Kris De Decker

Mules, Canals, Trolleyboats... What's Not To Love?
January 08, 2010

Back before the 1840s, many barges in the United States were dragged along canals by mules or horses walking along the bank. This wasn't a bad way of transporting cargo—the mules could carry ten times as much weight as they could hauling a cart on the road—but the method quickly became obsolete once railroads showed up. But now Kris De Decker has a fascinating, history-heavy piece in Low-Tech Magazine (oh yes) suggesting that if oil prices keep rising, or as energy conservation becomes increasingly important, the "trolleyboat" could make a comeback.