29 January 2011

"Blowtorch" - a mechanical horse

Blowtorch, a life size mechanical horse, was the pet project and creation of W.J. McIntyre, a Swift Current, Saskatchewan inventor... Blowtorch’s body was fashioned from sheet metal. A nine hp gasoline engine provided the “horsepower.” Small wheels were hidden under his hooves. The legs slid back and forth. A foot throttle controlled the speed; a brake cable slowed it down... McIntyre rode his mechanical steed at local fairs where its peculiar lurching gait delighted the crowds.

After McIntyre’s death in 1965, Blowtorch was put out to pasture. Neglected and almost forgotten, the elements took their toll... That’s when Allan Jacobs, a welder at McIntyre’s shop, spotted the tired horse and decided to do something about it...

On a $20 dare by Jim, Jacobs headed for the fairgrounds astride Blowtorch in the 1968 Swift Current parade. However, disaster struck when the horse’s tiny wheels got stuck in an expansion joint on an overpass. The jolt was more than Blowtorch could take and the poor horse lost his head. Jacobs managed somehow to put the head back on, holding it in place with the halter and bridle. But things did not go well for long. As they turned a corner, Blowtorch snapped a leg bolt, and down went horse and rider. Jacobs, dressed as a cowboy, pulled out his toy gun and “shot” the crippled horse as the crowd roared its approval.

But this was not the end of Blowtorch...
The rest of the story is at the Saskatchewan Western Development Museum web page.  Posted for Funder and her readers (someone obviously thought a mechanical horse was a good idea at the time...)

Via Nothing to do with Arbroath.

1 comment:

  1. Hahaha, that is too cool. 9 hp seems like overkill for one horse, though... ;)


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