Physical Object: Miniature Carriage for Commodore Nutt (George Washington Morrison Nutt)

From Barnum Museum

Date manufactured/created
Miniature carriage or coach, ca. 1862, with wooden body carved to resemble a giant walnut.  The walnut was a humorous reference to George Washington Morrison Nutt, a performer at P. T. Barnum's American Museum, for whom this show carriage was made.  A little person, Nutt was known by the stage name "Commodore Nutt."  The 7.5-foot long carriage features a deeply carved, center-hinged body containing front and back-facing seats, upholstered in blue wool.  There are four quarter-circle windows in the body, two on each side, so the passenger(s) could peer out.  The carriage has a special support for the back half the walnut for it to rest on when the carriage is opened, whereas the front half of the walnut rests on the coachman's seat when opened.  It is unclear how Nutt entered the coach unless there was a step stool brought along, as there are no attached steps for the passengers, unlike the driver who has two.  The coachman's seat is draped in a dull purple wool fabric, fitted to the seat dimensions, and with a 17- inch drop hanging in soft folds like a tablecloth. The footboard is made of wood and painted black.  This carriage features  front wheels measure 26 inches in diameter and have 10 spokes, and the rear wheels measure 32 inches in diameter and have 12 spokes. The wooden wheels have iron rims or tires, while the springs of the undercarriage are made of steel.  The body is attached to the undercarriage with a combination of leather straps and bolts.  Overall, the carriage measures in at 41 inches wide and 46.5 inches high.  It is unknown what kind of wood the walnut itself is made of.

George Washington Morrison Nutt (April 1, 1848 - May 25, 1881) was a performer who worked for P. T. Barnum in the 1860s and 1870s.  He was born in New Hampshire, and because of his exceptionally small size, was introduced to Barnum who promptly hired both Nutt (age 13), and his brother, also a little person.  Barnum gave him the stage name Commodore Nutt.  Ten years younger than Charles Stratton ("General Tom Thumb"), Nutt became the new child star at the American Museum, but never achieved the same level of fame as Stratton.  Nutt was sometimes paired with Charles S. Stratton in performances, and later Nutt joined forces with Stratton and his wife Lavinia, and Lavinia’s sister Minnie; the quartet made a successful three-year world tour.  He quit the company in 1872, but his own attempts to start a company never quite took off, and his financial resources dwindled.  Nutt died of Bright's disease on May 25, 1881, in New York City.
46 in H88 in L, 31.875 in Diameter
Measurement Notes: 88 inc. from front wheel to rear Front wheel diameter 31 7/8 in. Carriage body, 36-38 in. Height at top of seat, 46 in. 56 in high to top of carriage
Measurement Types: Item (Overall)
Accession/ID number