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   Undertoad  Wednesday Nov 9 06:54 PM

11/9/2005: Snow roller in Vermont 1941



xoxoxoBruce finds and documents this one nicely, let him tell it:

Back when horsepower was measured by a tail count, people traveled by horse. Groups and freight traveled in horse drawn vehicles like carriages and wagons. In the winter they used sleighs, sledges and sleds along with the wheeled vehicles so rather than plow the roads they would compact them with one of these heavy rollers.

This photograph was taken in VT circa 1941, which was certainly the end of the era. If the thought of driving on compacted snow may seem strange, remember: most roads weren't paved, they would throw sand on slippery spots, they didn't have much reason to go anywhere, but church, in the country winter, less traffic and slower speeds, cars used chains, and horses had winter caulks on their shoes.

Plus it was a hell of a lot better than the muddy ruts beneath it.



xoxoxoBruce  Wednesday Nov 9 08:20 PM

I noticed the far white horse has stopped pulling because (s)he can see the horse in front is down.
But the near dark horse is still pulling because (s)he doesn't know the horse behind is down.
Hard work



Bromskloss  Wednesday Nov 9 08:30 PM

It's funny how the text describes travelling by horse as some unknown fenomenon that mabye took place only a very long time ago, though this really isn't that far away. In large parts of the world, I'm sure this is still how you do it. I have never travelled this way myself, though, but I sure would like to some time. It seems kind of peaceful.



Griff  Wednesday Nov 9 08:37 PM

Cool pic.



xoxoxoBruce  Wednesday Nov 9 09:05 PM

Hey Bromskloss, welcome to the Cellar.
Yes, it can be peaceful if your surroundings are peaceful. That's the key in that you are up close and personal with your environment.
Of course when mothers nature's in a snit it can be damned uncomfortable too.
In the US horses aren't used much for transportation any more but in many places here, there are more horses than ever. Just because people enjoy horses and spoiling their children.



ashke  Wednesday Nov 9 11:17 PM

Even though it's only 64 years ago, it seems like an entirely different era from now. O_o



srom  Thursday Nov 10 12:18 AM

Especially when you weren't even alive during the 30s and 40s (and earlier, or course) it seems like a completely different era.

do you think they had to make monthly payments or horses? how do you check the oil on those animals, anyway? heh.



xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Nov 10 04:51 AM

Yes, sometimes they did make payments on tings, including horses.
I have a floor model Victrola (record player), my Aunt's father bought second hand in about 1920 or so for $14. I also have the reciepts he got for some of the 50 cent weekly payments.
Horses were considerably more expensive.



Sundae  Thursday Nov 10 05:04 AM

I still feel a connection with the horse drawn era because my Granddad remembers horses delivering milk on the streets of London.

Whereas my niece & nephew think having milk delivered to your house at all is weird & old-fashioned.

Its a great picture!



Griff  Thursday Nov 10 06:47 AM

My Grandad didn't retire his horses until my Dad went into the Marine Corp in 1956. His Brother-in-Law who was a dedicated horse man breeding and training, kept them longer, I remember his last animal. My Great Uncle kept a pair of draft horses well into the '70s, he had a tractor which he mostly kept safely in the barn. It was hard for some of those old guys to let go. They'd worked with horses there whole lives, the smells, the ritual, the companionship. Of course some hated the critters and moved to tractors right away and some realized it was farming they hated but took it out on the animals.



