Opinions from Others.
If you've noticed an error in this article please click here to report it so we can fix it.
The Editor invites correspondence on all subjects connected with the use of commercial motors. Letters should be on one side of the paper only, and type-written by preference. The right of abbreviation is reserved, and no responsibility for the views expressed is accepted.
Taxicabs at Plymouth.
The Editor, "THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR."
 Sir :—We beg to enclose an illustrated postcard of one of the taxicabs which we are starting in this district, We might mention we have six running, and a further quantity will be put on the streets in the course of a week or so. The cab is a 14-2oh.p. Siddeley, fitted with a standard landaulet body, and not a common taxicab body ; as you see, it is also fitted with a glass screen and canopy. The fares are ordinary standard—ts, per mile.
Trusting you will see your way clear to find a space in your tvell-read paper for same.—We remain, yours faithfully, If. ANDastv Aso Co. ,ktherneum Place, Plymouth.
The Use of "Da.maxine."
The Editor, "THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR."
 Sir :—In your issue of 3 tst December, you kindly i-eferred to our special metal " Damaxine " as employed many of the leading railway companies and works ',Iiroughour the country for slide valves and solid bearings and bushes of their machinery.
We think it would be of service to your readers kr know that Nlessrs. Willans and Robinson, of Rugby, specialists in the manufacture of motor parts, have adopted
Damaxine," and are in a position to supply the sante tor solid bushes and other wearing parts of motor machinery. When the very small lb. weight of material required per car is taken into consideration, the fact that the above fir-in have procured some 30 tons of this material is an indication of itself as ID the high reputation this alloy holds for the special purposes indicated.—Yours faithfully, For THE MANGANESE BRONZE AND BRASS CO., LTD., Chas. S. Glenwalker.
Spare Wheels and Master Patents.
The Editor, "Time COMMERCIAL MOTOR."
18381 Sir :—It has been pointed out to me that my letter on page 368 of this week's issue of your journal is not at all clear as to what.is the real position. I hope you will therefore allow me to make the matter quite clear. 1 stated that the Stepney Company claims a master patent for all similar appliances. This must not be taken to imply that I recognise its claim : I do not do so for one moment. This claim is based upon specification No. 3887 of 19o-1, and I intend to give the claimant the opportunity of proving the claim in the proper place.
The Stepney Company must be aware of a patent of prior date for a detachable spare motor wheel attached at the side of the ordinary wheel, which is now public properts, and which, to my mind, clearly disposes of its claim to
a master patent.--Yours truly, JNo. IL HALL. Sheffield,
roth January, I909.
Special Trains to London for the Sales: Suggested Retaliation.
The Editor, "THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR."
[8391 Sir :—Is it not an indisputable fact that the tradespeople of the different towns from which the special trains to London are being run are valuable customers to the railway companias? Is it not to the interest of the railway companies to support these towns, in order that thee should flourish, and so add to their own sources of revenue? Are not the tradespeople of these towns receiving daily by the railway companies an immense amount of goods; in fact, do not the whole of the goods sold by the drapers, the grocers, and the candlestick makers come to them by the railway?
Surely, we have here a lever, by which, if united, we can stop this unfair method of drawing our customers away. We are not so dependent upon the railway for the delivery of goods as we have been in the past. If tradespeople would only unite, a motor road service could quickly be put into practice, and so render us independent of the railway, aild I feel quite assured that the principal tradesmen of all these towns which are. affected would even put up with a little inconvenience to be able to hold this method of retaliation above the heads of the railway companies, in order to make them desist, at once and for the future, from helping to impoverish the towns from which they themselves derive an immense amount of valuable support. I append my name and address in order to show that 1 ant not in any degree interested in the motor industry—but only looking for some means of combating the unfair methods of some of the London grab-alls.—Yours truly, CIIAS. FREDERICK HAINES, Managing Director, J. W. Goldsmith, Ltd., Tunbridge Wells.
Two or Four Cylinders?
The Editor, " Tile COMMERCIAL MOTOR."
(8401 Sir :—1 have read with interest your correspondence relating to two-cylinder and four-cylinder engines, and, now that you have referred to their relative merits when fitted to a commercial motor vehicle, I hope ow experience as a manufacturer of both will not be out of place.
My experience, gathered from close association with nearly every user of commercial motors in this country, enables me ID say emphatically that the four-cylinder engine has proved more successful with vehicles carrying 25cwt. of net load and over, and especially for long-distance runs, Although they are not quite so economical in petrol consumption, yet they have proved themselves more economical in tire wear, and the advantage of the greater distances they are able to cover in less time together with their increased flexibility— thereby avoiding the continual changing of gear, with the consequent result of extra wear to these parts—places the four-cylinder ahead of the two-cylinder model.
