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Odd Moments

16th August 1917
Page 4
Page 4, 16th August 1917 — Odd Moments
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

With Men, Matters and Movements.

Wheel or Chain' Track ?

IN HIS LETTER containing much useful advice on tractors, Mr. S. F. Edge states that " It must be a long fight between the chain track and simple wheel as to which is generally all round the better." A correspondent, who is a Strong advocate of the method exemplified in the " Caterpillar" and the " Tanks," suggests that honours will be divided, and that While it will be)generally agreed that the chain track is " the better," it will be unanimously admitted •that properly-constructed wheels are "all round." .

The Channel Tunnel Road.

M. .R. DUNCANwontemplates the establishment of De--Dion works at Dover, "near the Channel Tunnel." Probably, the same idea has occurred to other manufacturers who propose to become British if we put a tariff on imports. It seems to me that this is.a strong argument in favour of providing in the tunnel a road as well as a railway track. 1 believe the receipts from a cross-Ohannel road would soon become very considerable, and that if the tunnel were properly ventilated there would presently be established big services of motor caches, which would take people on holiday tours to France and Belgium without any of the troubles connected viith the ordinary Channel crossing.

The Farm Motor Position—A Parallel.

ALEADING ARTICLE in this issue on the attitude of British farm motor manufacturers reminds me of what may be cited as a useful example. At one time, pretty well all the fire engines of the world were supplied by a very small number of manufacturers. When it became necessary to adopt the motor fire-engine, these people depended on their knowledge of pumping machinery to retain the whole of the business, not fully realizing that knowledge of motor engineering was just as important. No doubt, just at first they regarded the competition of motor manufacturers with contempt. These latter, however, recognizing their own limitations, did not hesitate to collaborate with experts on pumping machinery. The result has been that now an enormous proportion of the business in fire-engines has passed into the hands of firms that were originally manufacturers of motorcars. This is the kind of result that I should always expect to see following the disinclination on the part of existing interests to pool all the available information and collaborate to the fullest extent when a new and more complex problem presents itself.

Municipal Motorbus Costs.

ARECENTADVERTISEMENT of the Daimler Co., showing working results of buses of their make used in Sheffield is very instructive, but at the same time rather misleading to the casualobserver. This gentleman will notice that, although the‘mileage has gone up from year to year, which, of course, makes for economy, the average cost of operation per mile has also, increased, and so has the cost of repairs and maintenance. I can quite imagine these figures being produced before an uninformeci audience bv some tramway enthusiast to prove that while motorbuses might be all right for a year or so, they get more and more expensive as time goes on. The fact that profits can be maintained, provided that the revenue goes up in similar proportions, does not get rid of the main argument'. It merely. shows that a Corporation can charge what it likes within limits for its public service facilities.

The point that-1 should like'to see emphasized in connection with these figures is the tremendous rise in the cost of wages and supplies that has been going on steadily since 1914. I think that if the increases in the cost of petrol and the increases in the cost of wages, starting, with 1914 as a standard, were deducted from the average -costs per mile, these would be found to show an actual, indicating that a bus does not necessarily cost more and more to run as it gets' older. There must, of course, arrive sooner or later a time when repairs and maintenance will rise unduly, because the vehicle is old and needs replacing. This time, however, is not reached within the limit of three or four years. To sum up, the Daimler advertisement is good for experts, but bad for the uninformed, and, as the latter exist in considerable numbers, I suggest that a little explanation would be advisable.

The Lorries of Paris HERE HAS BEEN a little heart burning in Paris over the order for 200 motor lorries referred to, I believe, on another page of this issue. This City authorities have bought 100 Pierce-Arrow 5-tonners at £1920 each, and 100 Fiat 31-tonners at 21360 each—a respeetalole ordar I Although the excellence of the two types of lorriespurchased is not 'contested, the members of the municipal council are not at all satisfied at the order having been sent abroad through intermediaries. The transaction, I am told, was put through hurriedly and, indeed, was completed before -the full council had an opportunity of voting on it. In the discussion on the affair, it was maintained that French -lorries could have been obtained if a proper request had been made to the War Department. A formal letter was sent to the War Office, and an official reply received that-the French factories could not be allowed to deliver 200 lorries. The War Department, however, was willing to supply 200 Velies, for which it had no use, at the price of 2800 each. The purchasing commission considered that if these lorries were not suitable for the Army they N-Vero not good enough for the city of Paris.

It was claimed that if the contract had to be sent out of France, the entire order ought to have been placed with the Fiat Co., whose lorries cost £560 less than the Pierce-Arrows—making a total saving of R,5e,000—and were more suitable for city conditions. The American lorries fully loaded will weigh nearly 10 tons. The Paris motorbuses weight 7 tons with full -load, and cause considerable vibration and damage to street surfaces. Evidently the American lorries will be even more destructive than the buses. In addition, the municipality has ti accept. the risks of ocean transport, and has the disadvantage of having to operate vehicles thousands of miles from their factory. Practically all of the lorries will,' r hear, be in service by the end, of September.



Organisations: War Office, War Department, Army
People: S. F. Edge
Locations: Sheffield, Paris

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