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Adding a Horse to the Horseless Carriage of Yore

Nostalgic for the nostalgia of yesterday? Popular Science had a thriving enterprise in the 1930s that looked back at wacky inventions from earlier years.
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horse attachment screenshot

Horse attachment as depicted in the 1937 Popular Science film "Horse-Friendly Auto Attachment"

horse attachment screenshot

Last month we looked at an invention from 1904 which could be attached to the front of your horseless carriage in order not to spook that of the horsed variety. Today we have a short film of that pseudo-horse in action (or at least a re-enactment).

From the 1930s until the 1950s Popular Science produced short newsreel-type films which would play before Paramount Pictures movies. Much like the magazine, the short films usually would take a look at some of the weirdest new inventions around at the time. But proving that we're far from the first generation to revel in nostalgia, the series would sometimes look back at the stranger inventions of the late 19th century.

The horse-friendly auto attachment film was released on April 30, 1937:

You remember the gasoline go-kart of the Gay Nineties? The driver of that day was a daring crusader whose reckless adventures on the road made him a shocking nuisance to both man and beast. When horses actually stood on their hind legs in protest, something had to be done about it.

So inventor Henry Hayes on December 13, 1904, patented an idea for the preservation of highway etiquette. Why not set the horse an example? Shame him into the march of progress. Perhaps this dazzling equipage will stop his tomfoolery. They used to yell, "Why don't you get a horse?" So right from the family tree came Wildwood. He improved the appearance of the car, and created the impression of an extra horse power.

Of course, this film doesn't show the original horse but instead re-enacts the tale for audiences in 1937—many of whom no doubt remembered the rise of the automobile at the turn of the 20th century.

Coupon that could be mailed to theater owners in support of showing Popular Science films (1940)