How working horses handled hot city summers

By about 1900, some city streets featured drinking fountains for thousands of working horses, courtesy of the local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

They were also treated to free cold curbside showers, as seen in the 1911 Library of Congress photo above.

And in the strange but true category, the SPCA had a plan to give away free straw sombreros to shield working horses’ eyes from the sun:

“The hats will be specially prepared by a horse outfitter in Union Square, following a pattern designed by [SPCA superintendent] Hankinson,” wrote the New York Times in June 1902.

“The hat, known as the horse sombrero, will be made of coarsely woven straw, about sixteen inches in diameter. The hat has an extraordinary flat brim, and, with the exception of the large holes for the horse’s ears, has the appearance of an ordinary hat.”

The SPCA got the idea from the street horses in Paris, all of whom wore sombreros in the summer, the Times goes on to say. Photo above sent in by an Ephemeral reader.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

10 Responses to “How working horses handled hot city summers”

  1. How Working Horses Handled Hot City Summers (via Ephemeral New York) | Joseph A. DePinto, LCSW Says:

    [...] By about 1900, the city had set up drinking fountains for its thousands of working horses. They were also treated to free cold curbside showers, courtesy of the local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. And in the strange but true category, the SPCA also gave away free straw sombreros to shield working horses' eyes from the sun: "The hats will be specially prepared by a horse outfitter in Union Square, following a pattern designed b … Read More [...]

  2. mykola (mick) dementiuk Says:

    There used to be a concrete bucket (about bathtub size) for horses on 1st Ave & 14th Street, next to the church, though I had never seen any horses there, but it was filled with trash and empty beer cans by the time I saw it in the 50s-60s.

  3. JP Says:

    found a couple image of horses-in-hats:

    and

    http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/90003048/Hulton-Archive

  4. Nabe News: June 28 - Bowery Boogie | A Lower East Side Chronicle Says:

    [...] the heat, even with air conditioning.  But how did the work-horses of the nineteenth century stay cool? [Ephemeral [...]

  5. Kaley Davidson Says:

    It’s quite fascinating to see the changes in which the horses have been treated over the years. Now horses in NYC endure cruel conditions. When they are not working nine hours a day they are forced to sleep in small confined stalls. Horses in New York City are not granted pastures, or time to socialize with other horse. Many people aren’t aware that it is illegal for a horse driver to keep the house working when the temperature is 90 degrees or more or 18 degrees or below. Three carriage horses died from a heat wave in 1988, when this happened a law was approved that prohibited horses from working in such harsh conditions. However in 1994 working hours were increased for horses which continued the poor treatment of carriage horses. The congested city lifestyle is not a proper atmosphere for horses to be exposed to, especially when they are not being given the adequate conditions.

  6. Tawn Says:

    Edwin Black has a great section on the working horses of NYC in his book Internal Combustion: How Corporations and Governments Addicted the World to Oil and Derailed the Alternatives. Horses pulling omnibuses in NYC produced upwards of 3.25 million lbs of dung… a day!

    Below is a (really long) link to google books, which should bring up a view of that segment, around page 39-40.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=S0DDjjjD5gwC&pg=PA39&lpg=PA39&dq=edwin+black+horses+new+york&source=bl&ots=TCWTtjpbSW&sig=XvGSDht19jh8GiyMNmoM6K3mzeY&hl=en&ei=WkoKTbPsIZCWsgOo5JysCg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBMQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

  7. HORSES TO WATER « Big Apple Dayze Says:

    [...] showers, but drinking fountains to the thousands of working horses in the city. Not only that, but EphemeralNY recently pointed out the SPCA’s plan in 1902 to give free straw sombreros to the horses to [...]

  8. Horses To Water « Big Apple Dayze Says:

    [...] only that, but Ephemeral NY recently pointed out the SPCA’s plan in 1902 to give free straw sombreros to the horses to [...]

  9. A Village monument to a 19th century blacksmith | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] of vestiges from the years when horses powered New York still remain: stables, horse drinking fountains, and the handsome nine-story loft built in 1897 as […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,762 other followers

%d bloggers like this: