Horses to automobiles in NYC: 13 years

This is how fast energy sources can change: from all horses but one automobile in the 1900 New York Easter Parade to all automobiles but one horse in the 1913 Easter Parade.

horses in 1900
Source: U.S. National Archives

The automobile above is easier to spot than the horse below, 13 years later.

automobiles in 1913
Source: George Grantham Bain Collection
Both photographs found in Amory Lovins and the Soft Path, 40 years on, Modern Power Systems, 31 October 2016 and in “5th Avenue, 1900 Vs. 1913,” Joe Weisenthal, Business Insider, 31 March 2011.

1913 is not even 20 years after The Times of London in 1894 estimated that in 50 years every street in London would be buried under nine feet of manure. In 1900, the Ladies Home Journal predicted it might take a hundred years for automobiles to take over. Things changed much faster than that. Sure, the rest of the country took longer, but only another decade or so.

Little more than a century later, we’re already in the middle of a similarly sudden paradigm shift, this time the conversion of fossil fuels and nuclear power to renewable sun, wind, and water power.