How the Motor Car Saved the Cities

A reminder of gentler times found at Historic UK

The Great Horse Manure Crisis of 1894

hansomcabwkpdBy the late 1800s, large cities all around the world were “drowning in horse manure”. In order for these cities to function, they were dependent on thousands of horses for the transport of both people and goods.

… The main concern was the large amount of manure left behind on the streets. On average a horse will produce between 15 and 35 pounds of manure per day, so you can imagine the sheer scale of the problem. …

Each horse also produced around 2 pints of urine per day and to make things worse, the average life expectancy for a working horse was only around 3 years. … The bodies were often left to putrefy so the corpses could be more easily sawn into pieces for removal. …

This problem came to a head when in 1894, The Times newspaper predicted… “In 50 years, every street in London will be buried under nine feet of manure.”

That calamity was averted by the introduction of motorised vehicles; some electric in the cities and others by internal combustion engines.

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