The Great Motorvan Parade.
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There is evidence of increasing and widespread interest in the forthcoming annual motorvan parade-the sixth to be organized by the Commercial Motor secs Association. Sir John I. Tharnycroft, F.R.S., who originated these parades some nine years ago, must feel flattered by the amount of success which attends each successive gathering. Elsewhere in this issue, some analytical particulars arc given to show the manner in which petrol and steam respectively claim their shares of the 308 com peting machines. Furthermore, as we promised a week ago, the same article contains statistical particulars as to the division between numerous leading I anufacturers.
At the time of our going to press, any announcement in regard to the venue for the parade would be premature, but we anticipate that all-round satisfaction will follow a pending announcement in regard to that factor in the programme, At the moment, the organizers of the parade are concentrating upon the conduct of the written examination, which will take place on Saturday next, when the majority of the 90 drivers who have entered their names for this section of the competition will undergo the-to them—severe ordeal of handling paper and pen for a. maximum period of three hours. The examination questions will, we trust, be published later on, for the guidance of other interested parties who may not have been able to sit for the examination. Their practical nature will be appreciated, should publication be authorized.
Rubber for Tractor Tires.
We directed the attention of tire-producing houses and tractor manufacturers, in our last issue, to present and pending claims of rubber as a material employed in the wheel-treads of tractors. This week, cur pages of "Opinions from Others " disclose an interesting diversity of opinion amongst well-informed persons who have undoubtedly given close attention----in some cases for a term of years—to the, proposals and prophecies which we have advanced in dealing with this subject.
Experience with " block" and " pad " tires, and particularly in connection with motorbus services some six years ago, did not fulfil the hopeful anticipations ef many people who thought that the sectional tires of those patterns presented a means of overcoming splitting, stripping and other diffieulties that were experienced with tires of the continuous pattern which were at that time upon the market. Unequal wear of the separate pieces proved troublesome, whilst the London police authorities found other reasons for disapproving the retention of tires of the kind in public service.
So far as the use of sections or solid indiarubber in tractor wheels is concerned, and particularly the placing of those short lengths either transversely or diagonally upon the running tread. of a wheel, we think there is no strict analogy with motorbus ex
petienee in past years. The back-axle load of a steams tractor, if that machine be constructed under thee Motor Car Acts, is practically never in excess 4 tons 15 cwt., and the maximum road speed conic': safely be put at half that of the achieved maximums road speed of the average motorbus. Account has of course, to be taken of the fact that there are driving stresses in the material of the rubber, apart frores those due to the self-propulsion of the tractor, due to the haulage of a maximum load of eight tons gross-_
Whilst we favour the use of strips of rubber, compared with continuous tires, we do not for one mo ment wish to assert that the day will never come when?. twin, triple or quadruple tires of the continuous typemay not be used commercially for tractor wheels, but we are convinced that such application will not bee common in the immediate future. The owner of as, tractor is usually satisfied with low speed upon thee: road, and he is more concerned to fit rubber with the object of insuring that the machine will travel oven-greasy or snow-covered stretches of ground, rathes.than with a view to his being able to avail himself ce:f technical increases of speed which are permissible" under the Motor Car Acts and the Heavy Motor Cat. Order. His viewpoints of demand are not those oi the owner of a high-speed petrol lorry. It will be observed that the questions of legality. arid possible infringement of patents are, amongst.. others which have been brought forward in the car-respondence, raised by some of the writers of th letters which we are publishing this week.
We have carefully considered the point of legalitye and we are confirmed in our opinion that any soft on elastic material used for the tires of a heavy motor-car need not be continuous, and that it is not ilegaI to use a heavy motorcar in which only that part of thetire that conies into contact with the road is of soft-, or elastic material, as in a tire made in the form thata was outlined by us a week ago.
It is required by the Motor Cars (Use and Construction) Order, 1904, that "the tire of each wheel of these motorcar shall be smooth and shall, where the same
touches the ground, be flat . ." Also, b 2 5 Article VI (1) of the Heavy Motor Car Order, it laid down : "that the tire of each wheel of a heavya motorcar shall be smooth and shall, when the tire touches the surface of the road or other base whereots the heavy motorcar moves or rests, be fiat." There' is nothing to the effect that the tire shall be continuous. It is left to manufacturers, in cases where tires of a soft or elastic material are used, to selects tires of suitable strength, durability and section for the work they have to do. It is of some interest Co notice that the Construction Order reads "where," and that the Heavy MotoCar Order reads " when."
