Mechanical spit roasts used to be powered by geese or small dogs.

The Dog-Powered Spit Roast

Moneybox
A blog about business and economics.
Oct. 16 2012 1:58 PM

Technological Progress Fact of the Day

A useful reminder that it will forever be difficult to improve on electrification as a general purpose technology for human betterment:

Some mechanical spit-roasts in Elizabethan England were powered by geese or small dogs in a wheel.

And of course that's just one small case. In general, one either had to rely on human physical labor for everything or else use animal substitutes and deal with the enormous quantities of manure that resulted.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

  Slate Plus
TV Club
May 5 2015 4:39 PM Mad Men Zinger of the Week: “Lost Horizon” Slate’s TV Club writers pick their favorite Mad Men lines of the episode.
  Health & Science
Science
May 6 2015 2:11 PM Nicholas Kristof Is Not Smarter Than an Eighth-Grader American kids are actually doing decently in math and interpretation, but he’s not.