Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sepia Saturday #57

This week, my little town in Central Pennsylvania finally got some measurable snowfall. While I personally would have preferred a bit of the white fluffy stuff around Christmas, it nonetheless made for a pretty landscape and infinite traffic problems. Snow-covered roads are a hassle for modern society, as most people have to drive many miles just to accomplish their daily tasks. Which reminded me of an old photo ...

This is my grandfather, John Samuel Shaffer, with his dad's horse and buggy, circa 1915. I have to wonder if this was a more efficient, safer mode of transportation in the snow. Did the buggy slip and slide behind the horse? Did it have decent traction? Did they clear roads of snow back then?

For more photographic forays into the past, click ==>HERE!


  1. Nice horse and proud looking he is as he pulls the buggy! Great family photo, thank you!

  2. I too wondered if the buggy was any good in the snow - I suspect the horse knew to take his time when it was slippy underfoot, after all he wouldn't want to fall, either :-) Jo

  3. You raise a good question. I have often wondered why so many photos of horses and buggies have survived : but I suppose it was the early twentieth century equivalent of a photograph of a prized new car.

  4. In a recent blog post I was musing on the subject of horses and carriages in inpromptu snowfalls during the times of my ancestors in the 1800s. One commenter said that horses are very sure-footed, even in snow. Another suggested that at some point they would switch from wheeled-carriages to sleighs.

    How good that you know the identity of the driver, owner of the carriage, and the date! There have been a few horse and buggy SS posts recently. I think it's interesting that they chose to stop the buggy in the middle of the road and take a photograph. Don't you wonder who the photographer was?

  5. Wonderful photo! And what good questions! I wonder if the unpaved roads didn't equal out the horse's sure-footedness to make travel just as miserable then as now? And imagine how the snow and mud would splash up into the buggy! You'd be a mess by the time you got where you were going I bet. :)

  6. Good questions! Of course sleighs were available when there was lots of snow.

  7. Reminds me of my horse and buggy post of Dec. 11.
    Except in mine the horse was cropped out. How rude!!!

  8. Well it had to be colder in the horse and buggy, despite layers of blankets and quilts! Great photo..And they did not journey as far as we do.still today the Amish use the horse and buggy. Hmm, maybe it's my computer but I ..had a hard time reading your blog the print on the black background, I had to hilite and select to read.

  9. This is a wonderful photo, a real treasure. you have asked some very good questions. As I have never lived in an area where it snows I have no idea what the answers would be.

  10. It is a wonderful old photograph. That was the going way to get around back then. I really like the horse and buggy.

  11. i don't know if it was safer, but it looks good!!

  12. Karen ~ Thanks. I think both driver and horse are full of themselves!

    Jo ~ Honestly, I think I'd trust the horse in the snow before I'd trust myself walking.

    Alan ~ I think you're absolutely right! Out on the farm, horses were essential, but not everyone owned a horse and buggy.

    Nancy ~ I have no idea who took the photo. If I remember correctly, the inscription on the back said, "Sam in Dad's buggy," so it could have been one of his siblings or even my grandmother. It may have been a traveling photographer, too.

    Lisa ~ I agree. Messy!

    Vicki ~ I think I'd feel safer in a sleigh!

    Nancy ~ I checked out your post. The horse would have been a nice inclusion, but it doesn't strike me as being a private carriage. You may be on to something with the funeral idea.

    Pat ~ Yes, the Amish still use buggies, but most of those are heated now. As for the font, my apologies. I wondered about its "readability" when I selected the template. I think I'll find something more suitable. Thanks for the input!

    Marilyn ~ I think I'd miss snow, which is why I doubt I'll ever move to warmer climes.

    Larry ~ Thanks! It looks like a fancy buggy, too.

    Ticklebear ~ Thanks! I think he's pretty stylish!