News of the Week.
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There is an old fable of a mountain which brought forth a mouse. This simile is not altogether inapplicable to the ultimate form and dimensions of a recent journalistic achievement we wot of but do not envy.
Turning to a more congenial theme, we announce on another page the earliest indication that there will be a large entry for the Automobile Club's light delivery van trials, notwithstanding the exclusion of heavy loads.
Our interest in this competition lea) be gauged from the fact that it was our privilege to organise the three series of commercial motor trials held by the Liverpool Self-Propelled Traffic Association in the years 1898, 1899, and 1901.
Sefior Riera, a leading engineer of Madrid, is forming a company for the establishment of a motor transport service between the capital and Barcelona.
The import duty on motor vans and lorries for the United States of America is 45 per cent. ad valorem. We fear, therefore, that the chance of business for English manufacturers is remote so far as that country is concerned.
The County Council of Fife advertised for tenders for motor haulage a month ago_ The only offer received was from Messrs. Duncan Stewart and Co. (1902), Ltd., of London Road Iron Works, Glasgow, which company offered to hire to the district committee a Thornycroft 4-ton steam wagon, with two trailers, for a period not' exceeding 12 months, at the rate of .6io per month, or £5 per month plus id. per ton on all material carted. The committee was to be responsible for the wagon and to employ a competent driver, who was to keep the wagon properly lubricated and adjusted, and the company was to undertake to keep the wagon in repair, providing any such repairs were not the result of accident. It was decided to defer a decision until the next meeting, but we think the offer is an exceptionally good one, and that it can only have been made with a view to further business. The makers should exempt neglect as well as accident_
The fifth special issue of " THE COMMRkCIAL MOTOR" Will be published on July 6th, and will contain an illustrated section of paramount importance to all who are concerned in openings for motor omnibuses.
The satisfactory reception which has been accorded. our four preceding special issues convinces us that this system of circulating our missionary and educative numbers is serviceable to the industry at present.
But our pioneer measures and efforts to advance commercial motors are not limited to this class of development alone, and our readers will be interested in the several early announce
make in connection with the Automobile
The proposed holiday visit of the Association of Municipal and County Engineers to Cologne, Coblentz, and Frankfort has been abandoned, owing to the smallness of the response from members.
Mr. M. de P. Webb, chairman of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce, anticipates a maintained increase in the trade of that port, and hopes for the early development of Southern Baluchistan by the construction of new roads.
Messrs. William Dennis, of Kirton, and Frederick E. Bowser, of Wightoft, are the most active members of the Local Railways Rates Committee which is stoutly fighting the railway companies over the increased rates on potatoes from South Lincolnshire to London. The use of motor wagons might give access to competing systems_
Our contemporary, " Commercial Intelligence," has, in its issue of last week, a startling article on industrial and commercial rascality, contributed by its Paris correspondent. It seems that there arc many Chevaliers d'Industrie, as the French term long-firm swindlers, in London, who victimise manufacturers in Paris and other cities. We understand that their attentions include the motor industry, and that some abnormally cheap Continental motors are being marketed on this scheme of working.
The driver's prize of five shillings is awarded this week to George Weightman, 19, Oswald Street, Miltheta, Sunderland. One penny a line is also sent for the other communication. See page 286.
Mr. E. Evans, the county surveyor of Carnarvonshire, puts the extra annual expense on the maintenance of main roads subjected to heavy motor wagon traffic at only 5 per mile. This estimate is endorsed by Mr. H. E. Bull, the county surveyor of Cheshire.
Mr. Cathcart Wason, M.P., has asked the President of the L.C.B. if he would withdraw the Order permitting heavy motorcars weighing up to twelve tons and permitted to travel at a speed not exceeding twelve miles an hour, in view of the danger to road bridges and the damage by vibration to buildings, cellars, pipes, mains and sewers. Mr. Gerald Balfour replied that no information had reached the L.G.B. which would justify the withdrawal of the Order, The point in the above lies in the fact that heavy wagons are limited to five miles an hour, not twelve.
Their intention to enter for the Automobile Club's Light Delivery Van Trials is definitelyadvised to us by De DionBouton, Limited; the Bickford Burners Company ; the Simms Manufacturing Co., Ltd. ; Dennis Brothers, Ltd. ; the Motor Car Emporium, Ltd.; John I. Thornycroft and Co., Ltd. ; .Milnes-Daimler, Ltd.; the Parsons Motor Co., Ltd. (Southampton); and Janice and Browne, Ltd. Other probable entrants who have communicated 3.vith us are Glover Brothers, Ltd.; the White Steam Cars; the Hunslet Engine Co., Ltd.; Messrs. E. S. Hindley and Sons; the Albion Motor Car Co., Ltd.; the Arrol-Johnston Motor Car Co., Ltd. ; and Iluniber, Ltd. These early intimations account for close upon thirty vehicles to be entered by, perhaps, only one-fourth of the ultimate number of competitors.