In cases where small vans are required of focal, to iscwt. or sometimes of a ton carrying capacity, the vehicles are not often expected to run any great distance, and a two-cylinder engine undoubtedly meets all requirements, and proves more economical in petrol consumption, but, in cases where a two-cylinder engine of 18h.p. or over is employed, the vibradon set up is injurious to the other parts of the motor chassis, and this alone restricts the application of such an engine in a machine carrying over a ton in hilly districts, or 25cwt. on roads of good surface and under favourable conditions. —Yours truly, For DENNES biaos., • R. DENNIS, Managing Director, Guildford, 9th January, 19o9. Concerning Matoreabs.
The Editor, " THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR."
NA Sir notice that a new correspondent has entered
the field of discussion " Concerning Motorcabs." The letter to which I refer was the one in your last issue signed by
" Makers of Both," 60 signed, its readers are informed, because they do not look fur undue advertisement. IX, you
know, Mr. Editor, I have a dim suspicion as to the identity of your correspondent (or correspondents), and this arises, chiefly, from one or two statements which bear a striking similarity to something I have read over another name during the past few weeks, Whoever he (or they) may be, and whatever he Or they) may make, he (or they) certainly never made a four-cylinder engine or he (or they) would not have made the absurd statement that manufacturers prefer " to sell four-cylinder engines because the price is higher, and there is more profit in them." If the making of a four-cylinder engine simply meant the making of twice the number (or less, to be rate) of parts needed for an engine with two cylinders, then there would be more profit in the larger engine, but, unfor tunately, a four-throw crankshaft is required, together with a larger crankcase (involving, as it does, greater lubrication difficulties), a more complicated camshaft, and more expensive ignition gearing. The three principal of these additional, or, rather, substituted parts—crankshaft, camshaft and crankcase—are all more difficult to handle during the processes of forging or casting, and the subsequent machining operations, than is the case with the corresponding parts of a two-cylinder engine; further, if a Ilaw de velops in the material of, say, a four-throw crankshaft after it has been " roughed out," it costs more to put it on the scrap-heap than a finished two-throw shaft.
Probably " Makers of Both " make chassis only, and buy two-cylinder or four-cylinder engines as required (charging a relatively higher rate for the four-cylinder model); in those circumstances, I can understand there being " more profit in it," but, if that is so, and, basing their remarks on such a narrow experience, is it fair to ask your readers to believe that a four-cylinder engine can be produced at a relatively lower rate?
The letter continues " we cannot ignore the financial aspect of the situation, so far as our customers are con cerned." How magnanimous! Are " Makers of Both " conducting their factory " for their health " and, ignoring the possibiities of the four-cylinder engine as a profit-maker, do they prefer to make two-cylinder models at .starvation prices? Somebody's got an axe to grind, but it isn't me.-
You rs faithfully, GEOFTRY WALL ‘CT• Richmond, 8th January, 19og.
The Editor, "THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR."
, Sir :—I think Mr. Geoffry Wallace, in criticising my letter of the rst instant, has rather forgotten what he himself wrote, and to which my letter was a reply. He says, I " volunteered the information that an addition of halfan-inch to the diameter of each of the two cylinders is attended by no appreciable increase in the weight of the engine," and he says, " this is quite true," which admksion I am glad to note. This statement of mine was in reply to his argument that it was better to put weight in the engine than in the transmission gear. My argument was, and is, that a very appreciable weight is added by fitting four cylinders instead of two—that a slight enlargement of bore in a two-cylinder engine means very little added weight, and, within limits, of course, equally little additional weight necessary in transmission parts. I further contend that an even distribution of added weight over a number of parts of a car are better than its coneentration in any one spot, provided, of course, that the design is correct in the first instance.
Now, from generalities, Mr. Wallace comes to particular dimensions, and he speaks of an increase in bore from Ain. to 4.1in. I said nothing about a two-cylinder engine of
bore, and, by using this size as an argument, he is stepping outside the limitations which T, myself, would apply to this matter. The point comes to this. The average two-cylinder engine used in motorcabs is somewhere in the neighbourhood of 31in. to 34in. in the bore. For work in many parts of the country, as Mr. Wallace states, a little more power3 or 4h.p.---is neoessary than in London, and I say that it is much better—seeing that the entire Question of motorcabs is a commercial one --to get these additional 3 or 411,p. by a slight enlargement of the bore, and not by increasing th number of cylinders. But I also hold that there is a lim to this, and I certainly should not advocate increasing th bore to very much beyond kin. Now, seeing that a 4ir four-cylinder Talbot engine, for example, will develop unde ordinary " tuned-up," but not special, conditions, .somethirt like 44 or 45h.p., it should not be difficult to get, with an decent two-cylinder 4in. engine, IS to zo actual brake horse power, and it must be a very exceptional country in whic. an effective 18 or 2oh.p. is insufficient to take a motorca around with its full load. Of course, if it is desired to tak hills of i in 8 at 30 miles an hour, something very muC larger is required, but, however much this sort of thing ma, be desirable in a touring car to some people, it is entirel. out of the question in a motorcab, for the simple reaso that it would not pay, and, when all is said and done, w get right back to this every time.
