The Low-load Yorkshire Steamer.
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Interesting Recent Improvements to a Well-known British Design.
For various well-defined reasons, the design of steam motor wagons has remained, with a few almostnegligible exceptions, in the hands of this country's engineers. In the early days of motor haulage by self-contained units, there was very considerable variety and divergence of opinion in connection with such design, but of later years, of course, it will have been noticed that there is a tendency to concentrate on the loco-type boiler and the horizontal engine situated immediately over the boiler shell_ Thus, considerable numbers of unique designs have in the past been abandoned, and, certain uniformity secured, a result which has not perhaps been entirely advantageous, particularly from the point of view that it has checked advance on original lines in many directions.
In spite of this development, British constructors have retained several interesting steam-wagon models which bear no resemblance to that type which we have indicated as having absorbed many earlier designs, and amongst these one of the most interesting, and certainly one of the most efficient, is that produced by the Yorkshire Commercial Motor Co., of Vulcan Works, Pepper Road, Leeds. The machine remains to-day, in respect of its general conception, much as it was when it was first produced on commercial lines. It will be recalled that in the Commercial Vehicle Trials organized by the Royal Automobile Club in 1907 an example of this machine secured a gold medal for its praiseworthy performance.
We have recently paid a visit to this Leeds works, and we found that, while the unique features of the Yorkshire design have all been retained, quietly and steadily the designers have been at. work in respect of many detail improvements since we last had the opportunity to inspect a model closely.
We reproduce in these pages several photographs of deliveries of machines which embody " all the latest improvements," and perhaps the most noticeable of these is the lowering of the whole of the frame line by nearly a foot_ At first.' sight, one would not detect this alteration from the photographs on this page, but when it is pointed out that the figure shown 1in both of them is that of a man rather under the average in height, it will be at once seen that the platform floor, the boiler, and all -1-).c," other components are much lower than usual. It is obvious that any alteration in this direction
B20 which can he effected without interfering with the below-axle clearance is advantageous. The Luachine will be more stable on the road, it will he more responsive to steering, and it will certainly give better results with a low centre of gravity when it is shod with rubber tires.
The platform height on the new model is 40 ins, from the grOund the average eorreSponding dimension on the machines in which this alteration had not been embodied was 51 ins,, a net difference
of 11 ins. The relative heights of boiler and engine location, as well as of overall height to top of canopy and chimney, have been subjected to a comparable reduction. The new height to the top of the chimney is 7 ft. 6 ins., the old height being 8 ft. 9 ins_ The result of the alterations is that the majority of the models which are being delivere.d at present by the Yorkshire Co. have certain further definite characteristics of their own. The grouping of the vertical engine and the boiler relatively to the front wheels has always yielded in this type a maximum platform area with a minimum wheelbase and overhang. That in itself has always been a good selling point for York_ shire wagons. When, now, the company is able to add to this the low loading height of which we are now writing, together with the lower height gauge, it will be seen that the machine is about as handy a steam-wagon model for its loadcarrying capacity as can be purchased to-day. The reduction of loading height has been secured by the re-design of spring brackets principally, and by making reductions in connection with the spring seatings and the frame suspension generally.
It may be recalled that a few years ago the Yorkshire design had added to it certain interesting improvements which included rocker spring suspension over the front .axle and powerful internal-expanding foot brakes on the front wheels. These have both been retained to date, as they have, we learn, given excellent results throughout.
The three-tonner, which is the model on which the latest improvements have been so far most fully developed, now has a three-speed gear operated by one lever. A single clutch operates the lever for the three change-speed pairs. The internal brakes, which we have already mentioned, are now operated by a combined foot and screw gear, the pedal being for use in traffic and the screw being used to hold the machine when it is standing, should it he necessary. In addition to these useful modifications, and without going into details which, perhaps quite rightly, the manufacturers consider need not necessarily be made public, we are able to inform our readers that the engine itself has undergone considerable structural alterations, and as the result of careful scheming and improved design is now securing for its constructors very high efficiency and exceptionally low consumption. This Yorkshire concern claims that its engine at. the moment is amongst the most economical models on the market.
The company is exceptionally busy, as one would expect, but it is still able to book orders, although apparently deliveries are not normally available in less than six months. Those users of heavy steam haulage who are in a posi tion to carry on until that interval has passed will do well carefully to investigate this most-recent addition to the Yorkshire design. We have no hesitation, from data in
our possession, in assuring them that the model is one with which they should be able to secure the maximum of advantage for this class of work.