Monday, March 3, 2008

From Horse and Buggy to CARS

Horse and Buggy

In 1903, the president of the Michigan Savings Bank advised Henry Ford’s lawyer not to invest in Ford Motor Company, saying, “The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a novelty, a fad.”

Other than traveling on foot, horses were the proven method of transportation for centuries. They pulled carts, stagecoaches, covered wagons, and delivery vans. They hauled water tanks, men, and hoses to fires and for a time sped pony express riders to their destinations. So why were people so ready to give horses up for cars?

Think a moment about the barge loads of feed that had to be delivered to a city like New York where about 175,000 horses clip clopped at the turn of the last century! All those well-fed horses produced prodigious amounts of manure that then had to be shoveled and barged out again. The odor and flies were something awful and in the summer heat it was almost unbearable.

Cars on the other hand, didn’t need feed or water and since they didn’t produce manure, there was no fuss and no muss. All you had to do was fill the tank and the car could take you anywhere a road would go. Furthermore, cars could travel long distances at high speeds without getting tired.

Soon there were fire engines that could deliver fire fighters and water in a fraction of the time. In cities like San Francisco which is built on steep hills, fire engines could race up a steep grade while horse drawn fire wagons loaded with heavy equipment were often at risk of sliding back down.

As cars became more affordable, more people opted for cars over horses and within a short time cars replaced horses as the basic from of transportation. Where once cars were a novelty, now it’s the horse that has become a rare sight.

No comments: