Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Carraige* (for Carriage*)

Dalmatian is one of those words I've had trouble with all my life, despite having read Dodie Smith's The Hundred and One Dalmatians at a young age. At least I'm not alone -- Dalmation* is a high probability error that occurs almost 900 times in WorldCat! However, Dalmation isn't today's typo...what do Dalmatians have to do with carriages, you ask?

Dalmatians in North America are often associated with fire fighters and are adopted as mascots for fire houses. However, they weren't always just for show and companionship. When horse-drawn fire carriages (not carraiges) were used, the Dalmatians ran ahead of the horses, finding a clear path. They were also kept by aristocrats for their interesting coats and as companions for the horses. In addition to running with the carriages, Dalmatians frequently lived in the stalls and slept with the horses at night.

Carraige* occurs less frequently than Dalmation, appearing just over 150 times in WorldCat. Might want to check your library catalogue for both!

(Dalmation puppy photo from DailyPuppy.com)

Leanne Olson

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