Heaven’s Gate Minute by Minute: 181 of 209

8 May

181 of 209

It’s subtly woven into the action, but I believe this minute to be an exposé of poor wagon driver safety in the nineteen hundreds. People fly out of them at the smallest bump in the road. Why isn’t anyone wearing a wagon seatbelt?

The answer, unfortunately, is due to a material shortage in Johnson County in the 1890s. There was only one seatbelt in the entire state and it had to be shared by every driver at once. The belt was enormous as it had to stretch and weave across many miles and many wagons. It made driving incredibly difficult and resulted in the strangulation of numerous drivers. Because it was too complicated to unstrap, the belt remained tied to you even if you weren’t operating your wagon and most citizens walked with a wagon attached to them at all times. As you can imagine, this made climbing stairs, playing bocce and trampolining an exhausting, laborious affair.

The Johnson County seatbelt was 990 miles long and its length probably contributed to the material shortage that made it necessary for the sharing of a giant 990 mile seatbelt.

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