BODY DETAILS AND ESSENTIAL FITTINGS.
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What Has Been Done to Bring the Modern Passenger-carrying Vehicle to its Present State of Perfection. Useful Refinements for Enhancing Appearance, Increasing the Passengers' Comfort and Securing General Efficiency.
THOSE OF our readers who. have followed the evolution of the passenger. carrying vehicle will be cognizant of the
general trend in the design of such vehicles, but how many of them will have considered the part played by details of construction, seemingly of small import, in bringing the regular. service bus and the saloon coach for touring to their present pitch of perfection? Very few, we venture to suggest. The layman will consider and appreciate the merits of it coach or bus as a complete vehicle, but little does he know of the ninny and varied Problems associated with details of design.
Too often is it thought. that one coach or bus is very much like another of the same type, and that a standard goods.
carrying chassis bearing a body of more or less conventional exterior appearance
is employed for passenger work. If such were the case it is doubtful whether the travel-by-road movement would have achieved its present popularity, for it is only as a result of the most attentive consideration of the requirements of the travelling public by chassis designers and coachbuilders that the status and stability of the passenger-travel industry have been built up.
We propose dealing in this article with some of the most recent develop ments with regard to features of design, and chiefly those in relation to details and small fittings of passenger-vehicle bodies, as we feel that no opportunity should be lost of indicating that fertile minds are ever at work endeavpuring, to improve mechanical efficiency and to increase the comfort and convenience of the passengers.
The primary purpose of a coach or bus is to provide comfortable seating. Lst us see, in the first place therefore, what efforts have been made to attain this desideratum. Until recent years the usual form of seat was built up on a single or a double-spring case, and this construction is still largely adhered to.
The Peters clip spring seat as ina,do by G. D. Peters and Co., Ltd., of Dean's Yard, S.W.1,. is representative of this type. It consists of a series of interconnected coil springs, made, from a special steel wire, which are linked up to a wire frame.
Another seat of somewhat similar design is that manufactured by Messrs.
Elson and Robbins, of Long Eaton, near Nottingham. This is made in two types: a single-spring seat with a riveted strip-iron base, wire web top and a filling of light or heavy gauge copperecl springs, according to the class of vehicle upon which it is intended to be used, and a spring seat. with another tier, in which the top springs are fastened by treble wires.
A more recent introduction in spring seats, however, is that consisting of a Series of tempered steel strips which vary in shape, gauge and spacing according to the particular use for which the seat is required. The Bowden seat, made by the Bowden Brake Co., Ltd., of Tyseley, Birmingham, and illustrated on n42
this page, is an excellent example of this type. It consists of a series of spring bows built up on a light metal framework, the eye at each end being of a bayonet-fitting shape, in. order to permit of the ready remaval or replacement of
any of the slats. The seat, as supplied by the company, lies upon the steel slats two layers of felt, between which is interposed a layer of hard-drawn steel wire gauze, which serves to distribute the weight over the area of the spring.
The Lamplugh spring seat is likened in some respects to the Bowden, and in its latest form is constructed of bowed laths' the tension of which can easily be adjusted. These strips are mounted -with their ends in a rectangular frame,
the sides of which are divided and overlapped, being secured by clamping bolts fitted in slots to allow of adjustment, of the length of the frame.
While on the subject of seats we might fittingly refer to an arrangement adopted on one of the latest types of Vulcan motor coach. In this design a departure from the usual farm of seating is effected, the seats in -the penultimate row, which are disposed on each side of a centre gangway, being made to be reversible, thus enabling the rear of the coach to be used, as one of our illustrations shows, as a sociable compartment. This is a simple means for meeting a special need and constitutes a. new method of approaching the problem.
It is not a far cry from seats to windows, BO we will next devote some attention to the all-important problem of lights—types in use and points in their favour. This is a subject which is chiefly concerned with 'buses, but the increasing popularity of the all-malther and saloon types of coach widens its ime portance. There is a number of different classes of window lifts on the market, one, in its simplest form, being the product of the Rawlings Manufacturing Co., Ltd., of 1-11, Larch Road, London S.W.12. A reference to the illustration on this page will clearly explain the working of this device, which consists of a roller secured by the axle (A), fitting into brackets screwed to the garnish rail and channel (B), which is attached to the bottom of the glass in the usual way. The window is supported by special galvanized cable (C), the necessary tension for balancing being given by winding nut (D) downwards. The patent buttress brake (E) grips or releases the glass with a half-turn of the knob (F), and the rubbered pads (G) form a soft .cushion and eliminate the risk of window breakage.
