After weeks of correspondence and coordination, a couple from Arkansas donated a mourning coach to Cowtown. A first for our collection, a mourning coach is the vehicle ridden in by the family of the deceased on their way to the funeral or burial.
This mourning coach was manufactured by the Riddle Coach and Hearse Company of Ravenna, Ohio. Founded in 1831 as the Clark Carriage Company, Henry Riddle purchased the company with Charles Merts and it was renamed Merts and Riddle Coach and Hearse Company. The manufacturing process took place solely in the Ravenna factory. This included separate spaces for wood working, carving, blacksmithing, and painting. Pictured below are the factory exterior and the wood working room.
In 1891, Merts sold his share of the business to Riddle and the name changed to Riddle Coach and Hearse Company. In 1911, the company transitioned to manufacturing motorized hearses as well as ambulances, changing its name to Riddle Manufacturing Company, before eventually closing in 1926.
While currently in storage, this piece will go in our new carriage works building, once constructed. I will keep you updated on its progress.