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THE COMING GREAT HOME INDUSTRY. It is as a natural consequence to the increasing use of commercial motors, both at home and abroad, that " THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR" makes its bow to the world. We enter the arena determined to support the highest traditions of class journalism, and to maintain ourselves and our charge in the front rank. The difficulties and trials, through which the business self-propelled vehicle has successfully passed, have resulted in this journal's appearance at the appointed time and not sooner. We have to deal with that branch of the automobile movement where our commercial instincts have placed our country, equally in respect of application and production, first without disputants. There Great 13ritain must remain. Nine years of trial, of experiment, and of unremitting effort, have resulted, at last, in the unloosening of the legislative bonds which so long retarded the legitimate outcome of our engineering genius in relation to mechanical road transport. Ever since the first Liverpool trials for commercial motor vehicles in June, 1898, which the writer had the honour to conduct, sustained pressure has been exerted on the Government of the day, through the Local Government Board and other channels, to secure that freedom for construction and circulation which has tardily been granted. The effect of this prolonged uncertainty—as to speeds, tyres, weights, width of vehicle and other details—has been to hinder that regular output, which is the measure of cheap manufacture, and to keep prices at a level which has been unattractive to the great body of prospective users. Makers have found the great expense of constructional tests fall upon a small divisor and have, from sheer force majeure, sold one machine at the enhanced cost where they will now sell six. 'With early failures to contend against, without experience of road conditions, and in the face of problematic legal right to user of the highway at all, the marvel is that upwards of 3,000 commercial motors, ranging from the scwt. delivery van to the 6-ton wagon, are at work in the British Isles to-day. When so fine a record has been achieved despite such great drawbacks and disadvantages, can human foresight gauge the future?
We have arrived at the psychological moment, at the stage when the industry is looking for a powerful organ to cultivate the markets of the world, to crystallise and to direct the forces of a demand the potential volume of which is truly staggering. We have been pained to note the hopeless one per cent. of matter vainly seeking to satisfy the claims of the commercial motor midst a chaos of words foreign to the cause we have had before us. Every consideration told us that this anomalous state of affairs must cease—that the cry of the commercial motor for separate treatment, for a
journal to itself without excrescences, was not to be disregarded. The buyer, the agent, the dealer, the established user, or the manufacturer, will no longer struggle through pages which interest him not, will no longer desist in disgust from his search. We shall provide only that which interests ; anything that is not germane to the commercial motor will be elsewhere. We have before us the object and intention to limit ourselves to the commercial motor, but we feel, with a confidence born of knowledge, that there is enough before us to provide sufficient room within our two covers for the bare and just demands that it will make upon our space.
"Tux COMMERCIAL MOTOR" is a missionary and educative medium. It has possession of records which show how success has been made to attend users of the commercial motor in a great variety of trades and business. It has, in addition, records of failure and knows how to place the finger of discerning criticism on the causes, how to detect the sins of omission and commission. We shall be pided by the rule that " Economy is the planet round which all considerations do but revolve as satellites," and we shall substantiate the points of self-maintenance, capacity to take profits, and power to open fresh markets to the owner. These will be the keystones in the structure. Failures will be explained, not denied. We shall give bald facts in detail, not merely nebulous outlines. Those who have never turned to the matter of their own accord will be taken in hand, and will be shown where, and how, and why, the commercial motor must be recognised and adopted in their daily life. We shall instruct the entrepreneur, the man who wants a new occupation, a new source of income, as much as the existing local repairer or garage manager. We shall answer the hundred and one questions of those who are waiting to purchase if their wants are met, to become users forthwith if the promised economy is demonstrably there. We shall place at the disposal of the industry at large, and to the advantage of the numerous body of doubting users of other forms of transport, the force and influence of a well-conducted journal which has no divided interests, and which will draw its information from quarters conceivable and inconceivable. We shall seek to hold the balance, as between the builder and the user, by virtue of our wide experience on both sides, and by reason of that fellow-feeling which comes to us from experience alone. We shall copy nobody, for there is nobody to copy, but shall create our own precedents throughout. We shall welcome hints from, our readers, and shall not
stalk, impudently, behind any barrier or unapproachableness or custom. No accumulation of crusted usage will be pleaded, and we shall be as rapidly up-to-date in every prac
tice as in each departure. We shall work for the continued respect of the name of " THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR," and its reputation shaft be the test of the solidity of the section of
the industry which Great Britain has marked out for her own.
