98 years ago today . . . this chauffeur's badge expired. The copper badge—to be worn in the hat of a New York chauffeur—was issued in 1923 and it expired on 1 July 1924.
New York required professional drivers to be licensed. A distinction was made between a chauffeur and a "hack" (from the British term "hackney driver"—a throwback to the days of horse-drawn carriages for hire). A licensed chauffeur might drive for a single private client or for the owner of a company with a fleet of cars. Chauffeurs were trained to drive safely, defensively, and were expected to offer a higher level of customer service and elegance in their deportment. A hack (or taxi) driver was also expected to drive safely and provide basic courteousness, however, the relationship between the driver and the passenger was typically more spontaneous, immediate and short-lived. A taxi could be flagged-down on the street and instantly engaged. A chauffeur was booked ahead of time (or on permanent staff) and might remain on-call for an extended period of time. A chauffeur would be held to a higher standard of dress and cleanliness of his vehicle.
This copper badge, with screw back fitting, was made to fit into a driver's hat. It could also fit into a jacket or coat's buttonhole. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.
Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well! Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).
We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com).
Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only). 917-446-4248