King Ludwig II, the Bavarian king who also built the Neuschwanstein castle, was an enthusiast about sophisticated technology. A unique collection of Royal sleighs, the most important of its kind, is in the Marstall museum at the Nymphenburg castle in Munich. There you can see several Gala Carriages of the Bavarian King and the Wittelsbacher family.
Ludwig was born in 1845 at the Nymphenburg castle and became King at young and tender age of 18 years after his father Maximilian II became suddenly ill and died. Ludwig II only reigned over Bavaria for 22 years, he was found dead in the Starnberger Lake in 1886 at age 40. He is known for building his dream castles Neuschwanstein, the Linderhof and Herrenchiemsee to escape the royal society and political world. Ludwig II is called the “Fairytale King”, he also admired the French “Sun King” Louis XIV (1643 to 1714) who sought absolute monarchy and lived lavishly in the Palace of Versailles.
The sledge you see below is from 1878 and the one year older carriage frame is the only surviving multifunctional snow vehicle from the Munich court, as announced by the Bavarian Palace Administration in Munich. The splendid car body could be transferred to the carriage or sled harness, depending on requirements and the time of year. The neo-rococo-style car was used in the vicinity of Linderhof Palace and Hohenschwangau.
Ludwig ll enthusiastically embraced the newest achievements and innovations of electric power, surrounded himself by electrical engineers and pioneers. He visited industrial exhibitions and read many publications on this subject, and got his inspiration on building a high tech sleigh for that epoche.
He lavishly decorated his royal sledge. It had to be grandiose, lit by electricity for the fairytale king’s sleigh rides, which were mainly done at night. In the body of the sleigh was an electric battery under the seat, with which the two front glass lanterns could be illuminated. The setting of the light intensity was adjustable, and done by a servant who sat in the back of the carriage.
The royal court carriage manufacturer Johann Michael Mayer was paid for the sleigh accordingly. He received 140,000 marks for the sledge and around 118,000 marks for the carriage frame.
The sledge was restored in 2015, the cleaning and restoration of the sled followed as can be seen today. The Meitinger Foundation covered the total costs of 35,000 euros.
The Marstallmuseum in Nymphenburg Palace in Munich is housed in the former stables in the southern part of the palace. It is one of the most important court coach collections in the world. The inventory shows a fleet of vehicles from the time of the Bavarian and Palatinate electors and kings of the House of Wittelsbach.