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3E appears to us that the motoring and allied industries, at least in the Metropolis, might do well to consider the proposals which are now being advanced by t: nucleus committee for the establishment of an Engineering Conference Board. It is estimated that half the employers in London are without any means of touch, and it is clear that, as a consequence, there can be neither proper dissemination of information as to working conditions, nor joint action. The London district, contrary to the popular belief, finds employment for no less than a total of 53,700 engineering hands. Government, the L.C.C. and local authorities are reckoned to account for 12,000, and members of the Engineering Employers' Federation for is,o0o, out of this total, whilst the remainder constitutes the unorganised half. its constituent units cannot sue their way to agree to the rules of the existing federation of employers. For example : some object to the entrance fee ef 8s. per ijtoo of wages; others are unable to saddle themselves with the obligation to lock out their men; others think that the annual levy of 29. per 4.too of wages is too much; and, in certain numerous instances, there is a feeling that decisions about London matters should be taken in London. No rivalry with the Engineering Employers' Federation is contemplated, we are glad to know, and the mere fact of there being wages paid to no less than 27,000 men in private shcps, whose owners have not seen fit to enrol, is sufficient to show that there is room for another body.
The proposed Engineering Conference Board for the Lcculon district should, if adequately supported, fit the needs of omnibus, manufacturing, hiring and transport companies, lw ensuring that any changes in working conditions or wages shall only he adopted after discussion, and that any
concessions or re-arrangements shall be made on their merits. The personal element, and courses of action which we may liken to " sapping and mining," are best eliminated, to the mutual advantage of employers and men, where a representative body of employers acts in unison. Some of our trade supporters may care to obtain further particulars from the Honorary Secretary, pro tern., Mr, Thomas A. Midleton, of it, Alexandra Court, Maida Vary, 1V., 10 whom an encouraging measure of support has already been premised by important London firms and companies.
The Forthcoming London
and Glasgow Parades.
The Executive Committee of the Commercial Motor Users' Association deserves the thanks of all owners and drivers of heavy motorcars, for its adoption of the prizescheme for goad driving which we first announced so far back as the 27th December, 1906. Testimony is borne Co the attractiveness and soundness of this policy of encouragement, if such evidence can be said to be really needed, by the fact that the Commercial Vehicle Committee of the Scottish Automobile Club has followed the London lead, Mr. Robert J. Smith and his confreres in Glasgow do not copy anything which is not thoroughly good and beneficial. It is particularly gratifying to the writer to witness this success of the programme for meets and parades, and the support which they are receiving from readers of " THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR." One result should be the strengthening of the ranks of membership of the C.M.U.A., whose lists now show a total in excess of 300, as that body is likely to be of increasing service to purchasers of vans, lorries, and public.service vehicles during the next few years. Its activities are of the solid and useful nature, rather than of a " showy " character, and interested efforts to disparage them have spent themselves in ignominious failure. Any new subscriber of one guinea per annum will have the pleasure of knowing that he is helping a worthy cause, whilst he cannot fail to benefit pecuniarily from the close touch which he can thus. establish with the hub of commercial motoring.
Tractors for Estate Work.
The claims of the modern steam horse, whose lines generally may be accepted as those of the traction engine in miniature, should appeal very forcibly to all owners of country estates with an area in excess of, say, 1,000 acres. Since the date of our special issue dealing with utility motors for country estates and hotels,* we have many times. drawn attention to the advantages of the modern tractor, and we feel that its qualities justify yet another reference. These handy machines can haul a gross load -varying from five to eight tons, and the equable distribution of load over the eight axles of the tractor and its single trailer enable it to travel hartnlessly over by-roads, drives and grass land, whilst it can be used for a variety of purposes other than haulage. The principal service, of course, is generally derived from the necessity for the conveyance of coal, feeding stuffs, manures (including gas lime), and other heavy stores from the nearest town or railway station, outward loads from the estate consisting of wheat, oats and other produce. Next, we take the opportunity for the use of the tractor as a source of power for threshing purposes, and for the driving of other mechanical equipment such as a saw bench or chaffcutter. After that, and turning more particularly to the land itself, a tractor, by means of its winding drum and cable, can haul timber to points where horses and men can deal with it effectively. Finally, and this is a Most important aspect of the case, the tractor, when converted to a roller, the extra cost of which is about .4.7loo, can be used for the improvement of grass lands. It is seldom that a purchaser will find his machine cost him more than k;250 a
year, inclusive of wages, maintenance, -depreciation, insurance, and all legitimate charges, and the possession of such a piece of plant, at times of pressure on the land, when no horses can be spared for haulage purposes of the road, and when extra service is demanded front the whole establishment, should be invaluable. it should be remembered that, so far as available power is concerned, although not permissible on the highway, such a tractor can easily haul more than one trailer on estate or other private roads where the Motor Car Acts and Orders do not apply.