clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

This Contraption Is How They Cleaned The Streets in 1914

New, 1 comment

You think riding a Zamboni is badass? We'd like to introduce you to this horse-drawn squeegee machine made by Kindling Machinery Company of Milwaukee. According to Philly History Blog, the "chariot-like" contraption held 500 gallons of water and cleaned the streets using a battery of "two and three squeegee machines" preceded by sprinklers 200 yards ahead. You know, to loosen the dirt and grime and stuff.

Sadly (and unsurprisingly), Kindling's squeegee eventually lost the pace due to more efficient motorized street cleaners that "cleaned 80,000 square yards compared with 35,000 square yards squeegeed by the horse-drawn version." It had a good run, though, and also gave us this awesome picture.

The whole process sounds kind of counter-intuitive, having a mess-making horse pull the cleaning machine. Seriously, have you seen (or smelled) some of the Old City/Society Hill carriage routes in the summer time? From the looks of the picture, it doesn't even to feature a poop-catching bag behind the horse. To top it off, the line went as follows: sprinkler system to loosen the grime, the amazing squeegee to scrub and clean and then a group of workers to clean up the leftovers.

In all, you're looking at at least four guys and two horses doing the work that a couple workers could accomplish in a motorized street cleaner.
· South Street Squeegee [Philly History Blog]