Hey guys, Dawn here you A Clean Cigarette blogger. First, thank you for being here. You are really appreciated! Second I feel like I need to explain today’s title. I mean why would an electronic cigarette blog have a title like: “Imagine Michigan Horse and Carriage Free.”
I know it’s hard to imagine now, but back in the early 1900’s when automobiles were first making a name for themselves not everyone thought they were a good idea. In fact, there were a lot of big movers and shakers that stood to lose a ton of cash if these fancy horseless carriages took over.
While many industries were affected by the invention and mass marketing of cars none were more affected than the Carriage Companies. It may be hard to think carriage company and big industry in the same sentence but back in the 1900’s they were about as big an industry as you could get. Everyone had one or wanted one. Families and businesses alike counted on the horse and buggy form of transportation for everything.
That meant that all the big guys were invested in the horse and carriage industry. All the usual players: Politicians, Social Leaders, 1%er’s, Celebrities and of course Rich Moguls.
But obviously the automobile is a better idea, right? So the switch from horse and carriage should have been fairly easy. Who would stand in the way of something as powerful as cars? For Pete’s sake, they not only made business easier and cheaper they saved lives because people could get to medical treatment sooner and easier. All the way around cars helped move the world into a new and better age. So it should have been easy to imagine Michigan horse and carriage free.
Much like when technologies of today threaten existing industries, back then propaganda campaigns were the best way to fight the automobile invaders.
It wasn’t hard to do either. Keep in mind, this is at a time when the world was changing in ways that were nearly mind-blowing for the populace of the time. To get an idea of how folks thought back then. Here is a quote from a man that wrote to then-President Jackson in response to the railroad just a few decades before cars were invented:
“Dear Mr. President: The canal system of this country is being threatened by a new form of transportation known as ‘railroads‘ . As you may well know, Mr. President, ‘railroad’ carriages are pulled at the enormous speed of 15 miles per hour by ‘engines’ which, in addition to endangering life and limb of passengers, roar and snort their way through the countryside, setting fire to crops, scaring the livestock and frightening women and children. The Almighty certainly never intended that people should travel at such breakneck speed.” – Martin Van Buren, Governor of New York, 1830(?).”
Based on this guy’s absolute horror at the “breakneck” speed of 15/mph, it’s not hard to imagine how he felt about the speedy new horseless carriages. The Model T could reach speeds of 40-45 mph! That must have seemed like something out of a nightmare to people that were just shocked to hear about something going 15 mph. It’s probably a good bet they were not trying to imagine Michigan without horse. Then it seems logical that a propaganda attack designed to scare the already fearful public would be a good strategy for those who had skin in the game.
So what types of propaganda were the public seeing? What kind of conversations were taking place and who was talking? Well, it depended on the source. Here are a few examples:
“The horse is here to stay, but the automobile is only a novelty, a fad.”
“I asked, “What’s the matter with you?” He bellowed: “There’s nothing the matter with me. It’s you! You’re crazy if you think this fool contraption you’ve been wasting your time on will ever displace the horse.””
They called them” impractical” and complained that about the price saying that they “will never be sufficiently low to make them as widely popular as were bicycles.”
“The dangers are obvious. Stores of gasoline in the hands of people interested primarily in profit would constitute a fire and explosive hazard of the first rank. Horseless carriages propelled by gasoline might attain speeds of 14 or even 20 miles per hour. The menace to our people of vehicles of this type hurtling through our streets and along our roads and poisoning the atmosphere would call for prompt legislative action even if the military and economic implications were not so overwhelming… [T]he cost of producing [gasoline] is far beyond the financial capacity of private industry… In addition, the development of this new power may displace the use of horses, which would wreck our agriculture.”
Based on the information above it’s not hard to tell that the “powers that be” of the time were not about to imagine Michigan horse carriage free.
Obviously, some inventions are just too good to be held back. Even when it’s up against big money and big industry. The good they do outweighs the bad so significantly that the only way to move is forward. That was the case of the Automobile. While Michigan is not completely Horse and Carriage free it is mostly that way. Other than a few folks who use them for religious reasons the only horse and carriages around are for entertainment reasons only. On the other hand, nearly every home in Michigan has an automobile in the driveway.
It’s simple really. Burning tobacco kills nearly 6 million people a year. Most of those people are smokers that are addicted to nicotine. Up until now, the burning tobacco cigarette was the ONLY option for a smoker who wanted to get their nicotine via inhalation. Then an invention happened.
It was so out there that people at first thought it would fail, and then when it didn’t they tried to force it to. Big industries who once banked on smokers being stuck with burning tobacco started to take notice. False information and negative campaigns started to circulate. Big Pharma and Big Tobacco played on public fear and mistrust of the invention was the main goal.
But some inventions are just too powerful to stop.
Electronic cigarettes are that type of invention. This industry keeps moving forward. More and more research is coming out. Are they harmless? No. Nothing you inhale can be harmless besides clean air. Thankfully the success stories eventually out power the misinformation. But we can’t stop fighting.
We made the move from horse and buggy to cars because it made sense. When Universities like Georgetown University out of Washington DC release study data that claims up to 6.5 million lives over the next 10 years just by switching all current smokers who can’t quit using FDA approved methods to an e-cigarette, moving forward makes sense.
Thank you so much for visiting this blog today. I hope you have enjoyed the story hour. I also hope that when you see information floating around out there regarding electronic cigarettes you will help us by checking it out before sharing. There is so much misinformation floating around and we as smokers deserve better. We deserve options. We Deserve A Clean Cigarette.
PS. “Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.” Winston Churchill