CharlieG  Thursday Nov 10 08:27 AM

Both my parents remember horses being used in NYC and places like Jersey City

One "interesting" thing I saw when I was in Northern NM about 10 years ago was some folks using horses for semi serious transportation - mostly between neighboring farms, or around the farm - I don't really count it because they also had vehicles, but I guess sometimes the horse works better (or is more fun - but I repeat myself)



ashke  Thursday Nov 10 09:30 AM

But come to think of it, when I was living in Indonesia in the 90s, there were still a lot of horse-drawn carriages. I never rode any (since we had a car) but seeing horses was quite a usual sight. But since Indonesia is quite tropical, they wouldn't have had snow rollers anyway, hah... Oxen plowed the fields though. That was a common sight too. Not sure about how it is now.



chrisinhouston  Thursday Nov 10 11:55 AM

Not only does this image remind us of a time when the car was just really becomming a part of everyone's lives but also one has to consider the people in the picture. Probably wearing a few layers of wool at best. No polarfleece or down, no Gortex, God it must have been cold sitting up on top of that thing in the wind!



chrisinhouston  Thursday Nov 10 11:59 AM

If horse tails make for a measurement of horsepower what does this image of my great grandfather make for:



chrisinhouston  Thursday Nov 10 12:00 PM

Helps if you upload the image, sorry!



chrisinhouston  Thursday Nov 10 12:02 PM

yea, 3 tries makes it! One of those days.



jinx  Thursday Nov 10 12:14 PM

Around here, it's very common to see draft horses, mostly Percherons and Belgians, plowing fields - and Standard breds pulling Amish buggies. The latter pisses me off everytime.



Bromskloss  Thursday Nov 10 12:37 PM

I was visiting Egypt this summer, and they really made use of both horses and donkeys for transportation. And camels! :-) In the streets they where mixed with all the cars. As for the camels, the police actually used them when patrolling in desert areas.



Sundae  Thursday Nov 10 12:43 PM

I saw a very unpleasant accident involving a horse drawn cart & a coach full of tourists in Egypt...



glatt  Thursday Nov 10 01:08 PM

I was in an accident between a mule drawn wagon hauling tourists (me and my wife) and a tour van on our honeymoon in Hawaii. Fortunately, it was a 5-10 mph accident of the sideswipe variety. Good for a story. "Fuck! Fuckin' mules!" is still ingrained in my head. The van was dented all along its side, and the mules and wagon were unscathed.



Bromskloss  Thursday Nov 10 01:35 PM

Fortunately, it was a 5-10 mph accident

I saw an accident once with a 90 km/h mule. That was really bad.



capnhowdy  Thursday Nov 10 08:42 PM

Great images!
The black & white seems to intensify the nostalgia. Oh, for the good old days.....When a dollar was a dollar....When a man was a man.......when...well anyway.

I hate to break out the humor angle before anyone else but, CAN YOU SAY STUMPBROKE?

maybe I AM old redneck. I don't expect noone to fess up here, I damn sure ain't... hee hee..........



xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Nov 10 10:29 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by jinx
snip~~ and Standard breds pulling Amish buggies. The latter pisses me off everytime.
Whyzat?


wolf  Friday Nov 11 02:01 AM

I was wondering that too, Jinx ... better to pull a buggy than become dogfood or a Frenchman's dinner. They can't all be Rysdyk's Hambeltonian, after all.

How do you feel about racing greyhound rescue?



johningerslev  Friday Nov 11 07:12 AM

Certainly when my friend and i were travelling last year we saw horses and donkeys still being used in morroco, and the year before in bulgaria! It's really strange - it has a strange attraction don't you think...



CharlieG  Friday Nov 11 08:10 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisinhouston
...snip...No polarfleece or down,...snip...
Ah, I had a old Down sleeping bag that was that old, and Dad has an old down jacket from that era

Trust me - down existed

As for "a few layers of wool at best" - Dad still hunts in a 40+ year old Woolrich hunting suit - no modern stuff in it - he DOES use modern thermal undies under it - trust me, I used to have one of those wool sets - they are plenty warm, particularly if you are moving/working - plus the breathe, they are warm when wet, extremely fire resistant and the like

BTW look closer - the collers on their jackets - they are either wearing what we would call shearling, or, believe it or not - FELT. Felt is another of those amazingly warm items that most people have forgotten about

BTW there are a few hints that it MIGHT not be quite as cold as it looks in the photo (yes, it's cold, but) 1)No breath visible 2)The guys do NOT have scarves wrapped over their faces 3)The snow sticking to the side of the roller (really COLD snow tends NOT to stick to things - it's powder)


