SEDAN-CHAIR, a portable chair or covered vehicle, with side windows, and entrance through a hinged doorway at the front, the roof also opening to allow the occupant to stand. It is carried on poles by two “chairmen.” Alike in Paris and in London the sedan-chair man was an institution—in the one city he was usually an Auvergnat, in the other an Irishman.
The sedan-chair was a fashionable mode of transport in towns up to a century or so ago. It took its name from the town of Sedan, in France, where it was first used, and was introduced into England by Sir S. Duncombe in 1634. Although a typically 18th-century vehicle it was used in the 17th, and had been known much earlier. Indeed, the ancient sedia gestatoria of the popes is really a rudimentary form of sedan-chair. These vehicles were often beautifully painted, even the greatest French pastoralists not disdaining to 'embellish their panels. It is still in use at the public baths at Ischl, in Austria, and also in the city of Bath, England, as a mode of transit in connexion with the medical baths. The sedan-chair can be taken into the bedroom, and the invalid conveyed without exposure to the outer air to and from the mineral-water bath. The poles are so arranged that the chair may be carried up and down stairs and still preserve its horizontal position.