The cartoon above, penned in 1899 and titled The Passing of the Horse, is from artist John S. Pughe (1870-1909).
In the image a horse sits atop an early automobile and uses a handkerchief to wipe the tears from his eyes, while a line of bear police escort him to the Museum of Natural History and the crowd follows.
The horse carried our loved ones and our stuff from the East Coast to the West Coast. It raised the walls on our houses and barns. It was America’s original pickup truck. It was also a member of our family and a trusted confidant, a keeper of secrets. It was universally needed and loved.
But the automobile, along with other forms of evolving transport, would displace the horse.
Today the horse is mostly a luxury item and not a necessity. While the horse still works in some parts of America, such as crowd control in New York or rounding steer in Texas, it retired long ago.
The cartoon above made me begin to think what life might have been like in America as we transitioned from horse to automobile.
How chaotic the streets were with automobiles, horses, trolleys, pedestrians, cyclists - all sharing the same street – maddening!
The automobile was new, fascinating, alluring. But did people dream of owning horses in the same way we dream of super cars? In 1875 did Little Timmy sketch images of thoroughbred stallions till he ran out of sunlight?
Stop and put yourself in the shoes of a teenage boy in the early 1900s. Assuming you aren't killed by disease or accident, what might your thoughts have been upon seeing the horse be put to pasture and the automobile become a reality.
I’m curious if Jalops from 2113 will write posts, depicting images of our now vintage 'Save the Manual' T-shirts, saying things like; “not only did they drive their own cars, but they shifted their own gears!”