There are announcements in this, our first, issue to show how the scope has grown, in a few brief years, to be a most encouraging prospect. A perusal of the several notices announcing different branches as reserved for supplements
or other special treatment will show that, though each is different, all are definite channels of trade with distinctive features and needs. There is no uncertainty as to our " points d'appui," and there is more fallow ground to prepare than harvest to reap where seed has already taken root. The selection of these special issues, which are now in course of preparation, presents a fair example of the directions where THE COMMERCIAL MoToa " will carry settled facts to those who are waiting to receive them. The trade maxim that " one satisfied customer is worth a dozen arguments " should nowhere be exemplified more completely than in the business results which should accrue to our supporters. No limit will be placed upon our energies and devotion, no bounds to our resources. No idea which can be submitted will be regarded as unworthy of thought_ We have come Into being with the fixed purpose of permeating the world with " TtlE COMMERCIAL MOTOR" and, in no sprit of idle vanity, we prophesy that commercial motors of British origin will alter the face of the globe as much as railways have done before them.
The Motor Omnibus "Boom.*
Two large flotations have fallen together within the past seven days, whereby the sum of ,;6(.15,000 has been added to the authorised capital upon which it is proposed to find a return by the employment of motor omnibuses, primarily, at least, in the metropolitan area. The London and District Motor 'Bus Company, Limiied, whose registered offices are at Basildon House, Moorgate Street, E.G., offered 25o,000 ordinary shares tif 4, each, Out of 400,000, with too,000 deferred shares of one shilling each in the background, and The London Power Omnibus Company, Limited, whose registered offices are at 5, Copthall Buildings, E.C., offered the whole of their authorised capital, divided into 200,1)00 shares of 4.i each, wit:hout reservation. It is too late lor our opinion to affect the issue in any way as regards subscriptions, but we have no hesitation in saying that watered stock or excessive capitalisation should find no acceptance in the programme. Motor omnibuses, even in their present relatively early stage of development, are capable of yielding good margins between expenditure and revenue, subject entirely to reasonable management charges and the absence or any annual drain upon profits for the purpose of paying dividends upon shares for which no money has been paid and which are not represented by live plant. We hope that those who may now find large amounts of subscribed capital at their disposal will not allowan excess of eagerness to begin work to dissuade them from a course of constructive and gradual development. ‘Ve wish to see no forcing, else a set-back will follow. Our advice is that omnibuses should be ordered by the score, instead of by the hundred, and that services should be undertaken in sections before a general scheme is embarked upon. Care must be exercised and discrimination practised, as much in the choice of cars as in the selection of men, and the very suddenness of the leap forward threatens temporarily to exhaust the two. One danger lies in the interval before production can recover. Again, an efficient organisation of personnel is not conjured up at will, and it is a duty incumbent upon us to point out that drivers are not heavensent to meet occasion. It will take time to train expert drivers, and, if several hundreds of 'buses are delivered and put on the road in rapid succession, really capable men may not be available, as the best drivers arc already engaged. The functions of steering, changing gear, and engine control, render inevitable a larger proportion of failures than in an electric tram service, and no process yet invented will discover fresh men other than by trial on the road. The necessity for a systematic organisation to train drivers will be apparent when it is remembered that a motor omnibus driver is carrying members of the public through varying traffic, and that the absence of rails, though of assistance to progress, increases his responsibility.
We are glad to find that capital is prepared to support the motor industry, whether for the manufacture of the vehicles or for their operation on the roads and streets of this country. We are convinced that each of the new London companies can achieve success, so long as the directors realise that the task before them is no sinecure, but one calling for proof of administrative capacity of no mean order. To regard success as assured, except at the cost of skilful management, would be suicidal.
The Waste of Rubber.
Why is it that we have, apparently, to endure the rejection of at least three-quarters of an expensive material before it is worn out Solid rubber tyres are a sine qud non for many types of commercial motors, yet we see great possibilities in the direction of an increased life. It is only where excessive stress is placed upon the rubber that a tyre is destroyed and rendered useless, by molecular disintegration, whereas the weight of the rubber which still remains is 8o per cent., or even more, of that originally purchased. The serious feature is that the value has fallen to fourpence a pound! The fact that the rubber is still there in the mass, though changed in its properties, which truth is now clearly established, demonstrates the folly of users who seek to make a saving in the first cost of tyres. The certain risk they accept is to see the smaller section renewed with treble the frequency of one which is sufficient to preserve the rubber from that degree of compression which exceeds the destruction limits and which alters its nature entirely. We are unable to say that data are available to allow the preparation of a table which shall show the safe maximum weights in relation to tyre section, because the different systems of mixing, of moulding, and of securing the tyre to the rim render that very difficult of accomplishment. We do assert that the running expense for rubber tyres will be largely reduced by a higher initial outlay to secure an ample tread and section, whilst we believe that there is room for investigation in the region of the virtues of rubber as an insulator from shock, and an absorber of vibration, rather than to limit our conception of its functions to the providing of a resilient medium to undergo constant blows which exceed its natural resisting properties. The indubitable fact is before us that the use of narrow sections results in the destruction of the rubber, as such, without wear in the ordinary sense of the word. The rubber is not ground away. It is simply overworked.
Pressure on our space has prevented our including numerous features of a regular character. Company reports and registrations, patents and trade mark applications, legal news and notes, consular reports, tenders invited, and other matters are also excluded.