In 1894, London and New York City were facing a grave crisis that threatened the health of the citizens and the future prospects of the two cities. The more affluent these growing urban areas had become, the more they required horses for transport of people and services. A by-product of this prosperity was horse manure, which collected in the streets and attracted flies. Not only were the cities unpleasant places to live, they were breeding grounds for disease. Trying to get the attention of the authorities about the dire consequences if the problem were not solved, the Times of London published a study reporting that in 50 years, London's streets would be covered with nine feet of manure. Officials invited the experts to a 10-day international urban-planning conference. But after three days, the delegates left in frustration. No one could figure out how to solve the horse manure problem.
What no one was taking into account was that the problem had already been solved—on March 17, 1834. That's the day that Gottlieb Daimler was born. Daimler was the inventor of a gasoline engine that could power a coach. Together with Carl Benz, Daimler installed the motor on a carriage in 1886 and invented the first automobile. Soon horseless carriages were replacing horse-drawn ones as the vehicle of choice, solving the horse manure problem.
Margaret Morgan Maat
Margaret Morgan Maat is a minister, coach, organizational effectiveness consultant, musician and motivational speaker. She lives in Houston, Texas.