Finally, on this point of legality, we may point oust that specific provision is made in the Heavy Motorr Car Order for the use of treads which are not con: tinuous, and in which only part of the tire, measure& across the wheel parallel to the axle, makes contage& with the road. This specific authorization of a separation of the tread by parallel spaces, which spaces must be "disposed throughout the outer surface of the tire so that nowhere shall the aggregate extent of the space or spaces in the course of a straight line drawn horizontally across the circumference of the wheel exceed one-eighth part of the width of the tire," does away with the objection to the use of tires ;having grooves filled with rubber. Such objection, on legal grounds, cannot be sustained. In regard to the query by one correspondent about :the possible infringement of some particular patent (or patents, that is a matter into which we cannot Enquire, but we are quite satisfied ourselves that there can be no master patent controlling and governing all the possibilities for the introduction and use cif strips of rubber in the manner indicated.
We repeat our preference, to which we gave expression last week, for new lengths of rubber, although -we do not see why old tires might not be cut up, trinmied and pared, to meet the requirements of rnany owners of tractors who want merely to manage to get along at times when unfavourable surface conditions, over which such rubber strips might enable them to triumph, hold sway—to the serious, if temporary, discomfiture of drivers of all steel-tired ma ines.
quick Transit by Motorvan.
Recent and threatened occasions of disorganization in the transport of the country have fully borne out the views which we advanced in a leading article, entitled "The Only Way," of August lalt. One does not need to travel many hundreds of miles upon the highways of the country, on any week day, to realize eliat quick transit by motorvan has already established a definite hold upon the public mind. Every individual of average intelligence now appreciates the iact that motorvan tranF:` tends to ensure food distribution for the sustenance. of the population at all times, and distinct evidences of a spirit of erv:.ouragernent for that class of traffic can be seen.
The execution in many counties of road renewals with bituminous or tarry binding materials removes the principal cause of objection—the dust nuisance— by villagers to this motorvan traffic. Into other counties, where the administration of the highways has not been upon up-to-date lines, the knowledge is rapidly spreading, that other and neighbouring counties do not suffer the same way, and an increasing amount of pressure is being brought to bear upon highway committees and road surveyors, to the end that all trunk roads shall be rendered free of dust without further delay.
The rubber-tired motorvan, by means of which rapid transit is alone possible, is found to be no enemy of the good road. The very steps which have to be taken to reduce or eliminate dust are those which provide a class of highway that is neither disintegrated nor damaged by such vehicles. Hence, following the dissemination of records from progressive areas within which waterproofed roads have been adopted for a term of years, the one grave risk of opposition to motorvan traffic—that of local objection by reason of increased highway maintenance—is surely disappearing. When country ratepayers see that they will enjoy the advantages of quick transit for their commodities, at no added cost in rates, and possibly with the advantage of material savings due to improved methods, their attitude will become an increasingly friendly one, and that situation may confidently be foreasted. The country-town storekeeper may not be quite so pleased.
The motorvan, so far, has of priority been used to convey manufactured or partly-manufactured goods, and to distribute the deliveries from large stores and other shops. By degrees, it is taking an increasing share of duties in connection with dairy farming, fruit growing, market gardening and other productive industries which depend upon the land, and for those reasons its claims will appeal more and more forcibly to the agricultural community as a whole. Similarly, the fishing industry will, before long, realize its partial dependence upon quick transit by motorvan.
Speed of transit, so long as certainty is assured, assists the business man to conduct his affairs upon a paying basis in these days of competition, for, as we have frequently pointed out, greater frequency and rapidity of delivery enable capital to be turned over more frequently, and fewer risks to be taken in the matter of the holding of large stocks. Where perishable goods or supplies are concerned, the importance of these factors cannot well be exaggerated. One other direction, of many in which the advantages of quids transit by motorvan are seen, is the temporary use of such vehicles to convey workmen and their tools from point to point. In those cases, many of which have recently come under our notice, a van, which costs only 4s. or 5s. per hour of its working day can save money at double that rate, or more, for its owner.
With the Road Board fully alive to the importance of motorvan transit, and with the continued maintenance in the forefront of a policy of stronger crusts for roads throughout the country, the likelihood of interference with quick motorvan transit is indeed remote, whilst the prospects for multifarious development are exceptionally bright.