Hailing: History of the Taxi

Taxi cab in the streets
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A taxicab or taxi or cab is a car and driver that can be hired to carry passengers to a requested destination.


Before the invention of the car, the practice of vehicles for public hire was in place. In 1640, in Paris, Nicolas Sauvage offered horse-drawn carriages and drivers for hire. In 1635, the Hackney Carriage Act was the first legislation passed that controlled horse-drawn carriages for hire in England.


The name taxicab was taken from the word taximeter. The taximeter is the instrument that measures the distance or time a vehicle travels and allows an accurate fare to be determined. The taximeter was invented by the German inventor, Wilhelm Bruhn in 1891.

Daimler Victoria

Gottlieb Daimler built the world's first dedicated taxi in 1897 called the Daimler Victoria. The taxi came equipped with the newly invented taxi meter. On 16 June 1897, the Daimler Victoria taxi was delivered to Friedrich Greiner, a Stuttgart entrepreneur who started the world's first motorized taxi company.

First Taxi Accident

On September 13, 1899, the first American died in a car accident. That car was a Taxi, there were about one hundred taxis operating on New York's streets that year. Sixty-eight-year-old Henry Bliss was helping a friend from a streetcar when a taxi driver lost control and fatally hit Bliss.

Yellow Taxi Historical Facts

Taxi company owner, Harry Allen was the first person to have yellow taxis. Allen painted his taxis yellow to stand out.

  • Taxi Dreams: By the end of the 19th century, automobiles began to appear on city streets throughout the country. It was not long before a number of these cars were hiring themselves out in competition with horse-drawn carriages.
  • Vance Thompson's Cab Drivers: Vance Thompson (1863-1925) published five articles on horse cab drivers in Paris, London, Dublin, and New York and on gondoliers in Venice.
  • Taxi! A brief history of the London Taxi: The first motorized London taxi, the 1897 Bersey, was electrically powered and was called the Hummingbird because of its sound.
  • In 1922, the Checker Cab Manufacturing Company was founded in Joliet, IL, and production was set for three taxis a day
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Bellis, Mary. "Hailing: History of the Taxi." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, thoughtco.com/hailing-history-of-the-taxi-1992541. Bellis, Mary. (2023, April 5). Hailing: History of the Taxi. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/hailing-history-of-the-taxi-1992541 Bellis, Mary. "Hailing: History of the Taxi." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/hailing-history-of-the-taxi-1992541 (accessed June 10, 2023).