We publish at foot two illustrations of the immense advantages possessed by a mechanically-propelled vehicle over horse-drawn types. Messrs. Blake, of Beaumont Street, Liverpool, being desirous of giving one of their delivery vans the severest possible test, made several successful ascents of Havelock Street, Liverpool. This street is the steepest in the city and is closed to through traffic by means of posts at the top and half-way down ; access for wheeled vehicles can only be obtained from the bottom of the hill. The surface is paved with kidney cobbles, familiar to those of our readers who know the Lancashire roads. The gradient varies from one in four to one in five and there is no " take off " as a sharp turn has to be negotiated from Netherfield road at the base, and the one in five portion immediately commences. The van was first driven up on the lowest speed to the posts and then backed down on the brakes; this latter was a severe test for the brakes and showed the strength of their Application. For the second attempt the van was reversed and again went up well and then came down on the brakes. All the ascents were made without any perceptible effort, and were repeated several times. The teamsters' strike in Chicago has directed public attention to.the use of motor trucks as a means of escape from the tyranny of American horse drivers, who are of a much lower class than our British teamsters. What is termed • ' sympathetic striking " is peculiarly characteristic of the U.S.A. teamsters, who have acquired almost unlimited powers for the disorganisation of trade in consequence.
The County Councils' Association is preparing a strong case to go to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, demanding that the Imperial Treasury shall bear a proportion of the expenditure on the 23,000 miles of main roads in the country. Sir John T. Hibbert spoke very feelingly on this subject in his recent presidential address, whilst Mr. Harcourt E. Clare, clerk to the Lancashire County Council, has made it clear that there will be no spirit of supplication, and no going in forma pariperis, over the approach.
Mr. Peter McQueen, the ferries manager of the Birkenhead Corporation, has issued a neat pamphlet dealing with the services, tolls, and charges of the several ferries across the Mersey, which are under his control. Now that loaded motor wagons can cross the river at Widnes, by means of the new transporter bridge, it is not unlikely that there will be a marked increase of direct motor delivery to the Birkenhead Docks, and such vehicles will require to use the Birkenhead-Liverpool goods ferry to pick up return loads.
Mr. NV. Worby Beaumont, of whose career a short sketch appears on page 285 of this number, objected to the exclusion of petrol as a tuel in " The Engineer " competition of 1897. Additional to the particulars given, it is interesting lo note that Mr. Worby Beaumont visited Liverpool for the purpose of opening the second session of the L.S.P.T.A. on November 26111, 1897, with an address on" Self-Prooelled. Vehicles, 1896-97,'' delivered at the Liverpool Royal lnstitution. He is M.Insc.C.E., M.Inst.Mech.E., and Millie E.E.--his contributions to the proceedings at these societies being too numerous even for mention—a past president of the Soc,ety of Engineers, and chairman of the Electric Automobile Vehicle and Parts Standardising Committee.
The London County Council has lost a smoke prosecution, before Mr. Chapman, at the Tower Bridge Police-court, The summons was taken out against Mr. Robert Cunningham, of Messrs. Cunningham, Forbes and Co., of Fleet, I hints, for allowing a motor to be on the road which did not, as far as practicable, consume its own smoke. A police constable swore that dense black smoke was issuing from the tunnel of the tractor for a space of ten minutes, and that he could see it as far as half-a-mile away along the Old Kent Road. Mr. Staplee Firth, who defended, obtained the admission that the Tasker's tractor in question was a light locomotive within the meaning of the 1896 and 1903 Acts. Thereupon, he pointed out that the summons had been taken Out under section 30 of part II. of the Locomotives Act of 1878, which section did not apply. Expert evidence as to the construction of the tractor, and on the subject of visible vapour, having been given by Mr. Douglas Mackenzie, the summons was dismissed. The Isle of Wight Express Motor Syndicate, Ryde, 1.W., are wanting bus chassis, 24h.p., to take twenty-passenger bodies.
The Wolverhampton Corporation are asking for tenders for supply of 15,000 gallons of motor spirit. Full details will be found in our advertising columns. Tenders must be in by June 20th.
