I must warn everyone that this post is going to be a bit odd. Today’s subject is horse manure.
I have been thinking about how much the world changed with the introduction of the automobile or more precisely the replacement of the horse. As the 20th century began, the world was still a horse and buggy place. And it was also a time when big cities were growing rapidly.
The cities of the Gay (I’ll bet that word meant something else then) 90’s were filthy smelly places.
Imagine the Chicago of 1900. Over a million people ….and over 600,000 tons of horse manure deposited on the city streets every year. The average horse drops 20 to 30 pounds of the stuff every day. Imagine….just imagine…trying to keep city streets clean. Manure here, there, everywhere. No wonder everyone wore boots.
I bet there were lots of patronage jobs cleaning up the stuff. And along came the automobile and all those jobs went away. I’m sure there was no Shit Shoveler’s Union to complain about all those lost jobs….but the jobs were lost.
And we’re talking lots of jobs. In 1900 there were an estimated 3.5 million horses living in cities. That’s about 75 million pounds of manure a day. That’s a lot of shoveling. And some 18,000 horses dropped dead in New York City in a single year (1880). Removing the dead animals kept a few New Yorkers working …and working hard.
The automobile changed all that. Technology has been changing jobs since Man began farming some 10,000 years ago. I have no idea what the future will bring, but I do draw some comfort from the past. Should I need some horse manure for my garden, I simply hop into my GMC pickup, and run down to WalMart and pick up some. I like that change. I’m glad we don’t live in a world awash in manure.
Change can be a good thing…and it frequently is.