Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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The Garbage Cart

Artist:
William P. Chappel (American, 1801–1878)
Date:
1870s
Medium:
Oil on slate paper
Dimensions:
6 1/8 x 9 1/4 in. (15.6 x 23.5 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
The Edward W. C. Arnold Collection of New York Prints, Maps, and Pictures, Bequest of Edward W. C. Arnold, 1954
Accession Number:
54.90.507
Not on view
For the first two centuries of New York’s history, anyone who wanted to transport anything—goods, building materials, even garbage—had to rely on one of the city’s licensed cartmen. New York could not function without the ubiquitous white-smocked cartmen who were awarded freeman status and a monopoly on intra-city transportation. The numerous regulations placed on the carting business included rates, cart size, and speed limits. According to its inscription, this scene, at the intersection of Pump (now Canal) and Elizabeth Streets, likely features the carter Thomas Palmer around 1807, bell in hand, executing his mandatory biweekly garbage collection.
Inscription: [on the back]: No 21 / No 48-46-42-40-34-32-30 & 28 / East Side of Elisabeth / Corner of pump St Wm S. Groddy posts paint Mill [?] / pot [frye?] Palmer with his Garbage Cart & Bell No 21 / 1806
Edward W. C. Arnold, New York, until died 1954
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