“A true comparison of the relative cost of operation of cable, electric and horse traction for street railways points unmistakably to the great superiority of electricity, not only in traffic-handling capacity but in economy. On January 1, 1893, the entire street railway system of New York City was operated by horses. The latest report shows that the company operated 27.2 percent of its car mileage by the cable system, 33.7 percent by horses and 39.1 percent by the electric system, and at an operating expense per mile of 17.55 cents, 17.89 cents and 10.06 cents, respectively. The cheapness of electric traction is in the greater speeds that are possible with the cars.”
—Scientific American, June 1899
More gems from Scientific American’s first 175 years can be found on our anniversary archive page.
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