The Industry in Central Europe.
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Germany to Adopt Wireless-Telegraph Lorries. Electrotaxi Cabbies Want Higher Pay. German Subvention Trials in October.
By Our Own Correspondent in Berlin.
Vienna was Always Horse Proud.
Owing to the increasing application of the internal-combustion engine to road traffic in Vienna, the local Carriage and Wagon Guild, which hitherto possessed a drivingschool exclusively for the training of men in horse-driving, has decided to establish a chauffeur's school as well.
The German War Office Motortransport Programme.
It has been definitely decided between the German Automobile Makers' Association and tha competent officials of the War Office that the trials for the new subvention type of lorry shall take place from 2nd to 30th October. Moreover, as already intimated in these columns, the War Office will carry out, next July, a series of experiments with ordinary, listed threeton types in conjunction with the cavalry manceuvres, makers letting out the lorries for this purpose to the War Office.
Electric-cab Drivers Strike.
More strikes Affected by the strike epidemic, which is raging in Germany as well as at home, the Hamburg electric-cab drivers struck en masse for higher pay and received it after two hours of negotiations. Prior to the movement they obtained '24s. 6d. a week, in addition to 5 per cent, of the takings; they are now getting. the same percentage of the takings, but an increase of as. 6d. a week. All things considered, the "Hedag" cabmen (Hamburger Elektrischer Droschken Aktien-Gesellschaft) do not seem to be badly off, little skill being required to handle an electromobile.
German W.O. uses Automobile Wireless Plant.
Time was when the transmission of messages by wireless telegraphy needed highly complicated apparatus in addition to stationary and very lofty masts, but the march of progress has changed all that—at any rate, it has greatly simplified the transmitting and receiving mechanism, and also made it. possible to dispense with stationary masts. The latter advantage Germany has decided to turn to account for the business of war, and will use light motor lorries for carrying the mechanism in question. A Berlin firm has received an order for the necessary apparatus. One may assume that the lorries will play their new
role in the special July cavalry manmuvres, when vehicles of the new type are to accompany the troops. I have written " their new role," but the description wouldhold good, I think, for Germany only, since, if my memory serves me well, both France and Austria have shown Germany the way in this matter.
The Growth of the N.A.G. Business.
As perhaps not a few of your readers are aware, the Neue Automobil-Gesellschaft is a sub-company created by that huge concern the Allgemeine ElektrizitatsGesellschaft for the purpose of selling automobiles constructed in the A.E.C.'s works. It was formally registered on 24th December, 1901 ; consequently, the N.A.G. can now look back upon a decade of commercial activity. The N.A.G.'s first engine was of the block variety, motor and driving gear forming a combined unit and being in direct connection with the rear axle. This type proved quite unsatisfactory, and was speedily replaced by that from which the present system has been evolved. Upon the characteristics of the latest models it would be superfluous to dwell, since the make, for both passenger and freight transport, is almost as well known on your side of the Channel as on mine.
In the third year of its existence the company produced the first petrol road train, which caused no inconsiderable sensation when driven over the Tempelhofer Feld at Berlin, for the edification of the German War Office, whose representatives were enthusiastic enough about the new technical phenomenon to order trains of that model for service -amongst the sands of German South West Africa! That the firm received these orders with a feeling somewhat akin to dismay, goes without saying ; still, they were eventually executed, and the trains delivered did excellent work, especially in view of the relatively backward state of motor engineering at the time. Subsequently, the Gesellschaft's lorries came into prominence at home by carrying off the chief prizes in a competition organized by the German Agricultural Society, amongst them the German Emperor's Prize of Honour.
About this period, the NA.G. turned its attention to the production of vehicles for public passen
ger traffic—cabs and omnibuses, that is ; and in this dual province it has been wonderfully successful. Apropos of N.A.G. cabs, it is interesting to note that the AutomobilBetriebs-Geaellschaft, floated in 1904 with the object of working such cabs in Berlin, has now a stud of 240 vehicles, the garage being one of the largest in Germany. A short while back the BetriebsGesellschaft was converted into a limited liability concern with a capital of £150,000.
In process of time, the company extended its operations to municipal vehicles of various kinds, such as road-sprinklers, fire-engines, etc. Berlin's first road-sprinkler was an N.A.G., as also its. first wagon for the transport of injured or sick horses and other large animals to the slaughter-house or the " hospital."
When is a Freight Lorry a Passenger Vehicle? The Nature of Revenue Norms.
The German Imperial Court of Law has confirmed a judgment given against a firm who sought to recover from the Revenue Department the sum of twenty odd pounds sterling imposed as taxes on a lorry used on several occasions by the firm for giving their workmen excursion trips on Sundays. Plaintiffs held that the occasional application of a freight automobile for passenger traffic under such conditions did not render them liable to pay passenger-automobile rates ; but the Imperial Court ruled that the decisions of the lower courts, which had taken the commonsense view of the case, were " incompatible with the nature of Revenue norms," the norm here being whether the vehicle was used for freight or passengers. To spare readers a quarter of a column of juristic highfalutin, in which German courts are wont to indulge, the conclusion of the court was simply this : the solitary application of a lorry for passenger work constitutes it a passenger vehicle, and, ergo, liable to the tax. So much for the Reichsgericlit of 28th November, 1911! On the other hand, a month or so previously another branch of the same court, dealing with an analogous ease, ruled precisely the other way about. [In England, of course, the conveyance of passengers renders the vehicle unable to be classified as a trade vehicle. Such use, even if it be incidental, results in disqualifiCation.—Ets]