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Introduction

In the 18th century, transportation in America was faced with difficulties, especially in cases where Americans either transported themselves or their products from one trading centre to another. These early days were characterized by traditional transportation mode which enabled some of Americans to travel on foot or on horseback so as to effectively enhance their transportation systems. However, most of the Americans ventured into and used horse-drawn vehicles for the transportation. The invention of wheeled vehicle resulted to the utilization of animal power, e.g., horses were used for horse-drawn vehicle transportation. This did not only initiate transport efficiency by enabling people to travel far from their homes, but also led to the establishment of other business entity. For instance, while some of Americans established blacksmith businesses that ensured the repair of horse-drawn vehicles others established big businesses that supplied horses’ food such as oats, hay and barley among others.

The history of the use of horse-drawn vehicles in America is well established in Long Island Museum through its artifacts exhibition which clearly demonstrates the importance of such transportation system among the Americans. In exploiting various Long Island Museum exhibition stands, the write-up explained how horse-drawn vehicles shaped American life. It also discusses how making carriages helped in the evolution of transport system from hometown shop to factory. Moreover, the paper highlights the role of carriages in industrial America as illustrated in Long Island Museum’s exhibitions.

How Horse-drawn Vehicles Shaped American Life

According to Ayres (1), the Going Places exhibition artifact, organized by Long Island Museum, primarily explores the culture of horse-drawn transportation among Americans, its evolution, and factors that led to its demise as a transport system. He points out that the American culture, from the early 1800s up to the early 1900s, was characterized by effectiveness of horse-drawn vehicles in the evolution of America’ transportation system which primarily enabled Americans to move from one place to another.  Americans were, therefore, able to move from rural areas to urban areas where most of them were able to settle and invest, which in turn led to the development of various cities. Since most of the city dwellers owned these horse-drawn vehicles, they adamantly used these horse-drawn vehicles in either moving themselves or people or their goods to and from the urban areas. As a result, people began settling in rural centers which, in turn, led to the growth and development of various American cities (Ayres, 1). The development of various American cities was primarily based on wealth creation and the increasing consumer culture among the Americans.

Ayres (1) points out that the evolution of horse-drawn vehicles was primarily based on the need to design effective transportation system that was not only faster, but could also help in linking other transportation networks. He notes that even after the invention and development of railroads, horse-drawn vehicles played a significant role in linking the local people and goods with other national transportation networks. For instance, people used horse-drawn vehicles to get to rail hubs or ports from where they could either border train or ship in pursuing their daily undertaking. This proved to be the most efficient way of not only connecting people, but also connecting various products from the factory to the consumer. According to (Ayres1), farmers were able to use the horse-drawn vehicles in transporting their raw products to either train stations or docking stations from which these products could be transported to urban markets. This enabled people to acquire more basic products, hence improving their well-being.

Evolution of horse-drawn vehicles in American resulted to the building of infrastructure, especially the roads which were essential in enhancing the transportation system. Ayres (1) points out that Americans established the potentiality of roads in enhancing horse-drawn transport system. He notes that the main concern of Americans towards the building of roads was based on the ability to reduce the travelling time and, thereby, encourage effective delivery of goods which helped in the development of the American economy.

On the other hand, Ayres (1) notes that the use of horse-drawn vehicles as transportation system changed America`s culture of countering disasters, such as fire explosion. He points out that, during the 18th century, specialized horse-drawn vehicles were used as the firefighting wagons, especially in the urban centers. During this period, most of the urban infrastructures, including buildings, were mainly wooden structures that could easily catch fire. Horse-drawn vehicles were effective and could easily race through the dense traffic, thereby enabling the fire fighters in reaching the destined area in time. He noted that the effectiveness of use of horse-drawn vehicles in carrying and delivering both the fire fighters and their much pounded equipments helped in designing of motorized fire fighting engines that has since helped in fighting such menace.

Even though, horse-drawn vehicles played an important role in the transportation system, buying such vehicles was so costly and was only affordable by the middle income urbanites. According to Ayres (1), those less affluent Americans who were unable to buy the horse-drawn vehicles found themselves in old pedestrian cities that were mainly characterized by immigrants who were generally unskilled. However, he notes that the invention of automobile and streetcars led to the demise of horse-drawn vehicles as they were more efficient compared to horse-drawn vehicles.

Ayres (1) points out that these technologies were characterized by efficiency and availability to accommodate large volume of people or products based on its associated low costs. Even though, high costs were associated with these new technologies, the continued innovation and production of these technologies resulted into more reliable and affordable means of transportation as the cost of transport was reduced. For instance, the ready availability and lower fare associated with electric trolley enabled the transportation of various Americans either to their work places or to the market centers.

The Making Carriage from Horse-Drawn Vehicles to Automobiles Vehicles

In addressing this topic, the Long Island Museum incorporates full-sized transportation artifacts that clearly demonstrate how horse-draw vehicles helped in the integration of shops from hometown shop to factory. The museum history gallery depicts the transformation of transportation system from horse power to combustion engine. According to Trapani (1), the story of Studebaker brothers clearly illustrates how making carriage from hometown shop led to the building of the factory. He notes that in 1852, two brothers Henry and Clement Studebaker decided to begin a blacksmith shop in South Bend, Indiana, from which they were able to manufacture carriage wagons. He points out that due to the nature of their business they started receiving contracts on wagon manufacturing from some wagon manufacturing companies, such as Mishawaka Wagon Works.

