Street cleaning in the turn of the century city

Turn of the 20th century, that is. Before sweeper trucks came along, New York’s roads were cleaned with a contraption like this: a flimsy, horse-pulled cart with a water sprayer, squeegee, and roller at the rear.


This photo, from the New York City municipal archives collection, is undated . . . and there’s almost no description of where it was taken.

It’s just another random moment in the early 20th century city no one could imagine would be of interest 100 years down the line.

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4 Responses to “Street cleaning in the turn of the century city”

  1. Bob_in_MA Says:

    Neat! I never a squeegee on one of these before.

    People complained about dust all the time back then and I think the main source was probably to the guys pulling that wagon and their fellows. There must have been an amazing number of horses in New York in 1900. 😉

  2. Lady G. Says:

    This looks really cool!

  3. New York City’s free-roaming, trash-eating pigs | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] an era before street cleaners and a real sanitation department, the metropolis relied on one tactic: free-roaming pigs, who fed on household food scraps tossed […]

  4. New York moms: don’t toss trash out the window | Ephemeral New York Says:

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