The complete window unit made by Beckett, Laycock and Watkinson, Ltd., of Acton Lane, London; N.W.10, is designed primarily, for all-weather coaches. The unit consists of a steel section on its outside, and is used in conjunction with the bottom rubber channel for weathering the window. The front part of this unit is of angle iron, and at each end it is welded to the steel section mentioned, which construction forms a substantial fence rail. The aide posts of the windows are composed of Beclawat silent -window channel, which is fixed into a glass frame-carrier hinged at the fence rail. The company's patent 'window winder, which includes a bottom brass channel with a rubber housing for the glass, is fitted to the front angle fence.
The outside of this rubber section has a, bulged lip, curved on its exterior, so that -when the window is closed it forms a weather-tight joint with the outside steel section of the fence rail.
Jamming, slipping and vibration are features associated with some forms of balanced window, but such disabilities are, absent in the latest self-contained regulating window designed by' Messrs'. Strac.han and Brown, of North Acton, London, W.3. This takes the form of a winding drum with a powerful spring fitted into a space in the bottom of the window frame, the drum being mounted on a steel plate which is let into the panelling, the only projection being a squared shaft with a ratchet for winding up the spring. A thin phosphorbronze cable passes round this drum in each direction, being carried along grooves in the bottom of the glazed frame and then up between the brass strips forming the locking devices at the side, the cable terminating in buttons carried in slotted brackets.
Other types of window act on the lazytongs principle, and some are of the crank or lever pattern, such as the Dura regulator. Others, of more complicated design, are controlled by chain and sprocket mechanism; such as in the Ternstedt regulator, which is sold by Jackson Balances, ad., of Drummond Street, London, N.W.1.
In connection with window construction, a detail which has received consideration is a means for preventing rattle. The discomforting feature of the rattle of glass is particularly noticeable on totally enclosed vehicles, and although it can be minimized by the use of rubber
channels and velvet packing strips, it is extremely difficult to effect 'a cure once the inconvenience has been created. The evil is brought about by the bending movement, of the chassis frame which occurs when the vehide is well-laden, and which results in the rigidly attached dashboard -being strained from the vertical position.
To prevent the possibility of rattle being set up on this account, Leylaud Motors, Ltd., have devised the scheme which is illustrated herewith. It will be seen that the dashboard is not shaped in the usual manner, but consists of a plain rectangular sheetof metal, which is surrounded by the front part of the body, a clearance of in. being left. all round. This space is shielded by a curved draught plate, which is bolted to the front cross-member of the body and is intended to prevent dust and rain passing through the space between the body superstructure and dashboard.
Certain improvements are to be recorded in the design of steps for coaches and buses. Where two running boards are used for giving access to the interior of a coach it is now fairly common practice to hinge the protruding bottom step about its centre, so that when it is not in use it can be doubled hack arid does not protrude beyond the width of the body. Some of these folding steps are mechanically controlled from the driver's seat, and in the latest idea, standing to the credit of London Lorries, Ltd., Spring Place, London, N.W.5, arrangements are made for foot control • of the hinged portion of the step by an interconnected pedal, one side of which is depressed to raise the step and the other depressed to lower -it.
Other steps of this description are in
terconnected with the door fitting, as in the latest type of Bristol coach, and are raised and lowered as the door is opened or closed.
Since the tendency on motor coaches is to reduce the nurriber of doors for the use of passengers, there is little to be said in this regard, although the door fittings should receive passing mention. On the largest type of coach, especially that with a large overhang and a conventional seating arrangement, there has been some trouble with the accidental opening of doors. The greater the number of doors employed the weaker the structure to resist strains and stresses set up by body distortions, warping (when wood is used), etc. Certain ideas have been incorporated in coach bodies to strengthen the door framing, but much can be done to reduce the evil by the suitable use and disposi -lion of good strong butts and safety locks of robust design. .
