LOOKING BACK 15 YEARS.
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The idea of applying sueSuction-Gas tien-gas plants to the Experiments, propulsion of commercial
motor vehicles is not new, and, although the utilization of this class of plant has only of recent months reached a commercial stage, it is interesting to recall that as long a-go as the year 1906 the Royal Agricultural Society of England conducted a series of trials for these plants with engines ranging from 15 to 20 b.h.p. It was said, at that time, that the evolution of a suctiongas plant capable of convenient disposition in the frame of a road vehicle, which would not add undue weight to the structure, and the parts of which would not be prohibitive for any other reason, might readily enough bring down the best of our present energy charges in motorbus operation by at least 60 per cent. Although we believe that the system was then tested with a view to its adaptation to motorbus work, there is no recorded instance of a suction-gas plant being employed for any prolonged period on a passenger-carrymg vehicle, and it is only after an interval of 15 years that extended experiments are once again being carried out in this direction. There are, at the present time, at least two suction-gas plants available which have satisfactorily withstood searching and extended trials.
Previous to 1906 mechaniEarly Petrolcal and electrical engi
electric nears had, for many Failures. years, realized the advan
tages that must accrue from. the perfection of a system of petrolelectric power transmission. At that time, in no instance whatever had the makers of the various systems been able to prove their vehicles to he entirely satisfactory from either the practical or commercial standpoint. Enormous labour and energy had been expended to that end, and many of our readers will only need to be reminded of the efforts put forth by, amongst others, • Fischer, Jenatzy, Lolner and Porsche, Mitts and Wallace, Hart, Krieger, Pieper, De
Dion-Bouton, Milde, and the Germain Co.
Probably the greatest of all practical difficulties which. were experienced at that time was the inherent troubles of continuous-current electricity on seriesparallel control systems. Although successful as applied to electric traction on rails, where the current was derived from a central generating station at constant voltage, and where the weight and horse-power of the equipment was relatively large, the &static effects, due to sudden breakages of the main circuit, were comparatively unimportant in their consequences. An isolated and self-contaird unit presented an entirely different proposition, and all petrol-electrio vehicles designed up to that period left a great deal to be desired. They were complicated by the presence of accumulators, commutators, brush gear, ponderous controllers, numerous switches, and a marked absence both of simplicity and utility.
An interval of 15 years has witnessed a remarkable development and perfection of the petrol-electric system, and the difficulties experienced with the pioneer types, many of which were thought to be insuperable, have been entirely eliminated. The Tilling-Stevens is a modern example of the petrol-electrio system which has given excellent results in commercial service, and particularly on passenger work.
During the year 1906 Berlin's the niotorcab entirely Motor Cabs. lost the attraction of novelty which it possessed for ths Berliner some three or four years earlier. There were no fewer than 439 inotorcabs on the Berlin streets 15 years ago, 89 of which were electrically driven, whilst 350 were propelled by alcohol or bensine. Practically all the electric cabs were owned by the Berliner Elektromobil-Drosebken-Aktiengesellschaft. The chocolate-coloured " Bedags," as they were called (a name .derived from the firm's initials), were very popular on account of their noiselessness and the absence of any offensive exhaust. The internal-combustion cabs were owned by many companies. Close upon 100 of these vehicles were fitted with N.A.G. two-oylinder engines.