Posts Tagged ‘society for the prevention of cruelty to animals’

How working horses handled hot city summers

June 28, 2010

By about 1900, some city streets featured drinking fountains for thousands of working horses, courtesy of the localĀ 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.