Last Saturday, we saw the October 5, 1882 Edward Kemble comic, The Recent Disaster in the Fourth Avenue Tunnel, involving a deadly two-passenger train collission on William Vanderbilt‘s railroad lines. The collision was caused by the exact same safety concern as other recent deadly crashes on Vanderbilt lines (the Spuyten Duyvil references), directing public anger at him, for his resistance to spending money on safety issues, in essence exchanging his patrons’ lives for greater profits.
Below, by artist Friedrich Graetz, is the centerspread from the October 4, 1882 issue of Puck magazine, titled Discrimination — The Selfish Millionaire — How He is Taken Care of, and How He Takes Care of His Patrons. Tackling the same issue as Kemble the next day, it charges railroad baron William H. Vanderbilt with using young boys rather than mature men, to monitor what tracks contain trains, and to signal to incoming trains which tracks they should take. (The collision involved one passenger train at full speed, plowing into another passenger train stopped on that same track). Vanderbilt hired boys rather than men, because he could pay them less. Graetz explicitly spells this out within the left edge inset cartoon, where we see Vanderbilt tallying his savings: Man — $30.00. Half Grown Boy — $10.00. Profit $20. Behind Vanderbilt hangs a sign, Boys Wanted to do Men’s Work.
Click on the pictures below, to open larger, easier-to-read versions.
Below, from the same issue, Puck’s editorial text piece, accompanying the above Graetz cartoon. Puck’s prose laments that only legislation can force the corporate monopolies to take the proper safety measures — and how this is unlikely, as the monopolists control the legislatures. (We can thank our current conservative activist Supreme Court judges, for heading us back towards this same direction again, after they nullified more than a century of established election reforms, starting with those of Teddy Roosevelt.)
Below, yet another cartoon inspired by the crash, attacking Vanderbilt for his use of young boys to save money. By artist Michael Woolf, on page 11 of the October 14th, 1882 issue of Judge magazine, Vanderbilt is shown warning a signal boy, that if a couple such crashes occur, he might be forced to replace him with someone competent. (The “torpedoes” held by the young boy, were were used to set warning signals to oncoming trains to slow down because of something — such as a stopped train — ahead.)
Tomorrow, more from Judge on Vanderbilt’s Tunnel Horror.
financial reform NYPuck JudgeMag TrainHorror Frederick Graetz