SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
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About the Photos

Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Bovine Lunarometer: 1920

Bovine Lunarometer: 1920

Circa 1920. "Agriculture Department." Cow jumps over moon: astrophysically impossible? Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.

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Well-bred Cow Jumper

What a Good Cow Can Do

The Department of Agriculture is trying to impress upon American farmers that fact that poorly bred cows - "scrubs," of inferior pedigree - are not worth their keep these days of high cost. They do not produced enough butterfat.

The record in this respect is held by Tilly Alcarto, a California cow of Holstein-Friesian breed, which produced 32,425 pounds of milk last year.

To illustrate the idea, experts of the dairy division constructed the toy shown in the accompanying picture. When a button is pushed the well-bred cow jumps over the moon (an electric disc); but the scrub cow does not.

Washington Post, Oct 31, 1920

[If only there were a YouTube video (silent, of course) of this thing in action. - Dave]

Your Tax Dollars in Action

And THIS cow cried wee, wee, wee, all the way home! So much for the popular theory that frivolous government-funded studies are a relatively recent phenomenon. This odd presentation does have great visual appeal, rather like the colorful and usually weird animated dioramas that used to be displayed in opticians' shop windows. It would be fun to know the educational spiel that accompanied this model.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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