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Furry roots--

In the Victorian era, there was a movement to make the world a more decent and morally acceptable place--the classic example being the use of a skirt to conceal the legs of a piano bench. Specifically in the later era, (c) 1885-95, legislation was enacted by Parliament, forcing owners of animals in public spaces (that is, work-horses, cattle, domestic animals like dogs, and so forth) to conceal those elements of their livestock that were considered, at the time, to be "indelicate." This legislation lead to accessory industries to the usual agricultural industries, as most tailors weren't willing or able to measure an inseam on a bull. It was traditional to re-use these beef-industry garments from market to market--merchants would stockpile these garments, trading them for goodwill to the local cattle breeders.

This practice--that is, the covering of animals to protect the sensibilities of the public--extended into the late 1890s, when popular mandate extended the practice to include (when practical) wild animals. While no legal proceedings could be brought against him, a land owner could face public censure for failing, for example, to suitably attire a wandering herd of deer.

One of the earlier public advertising campaigns featuring anthropomorphic artwork took place when Adelaide Cooper (1855-1932), formerly of York, England, attempted to spread this practice in the United States. For a brief time, "Boy! Put pants on that coyote!" experienced a lively period as a catch-phrase in the rural southern states.

True story.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
baktre
Jul. 22nd, 2003 08:14 pm (UTC)
At least we rated pants! You have to feel sorry for the guy pianos who got stuck with skirts.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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