Prophecy in Caricature.
Engineering News—December 21, 1889 

An old print, here reproduced, comes to us without other title than that given and with no clue as to its (late of issue, but it is a genuine old print and is worthy of some study and comment. The date of this caricature is probably 1825-27, a period antedating the famous trial of locomotives running on metal rails, and marking a time when the coach was still the accepted type of vehicle and the general public still looked upon their highways as the roads of the future; the only change anticipated was that steam would "somehow" supplant horses.

In our issue of Sept. 8, 1888, a caricature of a "steam-buggy" was shown, issued probably at about the same period as the above. But this particular cut is chiefly interesting from the fact that the artist, in attempting to reach the supreme height of absurdity, builded better than he knew. This was supposed to be a London and Brighton coach. The distance between the two places is fifty-two miles. The inscription on one of the panels promises the phenomenal—and presumedly impossible—speed of "To Brighton in 2 hours." The locomotive hauls the modern steam coach from London to Brighton in about one hour.

Studying the outfit further, we find that the prophetic soul of R. TRANSIT has really inspired him to depict the prototype of our latest "vestibule railway train" in the conveniences to be put at the command of the traveling public. The soldier on the upper seat may be said to be occupying the smoking compartment; and the stout gentlemen in the "boot" are evidently enjoying the practical advantages of a modern buffet or dining-car. The cook is not so securely housed as he is to-day, but if the inscription on the boot be not false, he is prepared to compete with his Pullman brother in the character of the good things served up. And while no especial conveniences for this purpose are shown, another panel promises "shampooing, bath," in other words, the latest barber-shop adjunct to the vestibuled train of to day.

The artist's name, fully set out, is probably RAPID TRANSIT, and he doubtless believed that in his picture he had added about all the "impossible" features of fast traveling that a vivid imagination could suggest. The design is but one example among many of the inadequate appreciation of the people of the first quarter of this century of the revolution that was to follow the introduction of steam as a substitute for the old-time coach-horse.

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