You are exploring:  Library  >
Exhibits Home  > 
Animals Through Human Eyes: Vintage Zoological Illustrations  > 
Transport  > 
For and Of Man

For and Of Man


Fire Engine Horse Team

Chicago Ledger, Vol. XXXI, No. 45, selection from front cover, Nov. 7 1903, published by W.D. Boyce Company: Chicago, USA

Horses used to provide a public service by hauling fire-fighting equipment. When choosing two or more horses to work together, such as the pair seen here, owners look for a matching set.[1] For prestigious carriages, this compatibility tends towards color and build, aiming for aesthetic harmony. Fire engine horses, along with other service-focused beasts, share work capacity. Animals working together should share the burden equally. If one animal pulls more, it will tire and break down. Thus buyers for work horses choose compatible animals for functional efficiency and to reduce the risk of spending more funds to replace any overworked horses.




Reflective Steeds

Buffalo Bill de Beridna Skarpskyttarne, selection from front cover, 1910, published by A. Eichler: New York, USA

“Two lightning[s] flashed out of Buffalo Bill’s and Alice’s guns and two giant Cheyenne Indians crashed fatally wounded from their horses” – a rough translation of the caption for this Swedish illustration of the renowned historical and fictional character Buffalo Bill.[2] In the scene, both sides of the skirmish – Buffalo Bill’s Rangers and the negatively-depicted Native Americans – utilize horses for transport. While the animal is not monopolized by the ‘winning’ or ‘losing’ force, the creature does supplement the theme of victory and defeat. Buffalo Bill’s horse charges forward with deliberation while the beasts of the overpowered Native Americans flinch back in fear or blatantly retreat. Both depictions demonstrate the reflection of the humans in their steeds.



[1] The Horse in the City: Living Machines in the Nineteenth Century, p. 20, 2007, McShane, Clay and Joel A. Tarr, published by John Hopkins University Press: Baltimore, USA

[2] Buffalo Bill de Beridna Skarpskyttarne, front cover, 1910, published by A. Eichler: New York, USA