Elephant Hauling Road Roller British India, Photo 1925

Elephant Hauling Road Roller British India, Photo 1925

An interesting 1925 photo of an elephant at work hauling a road roller in the British India era. A huge elephant assisted by a mahout hauls a road roller in Bombay, now Mumbai. Since steam-powered road rollers were uncommon or expensive at that time. Apparently, the best mode was using a large group of labourers or using a working elephant to pull the roller like in this case.

Because of the elephant’s huge size and weight, they have been a huge help as working elephants from ages ago. They were most indispensable in India, Burma, Ceylon, Thailand, Malaysia, and so on. The most common work was in the timber industry dragging felled logs and loading them onto waiting trucks or barges. In the past elephants were used in railways to load freight wagons and even shunt the empty or loaded wagons.

Remarkably they were also used in airports in the early days to roll aircraft to the hangers and were also known to pull flying boats off the water toward land for repairs. Since roads and pathways were a necessity not only for horse carriages or bullock carts but the onset of motorized vehicles also. To undertake the work these gentle giants were said to be the best. One of the most prominent occasions they were used was for grand pageants. Like the Delhi Durbar, Maharajas and Mughal ceremonial extravaganzas.

See post Grand Procession Delhi Durbar 1903 – Old Photo., and Procession of Indian Princes Delhi Durbar 1903 – Old Postcard.

Did you know- working elephants in Andamans & Nicobar can swim from island to island with their mahout sitting on top.

From the collection- Vintage Oleograph Raja Ravi Varma “Laxmi”., Air-India Golden Temple – Old Postcard 1950s., Taj Mahal Hotel Bombay -1907 Rare Advertisement.

Photo Details

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4x3 inch

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