Charles Bianconi

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

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Bianconi, Charles, was born 26th September 1785, at Tregolo, in the Duchy of Milan, Italy, where his father is said to have owned a small silk factory. In 1802 he came to Ireland as apprentice to an Italian print-seller, who was in business in Temple-bar, Dublin. In this capacity Bianconi travelled on foot throughout Ireland, peddling his master's stock. In 1806, when out of his time, he found himself in possession of about £50, and established himself as a print-seller, first at Tipperary, then in Waterford, and afterwards in Clonmel. In the prosecution of his business he was led to reflect upon the then difficulties of travelling throughout Ireland, and his practical mind saw an opening for a profitable speculation — the establishment of cars between the principal towns. He commenced in 1815, by a one-horse vehicle between Clonmel and Cahir. This proved remunerative; and the termination of the war enabling him to purchase horses cheaply, it was not many years before he had one hundred cars of various sizes traversing Ireland, performing daily 3,800 miles, at an average charge of 1 ¼d. per mile for each passenger. When the railway system threw him off the main lines, his enterprise and intelligence opened up new fields; and by 1858 he had even extended his operations. In August 1831, he obtained letters of naturalization in Ireland, filled the office of Mayor of Clonmel, and was appointed a Deputy-Lieutenant.

While amassing a large fortune, his "Bianconi cars" conferred inestimable advantages upon Ireland. He died 22nd September 1875, having all but completed his 90th year. He has borne the following testimony to the character of the Irish people: "My conveyances, many of them carrying very important mails, have been travelling during all hours of the day and night, often in lonely and unfrequented places; and during the long period of forty years that my establishment is now in existence, the slightest injury has never been done by the people to my property, or that entrusted to my care."

Note from Addenda:

Bianconi, Charles — Mrs. Morgan John O'Connell's interesting life of her father had not appeared when this notice was written. Mr. Bianconi was born 24th September 1786; so that at the time of his death in 1875, he had all but completed his 89th year. He died and was buried on his estate of Longford, near Thurles.[233]

Sources

233. Manuscript and Special Information, and Current Periodicals.

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