Hard to believe, but in 1870, when horses ruled the roads, there was much debate, scientific and otherwise, over the question of whether all four feet of a horse were simultaneously off of the ground during the gallop.

At a time when several seconds were required to record an image via wet plate photo process, it was photographer Eadweard Muybridge who settled the debate in 1878. Funded by former California governor Leland Stanford, Muybridge produced a series of images taken by 12 cameras tripped with a string as a horse galloped past.

Several years later, thanks to dry versus wet plate technology, Muybridge was able to project images in rapid succession and reproduce the horse in full motion, which was the beginning of motion picture technology.

The following links tell more of the story, includinga video clip of Muybridge’s first “moving” horse: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=125899013; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrRUDS1xbNs;