Sir David Salomons has addressed the following letter to the president of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders : " Dear Mr. Straker,-Allow me first to thank you for permitting me to be present at the discussion of ' Alcohol for Motors,' when I learnt a great deal. My general impression was that most speakers lost the point of the question of
Home-produced fuel,' and discussed the alcohol question from other standpoints. Also, I saw that the whole matter was what Americans call too previous,' namely, that assistance is asked from the Government before a satisfactory engine is forthcoming. I do not think so despairingly of alcohol engines as yourself and certain other speakers, and would also point out that the experiments made in France are delusive, since benzine is mixed with the alcohol. Nothing was said on the beetroot spirit produced by sugarmaking which could be had for a nominal price in France, but that the Government refused all help-I ant told this by people interested in the matter in France. It appears to me the proper course to pursue is to have an International competition of alcohol engines, say, in two or three years' time, with substantial prizes, and to announce the matter now in order that inventors may start on the work. I would suggest two first prizes of not less than L.II,000 each, and that a committee of four or six experts be formed to draw up the conditions, whilst the conditions should include :-(1) Engines for road carriages. (2) Weight or size, power for power, to be no greater than the best petrol engine of today. (3) That the starting, running, attention, etc., shall be as easy and convenient as with best petrol motors. (4) That one prize be for an alcohol engine of its own special type, and the other prize for the best modification of the present form of petrol engine to use alcohol (the object of this is to avoid throwing out of use thousands of engines in the event of petrol supply running short). (5) That a prize should only be given for the complete solution, and not merely for the best engine presented to the judges.
"If this question is solved, then the great impetus which must follow in the alcohol trade will enable the Government to give facilities without loss of revenue. If you think such a move is desirable, I think all Automobile Associations should join in a prize fund, namely, yours, the Club, motorboat clubs, etc., etc., and I should naturally be willing to become a subscriber."
On Wednesday, 7th, Mr. S. F. Edge invited a number of gentlemen to the Crystal Palace to witness a most interesting series of comparative brake tests between horse-drawn and motor vehicles under exactly similar conditions. The tests were held in the grounds of the Crystal Palace, upon one of the gravelled terraces, and the loose nature of the surface was wholly in favour of the horses, as they were enabled to obtain excellent foothold when the stopping signals were given. At measured distances, from end to end of the trial ground, whitewashed marks were made, and a flagman was stationed at each mark. The vehicles in each trial had to start in pairs from the end of the course, and to stop as quickly as possible when reaching one or other of the marks. The particular stopping place was known only to the timekeepers and the flagmen, and was altered for each trial. As the distance from start to each stopping point was known accurately, it was possible to secure the exact speeds in miles per hour. The times were taken by Messrs. H. J. Swindley and H. II. Griffin, and are, therefore, reliable. The first pair to attempt the test was a Milnes-Daimler postal motor van, carrying one and a half tons of load, and a pair-horsed wagon also drawing one and a half tons. The driver of she motor had to keep pace exactly with the horse, and so that the front axle was in line with the horse's fore legs. This method was followed in each of the succeeding trials. The horsed driver was smart at his work, and until the distance was measured one would have supposed it was not more than some 12 or 14 feet. But it turned out to be 28 feet, as against S feet by the motor van, at a speed of a little over seven and a half miles per hour. Eleven tests were made in all, various types of motors being run against a pair-horse wagon, single-horse brougham, butcher's cart, hansom cab, and a trotting sulky. The tabulated results are given herewith : Distances taken to stop dead after signal was given. Motor. Horse.
Milnes-Daimler Motor Mail Van v. Two-Horse Van.
7.6 miles per hour ... 8ft. 28ft.
7.8 miles per hour ... gft. 241t. 2in.
Six-Cylinder Napier v. Single-Horse Brougham. to miles per hour ... 26ft. 6in. 3ft. 13.3 miles per hour ... Inft. 6in. 47ft 6iii.
18h.p. Mercedes v. Single-Horse Brougham.
15.6 miles per hour ... 28ft. ein. 42R. loin.
15h.p. De Dion v. Hansom Cab.
8.7 miles per hour ... ift. fin. 11.2 miles per hour ... 7ft. 9in.
24ft 6in. 33ft. 6in.
15h.p. De Dion v. Butcher's Cart.
12.85 miles per hour yft. sin. soft sin.
Ish.p. Napier v. Butcher's Cart.
13.84 miles per hour ... 14ft. sin. 38ft. sin.
goh.p. Racing Motorcar v. Trotting Sulky. 18.4 miles per hour ... 24ft. 3in.
20 miles per hour ... 26ft. 6in. 3sft.
In order to meet the convenience of several members of the committee, the meeting called for Wednesday, the 14th instant, will be held at five o'clock to-day (Thursday) at lig, Piccadilly, W. The secretary hopes to hear from recent purchasers of light delivery vans w h may be willing to join the Association, as it is desired to extend the membership of this branch. Although there is a distinct majority of heavy wagon users on the register, there has lately been an accession of omnibus And van users. The committee desires to