Oct 20, 2009

Have You Ever Considered How People Clipped Horses Before Electricity?

Has it ever occurred to you to wonder about whether people used to clip their horses?  And if so, how did they do it?  I had always seen those mechanical hand clippers that looked a misery to have to use.  You still see them for sale in vet supply catalogs and I was always curious as to who still bought the damn things.  Also, how did the blades stay sharp enough to keep cutting for what I assume must take hours and days to clip a full coat?  These are the things that keep me up at night. 

And yet, until today I had never seen this -- a foot-operated clipper. 


How new-fangled and complicated-y! It's like some joker tried to come up with the scariest, most dangerous looking piece of equipment to perform a clip job. Well, in my mind he succeeded greatly.  This particular device was featured in the 1899 edition of The Private Stable by Jorrocks (a pseudonym -- which I find especially funny; would it have been just that terrifically shocking to publish this work under his real name?). 

And accompanying the picture is this description: "The process of clipping was formerly done with a pair of shears and a comb, but the hand and foot power machines have, except in remote districts, superseded this primitive method. [...]  Although there are men who make a speciality of clipping horses, any competent stable servant  should be able to perform this task in a satisfactory manner.  [...]  It is said that the record time for clipping a horse with the hand machine is one hour and twelve minutes."  Seriously?!  Dude, that really puts me to shame.  I think the fastest clip job I have done took me two days.  Granted my horse was not the most cooperative, but still....I AM SLOW.

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