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A guard stone
is a metal or stone piece located at the foot of a gateway or wall and which is intended to prevent vehicle wheels from damaging the wall.
Guard stones were developed at the time of horse powered vehicles.
Driving horsepowered vehicles was sometimes difficult for inexperienced coachmen. The wheel and the hub protrude beyond the vehicle's body, and may damage the building.
Many guard stones have been made in the Haussmann's renovations
Haussmann's Renovation of Paris, or the Haussmann Plan, was a modernization program of Paris commissioned by Napoléon III and led by the Seine prefect, Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann, between 1853 and 1870...
, for example in Paris.
Usually they are metal in the shape of an arc, ball or cone. There are also models in hard stone with a sloping back to guide the wheels.
Other locations of guard stones, usually stone or conical shape include:
- Farms entry doors, crossed by heavy horse powered carts.
- Wall angles at the crossing of two streets (before the implementation of sidewalks). In this case, they were often in the same stone of the wall, forming extension of the wall.
- Turns in rural roads or along parapets of bridges.
- Turns climb. In this case, they also allowed the coachman to stop the vehicle to let the horses blow.
Guard stones made of stone were often surrounded by a metal ring to reduce wear.
In cities guard stones are long obsolete. Since they were incorporated as part of a building's structure, they are difficult to destroy. Many remain in Paris in the 2000s.
At the present time, there are facilities with similar purpose, but for cars.
These devices are installed at the entrance of a garage or car wash.