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Charles Bianconi


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Charles Bianconi.


Carlo Bianconi was born in Italy on 24th September 1786, he was apprenticed to a print maker who took him to Dublin, Charles as he called himself began selling his employers print while he traveled the country around Waterford and Wexford.

In 1809 he opened a shop in Clonmel County Tipperary selling mirrors, prints and dealing in gold. The financial decline that followed the end of the Napoleonic war forced down the price of grain and horses. Bianconi realized it would be possible to compete with the canals and stagecoaches for the carriage of passengers.

Bianconi had negotiated a mail contract with the government and on the 6th July 1815 the first car (A two wheel cart carrying six passengers back to back, similar to a jaunting car seen today) made the ten mil journey between Clonmel and Cahir in County Tipperary.

Within a year his network covered most of Tipperary and Wexford, and within twenty years a large part of the country was traversed by his cars and coaches which had developed into different sizes.

In 1831 he became a naturalized British subject, 1844 saw him elected mayor of Clonmel, and in 1846 he bought Longfield a grand country house near Cashel in County Tipperary.

Bianconi was an astute foreword thinking businessman, when the railways began to develop in Ireland he bought shares in various companies, and timed his cars to connect with the arrival of the trains. He suffered an accident in 1865 and began selling parts of his company, he died at Longfield on 22nd September 1875.

The paragraph below is reprinted from Samuel Lewis' directory of Ireland of 1837.

Great facilities of intercourse throughout the country are afforded by the exertions of Mr. Bianconi, an intelligent Italian settled at Clonmel, who first established a communication between Clonmel and Cahir by a jaunting car in 1815, and now has depots of cars and horses in every post-town in the county, and in all the counties of Munster except Clare, and of Connaught except Sligo, and in the counties of Carlow, Kilkenny, King’s, Queen’s, Longford, Westmeath, and Wexford in Leinster, in which 84 cars, 816 horses, and 469 men are constantly engaged ; some of them carry the cross mails.

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