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Beast Versus Machine

Beast Versus Machine


A Fast Ride

'Die We Must,' from Cuala Press Broadside, No. 12, Fourth Year, p. 3, May 1912, MacGowan, Wolfe T. and Anthony Raftery, illustrated by Jack Butler Yeats, published by Cuala Press: Dundrum, Ireland

Jack Yeats, the Irish illustrator of this image, often drew themes of travel, equines, and the country.[1] Although in the present day we can hardly imagine the fastest land transport to be horse-powered by actual horses, such was the case before the modern electric vehicle. Yeats’ image seems to hark back to the early-to-mid nineteenth century, when the horse could outpace the early, steam-powered trains. The animal gives an impression of speed, with its mane flying back in the wind, hooves off the ground, and horizontal lines drawn across the passenger’s body. The train in the background, conversely, appears motionless, with vertical lines and a plume of engine smoke rising straight up in stagnation. In the early twentieth century, as the machine overtakes the beast, this sketch reminisces on the superiority of the horse in transportation swiftness.[2]



Machine-Gun Dog-Team

The Wonder of War on Land, plate facing p. 338, 1918, Rolt-Wheeler, Francis, published by Lothrop, Lee & Shepard: Boston, USA

A team of dogs pulling a machine gun loaded on a cart during WWI. These dogs are only wearing muzzles, but animals who participated in active combat were issued gas masks like the human soldiers. Developments in technology made most animal participants in wars obsolete by WWII.



[1] 'A Broadside', from Jack Butler Yeats: Drawings & Illustrations, 2009, Roche, Róisín Corry, published by Villanova University: Villanova, USA

[2] Historical Geography of Transportation: The Emergence of Mechanized Systems, Chapter 2, 2015, Rodrigue, Dr. Jean Paul, published by Hofstra University: New York, USA