The concept of a chauffeured vehicle has been in existence since the 1700’s. Developed for the exclusively rich, they started as horse drawn carriages, gilded in gold and pulled by only the finest animals. The word limousine is formed from the word Limoges which is the province in France that started it all. The notable feature that makes limousines different from other vehicles — or in this case carriages — is that the driver is in an entirely separate compartment from their passengers.
The first automobile limousine developed in 1902 was designed so the driver sat outside under a covered compartment. Thus bringing us back to the origin of the word limousine, called that because this covered compartment physically resembled the cloak hood worn by those that resided in Limoges. The first actual stretch limousine was created in Arkansas around 1928 and they were often referred to as “big band buses” because they were mainly used to transport famous big band leaders, their orchestras, as well as their instruments to various parts if the United States.
In the 1930′s Limousines really started to take off, used to transport guests of hotels from the airport to the hotel and also on different sightseeing tours. After seeing the growing popularity of the vehicles, the movie industry immediately jumped on board, using limousines to carry film crew and stage personnel around movie sets. During that time, limousines also became a common accessory for movie actors and actresses — you weren’t considered “it” unless you arrived in a stretch limousine.
Along with the comfort, style & other luxury benefits, limousines usage have grown in many countries due to no drink and drive policies implemented by governments, meaning that travelers in vehicles can not have open alcohol containers and must be separated from the driver.
Today, limousines are still used to shuttle the rich and famous, but are also designed to carry much larger numbers of people. The addition of new technologies and different types of vehicles available to stretch has led to a rise in the new style limos — perfect for shuttling large numbers of people around to parties, clubs, weddings & wine tours.