June 1, 1915: Common Cup for Horses

0601 Watering HorsesJune 1, 1915: Municipal Journal article. Watering Horses in Cities. “The years 1914 and 1915 saw an epidemic of glanders in several sections of the Atlantic coast states, and many cities closed their existing horse drinking fountains, as it was believed that the disease was spread by the common use of bowls or troughs. Instead, drivers were asked, or required by ordinance, to carry with each horsedrawn vehicle a pail for watering horses. It remained to provide facilities for filling these pails, and this was done in different ways.

In Boston, New Bedford and some other cities, fountains of the horse bowl type known as the H. F. Jenks pattern were adapted as follows: The bowls were removed and replaced with new castings containing three or more self-closing faucets, designed with a special view to being non-freezable. This appears to have given entire satisfaction.

Commentary: This article is interesting on at least two levels. Transportation of goods and people by horse was still prevalent in 1915 in cities. The automobile was making definite inroads but there were still millions of horses in cities across the U.S. (21.5 million in one estimate of all domestic horses in 1915). In 1908, Henry Ford started production of the Model T automobile that would revolutionize transportation in this country.

Glanders is an infectious disease in horses and other animals that is caused by the bacterium Burkhoderia mallei. The disease can result in coughing, fever and the release of an infectious nasal discharge. The serious form of the disease can result in death of the animal. The bacterium can infect humans. In 1915 with the heightened awareness of human diseases passed by intimate contact with contaminated items, it is only reasonable to protect horses from the same contamination route. If banning the common cup for humans makes sense, it sure makes sense for our equine friends.

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