AN INTERNATIONAL TRIAL OF SPLASHGUARDS.
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The Most Searching Tests Yet Conducted. The System of Marking. Classification of Types Entered. Results.
THE TRIAL of anti-splash guards organized, by the Borough of Camberwell, London, and open to competitors from all countries, which was held on Monday and Tuesday of last week, was of far-reaching importance, and included more entries than any other similar trial which had been held up to that time. The final list included 36 vehicles fitted with splash guards, but in several cases two or more carried the same make of guard. The actual trial was attended by 29 competitors. The tests were conducted in Sunray Avenue, Herne Hill, London. They were certainly severe, but the conditions for mud-splashing were such as tan be found on some of our roads during particularly bad weather.
After examination from the mechanical point of view, the vehicles were run, one at a time, between three sets of ruled boards arranged in pairs, 12 ft., 16 ft., and 20 ft. apart, the pairs being separated by 12 yards. Each vehicle was oarefully: timed, and, if fitted with solid tyres, had to run between the boards at speed of at least 15 m.p.h., or if on pneumatic tyres, at not less than 20 m.p.h. Incidentally, one vehicle, an ancient De Dion on pneumatic tyres, had to be disqualified because it could not reach the minimum speed of 20 m.p.h.
The following list gives the points to which particular attention was paid, and the marks allotted to each :—
It will be seen that the list covers practically all, if not all, the important points which it is necessary to take into consideration when designing or testing a splashguard.
Having finished the splashing tests, each machine had to make a run of 47 miles over a previously arranged route. after which it was subjected to the kerb shock tests.
The devices entered for the trial can be divided into seven distinct types :— (1) A plain rubber or rubber and fabric ring round the rim, or an extension of the rim of the wheel. Examples : " Gentleman," " Strachan," " Menu."
(2) A modification of the former, but with the ring carried by a separate disc bolted to the wheel, the hub, or carried from the latter by radial springs. Examples: " Stirk's Patent," " Hertz," " Smith's Rotary," " Hitchcock."
(3) A circular brush carried close to the tyres and witha diameter approximately the same as the tyres. Example: " Climax."
(4) Arranged to swivel on-the hub cap. Examples: ` Sherrington," " Rogers," Ticehurst," "Edmond Leader," " Bewley Downing," " Goyder," " Borlick and Hogg.," Blackford."
(5) Carried by brackets bolted to the stub axle and passing over the wheel. Example " Graveley."
(6) Attached to stub axle with brackets passing round the sides of the wheel. Examples : " Turner," " Idunjo," " Simplicitas."
(7) Combined mudguard and splash guard. Example : '` W "
Taking these types in the order in which we have given them, No. 1 presents -a very neat appearance, is fairly light, and, being,-fitted with an expanding ring arranged to clip into the bead of a pneumatic-tyred wheel, it can be very easily removed and replaced. When a guard of. this deseriptbn is used with a solid-tyred wheel and is squeeed be tween the tyre band and a flanged rim, it. cannot he renewed without pressing off the solid tyre. One vehicle fitted with guards of this type had trouble owing to the -guards breaking away during the splashing tests, whilst another was torn away during the kerb shock tests. In spite of this, this type of guard proved to be so efficient as to gain the second, third, fourth, sixth, and seventh places. The average -splash-preventing efficiency of this type, as shown by the five examples entered, proved to be 50 per cent, compared with the best result obtained.
No. 2.—This type of guard is rather more prominent than the type just dealt with, although, if. well designed, it Can be prevented from being unsightly. The damage done during the kerb shock tests was, in the main, limited to distortion. In one example in which the rubber ring was supported from the centre boss by radial tension springs, one of the guards came off immediately after the vehicle had passed •through the mud splashes. In spite 'of this, one of this type, consisting of a conical.shaped centre piece and a rubber and fabric ring, obtained the first place, and also gave the highest efficiency so far as its splash-preventing capabilities were concerned. The average -splash-preventing efficiency: of this type was 37 per cent. as compared with the best obtained.
No. 3.L.--The circular brash type is rather objectionable from the point of view of appearance, as if makes the vehicle Iook, something like a road sweeper. In dry weather the brushes are apt to raise a considerable amount of dust. As the brushes can be arranged in sections at any distance within certain limits from the centre of the wheel, the life of this type of guard should be very considerable, and even when worn right out, the brushes could he renewed at a comparatively smaii cost. The splash-preventing powers of this type proved to be some 25 per cent, as compared with the best result: No. 4.—Several of the guards pivoted from the hub caps gavefairly good results, but in some cases, v;,-ith the vehicle running at speed through the mud splashes, the guards twisted round and round with the wheels. One or two had to be disqualified because the guards came off during this test, whilst in ethers, swinging caused by road shocks permitted the throwing up of mud at one side as the device swung to the other. In one example of this type leather flaps were held in clips similar to large paper clips; the idea of this was to permit easy replacement, but; unfortunately, the springs of the clips proved too weak, and several of the flaps came out. The average splash-preventing efficiency proved to be 23 per cent, compared with the best result.. Guards of this type, elaborately constructed and fitted with a spring to prevent rotation, obtained fifth and eighth places.
No. 5.—There was only one example of this. type, and this, although well constructed and arranged with links and
hinges in order, to prevent damage when running against the kerb, proved somewhat unsatisfactory during the kerb shock tests, the two supporting arms being badly bent. Probablyf owinOto faults in its construction rather than in its design, it also did badly in the.enduranee teats, and its splash-preventing efficiency was poor.
No. 6.—Several exaniples of this type were tested, and one of those was disqualified owing to the guards breaking away during the splashing tests. The fitting of this splashguard detracts considerably from the appearance of the vehicle. It is also somewhat apt to be
damaged by vibration. The average splash-preventing efficieney was also -zomewhat poor.
No. 7.—.0f this type also only one example was shown, and little can be said for it as regards its appearance, splash preyenting, endurance, or powers of resisting kerb shock. In the endurance test it was noted that some of the bolts by which it was fixed hadpulled right through the metal, with the result that the noise made by it was very considerable.
There were many astonished comments on the fact that the efficiency of those types of guards in which the wheel was practically enclosed at three sides was no higher, and, in fact, considerably lower in some cases, than of guards of other types and of much smaller dimensions.
With reference to those guards of the loose leather flap type, it was noticed that in certain cases, with the vehicle running at speed, the draught caused the flaps to blow out, thus making, them practically useless for splash preventing. Although we have already mentioned the gainers of the first eight places for the whole trial, it will be as well to deal with these individually and to give a brief description of each. The first place was obtained by a device known as " Stirk's Patent," which was entered by Gadgets, Ltd., of 34, International Exchange, Birmingham. This splashguard consists of a conically shaped pressing, bolted direct to the hub of the wheel by means of the steel bolts already existing, and carrying on its circumference a wide ring of rubber and canvas of an overall diameter which allows a small clearance between the rubber ring and the road when the tyre is bearing its normal load. The device can he fitted to any wheel in a very short space of time, and the wheel requires no alteration. From the side the guard presents the appearance of an ordinary disc wheel, and its approximate cost is 50s. per wheel.
The second, third, and sixth places were obtained by a device of French origin known as the "Gentleman " and entered by the Gentleman Anti-Slash Co., of 29, Red Lion Square, London, IV.G. This guard is one of the simplest of all those entered. It. consists of a rubber. flange carried in an expanding ring locked into the beaded edge of the rim in the case of a pneumatic-tyred vehicle, or carried on the rim and held in position by the pressed-on solid tyres in the case of a solid-tvred vehicle. This device has one great advantage when fitted to a pneumatic-tyred vehicle, and that. is, thatit can be removed and replaced very rapidly, and it in no way interferes with the pneumatic tyre. The fourth place was gained by a device somewhat similar to the " Gentleman," but of even simpler construction, the actual guard entered consisting of an Old pneumatic tyre cut down, the ring so formed being locked into position between the tyre proper and the rim. The fifth and eighth places were gained by the " Sherrington " guard entered by the Sherrington Anti-Splash Guard Co., Ltd., 16, Arcade Street, Ipswich. This guard is of the hub-cap-suspended type, CG but is not actually attached to the hub. A spring steel centre, which passes over the hub cap and carries the bearing for the guard, is held in position by three equally spaced arms, each Austable for length and clipped to a wheel spoke.
The lower portion is constructed of leather and canvas, moulded to the shape of the tyre, and a, vertical arm, connected to the mudguard by a spiral spring, assists in preventing the -guard from rotating with the wheel or from swinging to any considerable extent. When an obstruction or the kerb is hit, however, this spring gives sufficiently to allow the moulded protecting portion to swing clear, and after the obstruction is passed it sways back to its normal position, owing to the action of the spring and to its own weight.
Another French splashguard of the circular rubber ring type, and entered by F. Menu, Cie.. General desyare-Boue, 37, Rue Pasquier, Paris, gained seventh place. This guard was the one which did so well in the recent splashguard trial in Paris.
From the preliminary report of the judges, it appears that out of the total number of marks, viz., 475, no competitor gained as many as 75 per cent , and the first eight devices which we have described were those which gained more than 50 per cent. of the total marks. The judges were of • the unanimous opinion that no device' submitted could be considered efficient from all points of view. This may appear to some of the entrants to be a somewhat severe judgment, but' it is of the greatest importance in view of the possibility that the authorities may consider the enforced provision of some form of mud splashguard on certain classes of motor vehicles. At present there is a law to this effect covering a portion of Ireland, and there is no knowing when this idea may spread to other quarters. If the judges had merely stated that such and such a device was the best, they would have given little or no encouragement to other designers or inventors to produce new guards or to improve those already in being, with the result that, if at any time the provision of mild splashguards was made compulsory, the onty splash• guards available might not prove at all satisflactory to meet the conditions imposed by each class of vehicle, and the rush to manufacture guards would be something like that which has been experienced with the manufacture of licence holders, where the anticipated demand brought forward many holders of inferior quality at, prices which were certainly inflated in many cases. Therefcce, everything possible should be done to assist in the production of a guard satisfactory in all respects, and one which could be manufactured fairly easily in large quantities if the denten I arose.
To the spectators at the trial it was quite apparent that most of the guards certainly did stop the splashing of mud to a greater or lesser extent, and a good comparison was afforded by the driving of a private car without guards through the mud splashes. In this case the boards were thickly covered with mud to a considerable height ; in fact, splashes is hardly the word to apply, whereas the other vehicle., with guards fitted, although they in many cases splashed mud to the same height as the vehicle without guards, yet the quantities of mud thrown were certainly very considerably reduced, so that there is no need whatever for the advocates of mud splashguards to feel depressed over the results of this trial, and we believe that periodical instituted with a view to the finding of better devices, will he fully justified-.