Inflated Bullock Skins Used for Ferry Boats on Sutlej River in Punjab, India

Special Collections > Keystone Slides
tiff scanned file from original glass slide
If you look at this view carefully you will wonder why it is named as it is. There is little here that resembles a ferryboat, yet that is what the queer-looking float in the foreground is. The native travelers on the two central bullock skins are being taken across the river by the men on either side. "But," you ask, "how can one ride across a river on a skin?" The answer is easy. The skins have been made air-tight, and inflated with air just as you inflate your football. And so they float. As many of these skins as are desired are fastened together by poles so that the ferry boat can be made any size. The two oarsmen sit on another inflated skin and push the crude raft to the other side of the river. Such a boat is very convenient, because it is light and is easily carried over the rough country. The native on the extreme left has his boat strapped on his shoulder and has his paddle in his hand. The one farther up stream is just ready to launch his float on the waters of the stream. It is interesting to compare this method of transportation with the ferry boats used in our country in pioneer days. Our ancestors cut down trees and fastened the logs side by side and thus floated across and down the rivers. Later, ferry boats were made which were held in place by a pulley running on an overhead cable. The force of the stream pushed the boats along. Our modern ferries are great boats, driven by steam, capable of carrying many heavily loaded freight cars. Ferries have been displaced generally by bridges; and occasionally rivers have been tunneled under. Keystone ID: 12563 Note: All titles, descriptions, and location coordinates are from the original Keystone Slide documentation as supplied by the Keystone View Company. No text has been edited or changed.
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