If you have ever hired a limo, you will have experienced the height of luxury and relaxation. But while you were there, you may have wondered a little bit about the history of these fantastic vehicles. Not many people know who came up with the idea of a stretch limo and how this person managed to make them so incredibly popular. Of course, over the years, the limo has changed regularly, refining itself each time with added luxuries and more. The Hummer Limo, for instance, is just one example of how the world changes to suit tastes. So let’s take a look at the limo and the role it has played in our collective history.
Etymology of ‘Limousine’
The very first time limousine services were offered was in 1902. The vehicle used was made up of two compartments, the back one being reserved for the passenger. This compartment was completely enclosed for enhanced privacy and protection from the elements. The front compartment, for the driver, wasn’t enclosed although it did feature a covered top. It looked very much like the hooded cloaks that French shepherds wore in the Limousin area, and this is where the name came from.
The Stretch Limo
For about 20 years, all limousines looked the same, with the two compartments. But then the first stretch limo graced our roads in the 1920s. They were manufactured by Armbruster, a company in Arkansas. They were used, primarily, to transport big bands, as it would hold not just band members but their instruments as well. Instead of being called stretch limos, they were referred to as ‘big band buses’. Benny Goodman and Glen Miller made them popular.
Over the next ten or so years, regular Americans started to become interested in limousines. They were symbolic with big bands and famous musicians for a long time but, as always, everyday people wanted to experience what famous people experience every day. To make this a reality, some companies started to see a business in picking people up from the airports using a limousine. This is something that these services are still frequently used for today. The service was often referred to as an ‘airport stretch coach’, and they would often be used by groups of travelers, rather than single ones.
However, Hollywood also became interested in these vehicles, albeit primarily to transport large and delicate equipment. The limousine still wasn’t really the vehicle of pleasure it is now. But because Hollywood started using them, people came to see them as synonymous with luxury and extravagance. Needless to say, people wanted a part of that, and that was the real birth of the stretch limo as a luxury method of transport.
Today, they can be hired by people from all walks of life. While they continue to be updated, most updates focus on further enhancing the feelings of comfort and luxury. Additionally, many limos now have themes, making them perfect for certain kinds of parties.