THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE HEARSE-HANDY.
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A Type of Dual-purpose Vehicle Which Obviates the Employment of Two Distinct Means of Transport.
A N INTERESTING type of LI_ two-purpose venni e has recently been constructed by Messrs. Bonallack and Sons, of 268, Romford Road, London, E.7, who, incidentally, are authorized dealers in Dodge Brothers' vehicles.
This vehicle is a combination•of hearse and handy. It is so arranged that when used for carrying empty coffins the glass sides can be covered and six coffins carried at the same time, and yet when used for funeral purposes it presents all the appearances of a wellappointed and single-purpose vehicle.
When used as a bandy, the plate-glass windows on the sides of the body are covered by slip panels, which rest on three channels at the bottom and are secured at the top by three nickel-plated dears de lys provided with wing nuts on the inside of the body.
A rack, resting on three brackets at each side of the body and fitted with nine rubber-covered rollers, serves to carry three of the coffins, the other three are accommodated on the floor of the vehicle, which also is provided with nine rubbercovered rollers for use when handling the heavy appurtenances which are often used.
When the vthicle has to be employed in its more legitimate occupation, the side panels are removed by loosening the wing nuts, and the rack is lifted out. The wing nuts are, of course, tightened again to keep the fleurs de lys in position.
In the place of the rack is fitted a table which rests on the lock of the driver's seat at one end and is supported at the rear by two legs, which fit into plated sockets in the floor. In addition, two tip-up seat s, secured to the side of the body immediately behind the driver, accommodate two coffin bearers, and there is also room at the front on the driver's seat for two persons, in addition to the driver.
The dimensions of the body are as follow :—Inside measurements: Length behind driver, 7 ft. ; width, 4 ft. 4i ins. ; height, 4 ft. at ins. ; but the
• builders are not tied to these dimensions so far as an inch or so in any direction is concerned, and this would make no difference to the price. The chassis employed for carrying this body is the 15-cwt. Dodge Brothers, and it may be of interest to give a brief resum4 hf its leading features, as it has won a sound reputation in this country for its reliability and cheapness of maintenance.
The engine is a four-cylindered L. beaded monobloc, of 98 mm. bore and 114 mm. stroke, the cylinder heads being detachable in one piece. Lubrication is effected by pump and splash, whilst, as regards the rest of the chassis, h. highpressure grease-gun system is employed. Dry multiple discs are employed for the clutch, and the transmission is of the selective sliding-gear type giving three speeds forward and a reverse, the gearbox casing forming a unit with the crankcase and clutch housing.
The drive is taken through a propeller shaft to a semi-floating rear axle with spiral bevel gearing.
Many important improvements have been made in the latest model of this chassis. The chassis frame has a depth of 6 Ms., which is 2 ins, deeper than that formerly employed. The brakes are particularly powerful, having 14-in. drums. They are equalized, but either hand or foot brake will lock the rear wheels if necessary.
It will ha appre.: ciated that by the use of a vehicle of this type the undertaker avoids the necessity of purchasing two separate vehicles. A hearse is—perhaps we ought to say, fortunately— a type of conveyance that is not in constant use throughout the day, and, therefore, if employed for one purpose only, has to spend a great amount of its time in idleness.