. Steamboats allowed vessels to travel against certain currents, which eventually created the first two-way river transportation system.


Throughout much of this timeline, like I said in the previous paragraph, most goods were transported by wheels because river transportation deem too difficult at times but like on water, land also had its owns difficulties- the terrain at times was rugged that you’d usually lose some of it via damage. Throughout much of the 18th century, the upper classes and prosperous passengers would travel by stagecoach. This would usually consist of six horses, depending on its size. Most of the time is was rather difficult to manoeuvre these stage coaches but its deemed better than walking and its max speed was four miles per hour which during that century, no one could even imagine travelling at a faster speed. So to its population, this seemed the fastest way in traveling.   


Trains were a common way of traveling in the latter part of this century.  Across the Atlantic pond the first railroad tracks were laid in Hilliard, Ohio in 1852. The railroad station was made up of free boxcars put together to form a building.  The trains took people from one village to another and the fairs ranged from 10 cent to 28 cent.