Polarfleece (partularly when it has the windstopper built in) Goretex etc are amazing (well, Goretex is a BIT overrated in my book - but not that much) - but there are plenty of old ways to keep warm - one of the big ones? WORK HARD - trust me, those guys are probably quite warm, as they are working

The BIGGEST place where modern insulation makes a difference (IMHO) - GLOVES - you layer your body right - yeah, you get stiff, and it's harder to move, but you can stay warm. It's HARD to wrap hands/feet however


jinx  Friday Nov 11 11:15 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by xoxoxoBruce
Whyzat?
Because it's just... mean. These people can justify cell phones, fax machines, weedwackers etc. when it suits them, but insist on using horse and buggy for transportation? Sucking exhaust in downtown Lancaster? Up the hill coming out of Gap towards Coatesville in the summer? Pisses me off. They should have to maintain their own system of dirt paths if they want to keep that shit up.


Griff  Friday Nov 11 12:26 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by jinx
They should have to maintain their own system of dirt paths if they want to keep that shit up.
Well the car people confiscated all the old rights of way, didn't they?

Wool is also a good insulator when wet, which makes it superior to a lot of the miracle fibers out there.


wolf  Friday Nov 11 01:44 PM

Goretex doesn't smell funny, though.



BigV  Friday Nov 11 03:27 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by wolf
Goretex doesn't smell funny, though.
...but is *much* more promiscuous than wool when standing next to a sparky fire. I have had embers bounce off my wools that would have left a leaky cold hole in my goretex. I **like** goretex, but all options have strengths and weaknesses. Fire + wool = no big prob. Fire + practically any synthetic for outdoor wear = flick it off quick and or stand further (colder) back.


jinx  Friday Nov 11 05:20 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Griff
Well the car people confiscated all the old rights of way, didn't they?
Well yeah, the reality of it is they did, and paved it all to boot. Car people may be bastards but that doesn't excuse horse abuse. Take the bus, hippy.


xoxoxoBruce  Friday Nov 11 05:38 PM

Quote:
Felt is another of those amazingly warm items that most people have forgotten about
Ah, yes. I've a wool felt "Railroad Vest" from L.L.Bean, back before they became yuppie valhalla, that's very warm.
It's called the "Railroad Vest" because it has a watch pocket for the conductor's "Railroad Watch".
IIRC, wool felt is what the Mongolians use to build their Yurts (tents) that withstand the winter blasts from the artic.


lumberjim  Friday Nov 11 05:55 PM

it seems to me that if they had devised some rigging that could put that big wheel in FRONT of the horses, they might have had an easier time of it.


oh, yeah, F the amish.



Trilby  Friday Nov 11 06:40 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by lumberjim
oh, yeah, F the amish.
Is that what brought you and jinx together? Your mutual dislike for the amish? Did you meet at an Anti-Amishite gathering?


busterb  Friday Nov 11 07:02 PM

Is that not another example of someone trying to put the horse before the cart?



capnhowdy  Friday Nov 11 07:56 PM

My Granddad always told me "don't get the cart ahead of the horse".

Speaking of wool, I love the military wool blankets(as long as you have something else between it and yourself).
WOOLY BULLY.....WOOLY BULLY.....



xoxoxoBruce  Saturday Nov 12 12:24 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by busterb
Is that not another example of someone trying to put the horse before the cart?



mitheral  Saturday Nov 12 06:50 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by lumberjim
it seems to me that if they had devised some rigging that could put that big wheel in FRONT of the horses, they might have had an easier time of it.
It's a _lot_ easier to pull a roller like that than to push it. I've never heard of a horse pushing anything since the horse collar was invented.


xoxoxoBruce  Saturday Nov 12 10:17 PM

Technically, they're pushing the horse collar which pulls the load. But you're right, pushing a load is very difficult and impossible to steer.



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