Slam locks of the railway type are still largely used,. but one or two speciai designs are now finding favour. There is, for instance, the Kaye coach-door lock marketed by Joseph Kaye And Sons, Ltd. This, has been devised ith a -small release bolt, which, whet makes contact with a plate, permits the lucking bolt to shoot half an inchfarther into the box and thus more firrly to hold the door. • Then there is the Carter and Aynsley lock, for which G. D. Peters, Ltd., are the sole concessionnaires. This closely resembles the modern railway-type back, the bolt being withdrawn by a sliding hande instead of by a handle or lever insida the body. This handle cannot be moved inadvertently, since it, is carried in a frame with the edges of which it is flush. When the door is open the bolt protrudes only partially from the lock housing, and it can then be slammed in the ordinary way, but when the door is closed a push rod,. actuated by making contact with the striking plate, releases a catch inside the lock, a spring then forcing the bolt well home into its
socket. The safety catch thus prevents the door from being completely opened unintentionally.
In all-weather bodies where a single door is used on the near side, it is often necessary to lower the light in order to reach the handle on the outside of the panel, but in a recent improvement devised by London Lorries, Ltd., and incorporated in the latest designs of their quadruple-purpose body this inconvenience is obviated by linking up the outside door handle -with a lever on the inside.
In one-man-controlled buses it is now made compulsory to employ an emergency door in the rear body panel, and there has for long been some difficulty in ensuring that this door should not be inadvertently opened and yet be so designed that it could be quickly brought into use in case of emergency. In a patent lock for emergency doors, which has been. designed by Cooper, Webb-Jones and Co.' the seat is hinged at the back of the door, and fits into suitable stops at each end. To open the door the loose cushion is removed from the seat, 'and the mere action of lifting the seat withdraws the bolt from its socket.
Hand-grips and commode handles for use by passengers when alighting from, or entering, a passenger . vehicle are small fittings, which are net always so disposed as to be of the utmost assistance. Sometimes they are placed on the backs of the seats, and more often on the fixed sections of the body sides. A noteworthy refinement in this respect has recently been introduced by James Bartle and Co., Ltd. Western Iron Works, Lancaster Bead, London, W.11, and adopted on their Riviera-type coach. As will be seen from one of our illustrations, the fitting consists of a combined hand-rail and hood support. Two rods are located at the point of inter-section between the seat framing and the body sides, into which the vertiral members of a brass bow or hoop stick slide. The bow extends beyond the tubes at the sides, and its ends fit into sockets in the garnish rail. The 'rods are held in the extended position by siiitable stops. Another refinement in connection with hood fittings is the box prop just introduced by Cooper, Webb-Jones and Co., of Walsall; the form of this device can be clearly seen in the illustration. The prop fits over the top edge of the body, being shaped for the purpose. It can be fitted when the body is practically finished, as there is no question of the welding of prop irons. This is a much neater fitting then the ordinary iron prop, the sharp edges of which have in the past annoyed passengers. • In vehicles which are convertible there has always been some difficulty in securing proper connection between the foundation rail of the top and the upper portion of the body shell, but in a dualpurpose design by the London General Omnibus Co., Ltd., his difficulty has been overcome. The top rail is drilled at intervals?for the reception of the fixing bolts, the holes being provided with bashes, ef such a size that a certain ,amount of contraction or expansion, either of the top rail or the superstructure, can take place without affecting the means of connection. Whilst on the subject of weather protection, we may refer to the neat manner in which the side curtains are stowed away in the bulbous back of the coach bodies built by James Bartle and Co., Ltd., on Lancia coaches, for the Curtis Automobile Co., Ltd. Another improvement on certain types of Bartle-built body is the use of a specially wide running board for accommodating passengers' luggage. By giving a fairly generous turn-under to the side panel, it is possible to extend the running_ board well underneath the body, suitable stanchions being used to connect the hoard with the main frame ork in order to give the utmost rigidity. . The luggage boxes or suitcases can be strapped to these stanchions.
In certain forward-dash-type buses there is sometimes a waste of "body space on the near side, due to the intrusion of the engine bonnet into the main seating compartment. The Bristol Tramways and Carriage Co., Ltd., have adopted the idea of using a wire grille to enclose this section of the body, thus enabling small luggage and parcels to be carried at the front end.
This does not by any means exhaust the subject of details and minor fittings on passenger-carrying vehicles, but what has been written will serve to indicate that design and construction in relation to such matters are not at a standstill, and 'that efforts are continually being made by bodybuilders and others to satisfy the requirements of bus and coach proprietors and their patrons. Those who wish to maintain constant touch with the latest progress in the passenger-travel movement, either from the point of view of the maker or of the user, will do well to peruse our weekly feature, entitled "Passenger Travel News," in which such developments are regularly recorded.