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Sunday, 16 March 2014

Chauffeur

Early motor cars run on a steam-operated principle, so the drivers have to heat up (French chauffer) the vehicles before they start. “Chauffeur” was the name given for these warmer-uppers.

Only the very wealthy could afford the first automobiles, and they generally employed chauffeurs rather than driving themselves. A 1906 article in The New York Times reported that "...the chauffeur problem to-day is one of the most serious that the automobilist has to deal with.", and complained that "...young men of no particular ability, who have been earning from $10 to $12 a week, are suddenly elevated to salaried positions paying from $25 to $50..." and recommended the re-training of existing coach drivers.

In the United States ice hockey player Vladimir Konstantinov was badly injured when his recently hired chauffeur, Richard Gnida, already serving a license suspension for drunken driving, lost control of their limousine and hit a tree. The accident ended his career just six days after the Red Wings 1997 Stanley Cup victory.

In Saudi Arabia women are allowed to fly aircraft, though they must be chauffeured to the airport because it’s illegal for them to drive a car.

A female chauffeur is called a chauffeuse.

Sources WikipediaDictionary of Phrase and Fable by Nigel Rees

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