Mr. Wallace admits that the rate of petrol consumptia may be higher with a four-cylinder engine than with a two but thinks that this is not the only point to be considered It certainly is not the only one, but an extra petrol cost going on all the time, even to the tune of but 25. Or 35. pc week (the Editor putsthis at 1,1, gallon a day, which wont work out at from 6s, to 9s. per week), is an importan item in the economy of motorcab working, which cannot b, ignored. [Our estimate of increased fuel (page 354 ante) ap plied to a van with an imposed load of two tons; it a out not, of course, apply to a motorcab.—ED.] Mr. Wallao further says that no two-cylinder engine of ish.p. and up wards can be run with sufficient regularity and smoothnes In satisfy the majority of motorcab patrons. Here, again beg to differ from him. To the first place, a well-balance, two-cvlinder engine—except when racing free, or on dal lowest gear—cannot be told from a four-cylinder engine b: any but experts. The late Mr. Govan, of the Argyll Corn pony, who was a great advocate of the two-cylinder engine used to be very fond of taking people for drives in a two cylinder car and pumping them to ascertain—which h, generally did—that they were under the impression the: were behind four cylinders. Again, the majority of motor cab patrons neither know nor care much about the subject They engage a motorcab to get from one place to anothe in a quicker time than a horsed vehicle, and they are not tog critical; but, even if they were, it is useless attempting ti provide them with what will not pay. One does not providi C-spring broughams, pair-horsed, for cab work, though have no doubt the public would like them and patron's, them if they could be hired at the same price. If we coul4 have varying, rates for cab work, according to style, power etc., of vehicle, as in Paris, the matter would be different but, at least so far, all cabs in this country have to work t, an absolute standard hiring rates, and things have to be eu very fine at all points to " see home " under ordinary con ditions upon them, and anyone who neglects a prior con sideration of the items of upkeep and running expenses whet purchasing will rue it in the longrun.
note Mr. Wallace says that two cylinders in a van ma: be all right, because the construction is heavier. This bring: me to another point. The construction of a motorcab shouh be heavier than is the case to-day. Far too many of thi .cabs runningat the present time are. altogether too light fo: the job, and their owners will find this out to their cos before they have done with the question. When I spoke o twice the number of working parts, I had not omitted 0 consider the crankshaft and camshaft, and, if Mr. Wallao will look a little further, he will find that, although each o these is but one piece, there are quite a lot of additiona " workinoports " about them. Mr. Wallace can " shudder' as much as he likes at the thought of riding in a two-cylinde taxicab of zoh.p., but, if he comes my way, I can give hitt a run upon one developing roh.p., on the brake, and I wil guarantee he will have no more cause for " shuddering ' than if he were riding behind a four-cvlindered one. And a: to performance in a hilly country. I related in this paper ins autumn, the story of a noon-mile run, to Edinburgh an< back, done upon this vehicle ; if Mr. Wallace is intereste< enough to refer back to that account, I think he will admi that a car which can do what this one did is good enougl for cab work in any country. There are no " smoke< glasses " over my eyes. I have probably studied this ques tion a great deal longer and a great deal deeper than Mr Wallace has. in my article I quoted chapter and verse giving the experience of actual users, not only in London ur in a hilly place like Edinburgh, and the verdict of that xperience, considered from the 4', s. d. point of view, which, gain I say, is the only point of view the cab buyer can view : from, was against the four-cylinder design. I deal with
o theories, but with facts, and I leave theorising to others.
-Yours faithfully, fiENR17 STI-RMEY. Coventry.
totor Competition in London,
The Editor, " THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR."
[843j Sir :—It is with great reluctance that I am writing ::ris letter, inasmuch as I am a staunch supporter of the lotorbas, But I am. I think, only airing the grievances of le shareholders in the companies referred m in this letter.
On New Year's Eve, the London General Omnibus Co., ,td. (enlarged), started, as you reported, a service—No. s— f motorbuses in -competition with those of the London ;entral Motor Omnibus Co., Ltd., running. between Chalk 'arm and CambereveIl. It is hardly necessary for me to say
at such a service was absolutely unnecessary, the takings eing only just enough, in my opinion, to keep the "Cenrals ' on the road. On Monday evening. the 4th instant,
made it trly business to go dewn King sway. to ..ee. how things were progressing. There, I found what I thought had at least been stopped by the General Company, namely, " racing and empty buses." At the Strand and Kingsway point outside the " Morning Post " offices, I waited for a few minutes to watch the buses coming from Waterloo. First came a " Central," from Waterloo only, with a few passengers, and the few passengers waiting at my point were taken up by that bus. Right behind came a "General," from Camberwell.----empty The result is that the General Company are trying to " get a hit of their own back," but losing enormously at the same time. The General Company are doing neither good to themselves nor to the competing company. This running of buses at five-minute intervals is bad for both companies: a ts-minute service, to my mind, is ample. Now, Sir, if the London General Omnibus Company call this business, I am very sorry for the poor shareholders, for they have, J should think, lost thousands of pounds already, and they stand to lose more by this stupid procedure with its everlasting changes of route, etc. I cannot understand such infantile antics.
I am b:ippy to say I am not a shareholder in any bus
company.Yours faithfully, AV. V. PARSLOW. Holloway, N.