Trapani (1) points out that as Studebaker Company continued manufacturing the carriage wagons, the efficiency of these wagons were primarily envied by the American people as most powerful Americans used the wagons for transportation. For instance, he notes that the Long Island museum presented a picture portrait of Abraham Lincoln riding in the Studebaker carriage wagon that had been purchased by the White House as he attended the Ford’s Theater in 1865.  In 1870, the company became the largest manufacturer and producer of horse-drawn vehicles worldwide. Since the company had now developed into a global manufacturing corporation due to its highest manufacturing rate of carriage wagons, it introduced electric and gasoline automobile manufacturing that would provide more efficiency to the transport system. 

Even though, the sales of the electric automobiles were low due to their high cost; the manufacture and sales of electric and gasoline automobile increased in 1910 when the Studebaker manufacturing company purchased an automobile manufacturing company from Detroit (Trapani, 1). He points out that on the eve of World War I, the Studebaker Company had improved on its automobile manufacturing which enabled it to supply France and Russian with a variety of transportation wagons. These included equipped ambulances, staff cars and caterpillars. This is clearly demonstrated by a five Studebaker automobile carriages found in the Long Island Museum that showed how people’s culture had stated shifting from horse power to modern transportation systems.

The Role of Carriage in Industrial America

Carriages played an important role in the revolution of America’s industries. Kinney (2) observes that carriage wagons, ranging from horse-drawn vehicles to electric and gasoline automobile, were essential in initiating industrial processes. He points out that horse-drawn vehicles essentially helped in the distribution of various industries’ products both in the local and regional markets. He notes that in the past, America lack adequate and quality roads which generally restricted the transportation of raw materials to the industries and their products to the market via wheeled vehicles. As a result, most of the American who were mainly local farmers and blacksmiths ventured in to horse-drawn vehicle in transporting their raw materials into various industries.          

Kinney (2) notes that even though carriages, such as horse-drawn vehicles, primarily transported products either from the industries to the local markets or vise versa, the invention of carriage wagons led to the development of various industries.  He points out that these industries majorly manufactured various parts of the carriage wagons or the wagons themselves. Trapani (1) notes that the gallery photo of Studebaker company’s manufactured horse-drawn vehicles in the Long Island Museum clearly demonstrates the importance of carriage in the developing more industries.

Moreover, he points out that the museum portrays an image of the Grave Brothers workshop which had a variety of manufactured unassembled components of carriages that clearly indicated how industries developed in enhancing the transportation system. For instance, most of the city dwellers started steel manufacturing industries that manufactured various parts of the horse-drawn vehicles which included steel wheels, and springs among others (Kinney, 2). He points out that these manufactured vehicle parts were then assembled either during repairing or manufacturing in establishing effective horse-drawn vehicles. While some industries were manufacturing horse-drawn vehicle parts, other industries were busy producing horse feeds which included barley, oats and hay among others.

Even though, the evolution of automobile industries undermined the role of carriage industries which averted most industries` operations from horse-drawn vehicle manufacturing industries to automobile industries, horse-drawn vehicles were still used in the delivery of industrial products, such as perishable goods (Kinney, 3). For instance, industrial milk, ice, and wood were primarily delivered into various homes of city by dwellers using the horse-drawn vehicles. This, in turn, encouraged the production of more dairy products, thereby, resulting to the development of more industries.

Analysis of the Impact of Long Island Museum’s Exhibition on Carriages

The exhibition has clearly illustrated through its artifacts and photo portraits the development, use and demising of horse-drawn vehicles in addressing the topic. Trapani (1) points out that the exhibition has fairy demonstrated various evidence indicating the use of horse-drawn vehicle as carriage in America. For instance, the photo portrait of Abraham Lincoln riding a horse-drawn vehicle manufactured by the Studebaker Brothers manufacturing Company signifies that the carriage wagons were the most treasured means of transport in the old days and were adversely emulated by American people (Ayres, 1).

Moreover, Trapani (1) notes that the museum exhibition has clearly illustrated how carriages led to the establishment of various industries through the photo gallery display of Graves Brothers Workshop. The workshop had depicted various manufactured unassembled carriage components. Furthermore, the museum’s exhibition notified how the invention of automobile outweighed the carriage industry which is fairly illustrated by artifact photo gallery, showing a variety of carriages that were manufactured by Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company (Trapani 1).

Conclusion

The write up in addressing carriages in America has highlighted horse-drawn vehicle and their important role in enhancing transport systems during the 18th and 19th centuries in America, as demonstrated by Long Island Museum exhibitions. It noted that horse-drawn vehicles, as a transportation system, were primarily used in various sectors ranging from food distribution to disaster management. A good example was the one with fire fighting based on the efficiency of horse-drawn vehicles in reaching the targeted areas. Through various exhibitions, the paper has pointed out that horse-drawn vehicle transportations system could only be afforded by middle income earners in America during the 18th century. However, it has been noted that the invention of automobiles in America did not only enhance more efficient transport systems, but it also accommodated many of the Americans due to its availability and affordability.

Moreover, the paper has pointed out the need for various exhibition centers, especially museums to clearly and distinctly portray galleries of historical artifacts that primarily affect the overall activities of people, e.g., transportation systems. The exhibition has also presented an overall perception of the importance of using historical artifacts in analyzing the evolution and demising of various human activities.  

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