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From Our Berlin Correspondent.

27th February 1908
Page 6
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Page 6, 27th February 1908 — From Our Berlin Correspondent.
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

Fire Brigade Motors.

Nuremberg is the latest convert to the self-propelled fire-brigade vehicle, the Corporation having passed a provisional vote of L:1,250 for a trial automobile. Germany has good makers of fire-extinguishingmotors and plant, but it is possible that a British firm might get a foothold in Nuremberg.

The Spanish Market.

On page 495 of "THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR," I noticed a reference to " activity and demands from Spanish-speaking countries," and, in this connection, I may mention that, according to a report in the " Nachrichten fur Industrie und Handel," the Madrid Post Office officials are engaged in drawing up a scheme for forming motor, post lines in a large number of Spanish provinces, and request the sending of plans and estimates from interested parties for the purpose of lightening the work of those occupied with the scheme. I trust that Sidney Straker and Squire, Ltd.—and other British companies which may have had catalogues printed in Spanish text—will not rely wholly on catalogues, but will follow them up with personal efforts. By the way, the big German companies which are devoted mainly to industrial vehicles have polyglot catalogues. The other day, when calling on a Berlin house for information respecting a chassis, I was given a choice of several catalogues in foreign languages, as the German catalogues happened to be under lock and key at the time of my visit. My point is to remind British makers that equal alertness is shown here, Postal Motors.

Leipzig is to have postal motors, yet not through any praiseworthy initiative on the part of officials, but in consequence of numerous and vigorous protests from the public against the wretched service between the city and towns on the Berlin-Magdeburg railway line. The Leipv.ig railway station of this line lies some distance out, and, under existing postal arrangements, there is considerable delay in getting the mails to and from the state:in. I understand that the" Adler" Company has the contract for the chassis ; the bodies will be constructed at the coachbuilding works of the Post Office.

Unprofitable Motorcabsi

In commenting upon the report of the London Chamber of Commerce on the English motor industry in the year 1907, the Berlin automobile engineer, Walther Isendahl, states that, in his opinion, one of the reasons why the working of motorcabs has proved less profitable in Berlin than in London is that the London police regulations admit of a lighter type of vehicle being put on the streets. Berlin motorcab proprietors are handicapped by heavy petrol and tire expenses, which, to a large extent, arise from the excessive weight of the cab, which, according to police regulations, must be built for four persons. Herr Isendahl thinks that, given good management, Berlin rnotorcab owners would certainly work with satisfactory financial results if they were allowed to run a cab of the light type used in Paris. He very pertinently points out that cases where four persons use a Droschke are rare.

Motor v. Horsed Fire-engines.

In their annual report, the directors of the Wagon und Maschinenbaufabrik vormals Busch, in Hamburg, inform the shareholders that the City of Berlin has ordered three self-propelled vehicles for the first Berlin fire-station to be equipped with automobiles, and that, in the event of the vehicles answering the purpose, horse-drawn vehicles will doubtless be replaced by automobiles in all the city's stations.

State Motorbus Lines.

Next spring will see a number of new State motorbus lines in Bavarian districts where such lines will be highly appreciated by the floating population, Bavaria being, as Macaulay's schoolboy would certainly know, a favourite resort for tourists. The new type of omnibus will carry 34 Persons, and will be driven by a 4-cylinder engine ot 35h.p. supplied by the Daimler-Marienfelde works. The Bavarian Parliament recently voted 2,500,000 marks for motorbus lines.

Compulsory Insurances.

At a recent sitting of the Bavarian Parliament, the Centre succeeded in obtaining a majority in four motions, more or less antagonistic to the motor industry. One of these advocated the " regulation of the liability of automobile owners by the establishment of compulsory insurance associations for the whole Empire." This compulsory insurance would not, however, touch the commercial branch of the industry, as the framers of the resolution except " such industrial vehicles as are not constructed to travel beyond a certain, maximum speed."

The shareholders of the Cologne Motorcab Company (Kolner AutomobilDroschken Gesellschaft) have agreed to increase the capital from er,12,5oo to

;1,5,000. Herr Selmer Solmitz, Cologne, is business manager of this company, An "Electric" Mishap.

One of the electric vehicles on trial by the Berlin Fire Brigade has been badly damaged through a collision with an electric tramcar. The impact twisted up the front axle of the fire engine, put the steering gear out of action, and inflicted severe damage on the electromotor. The vehicle has been " docked" for repairs.

Motorbuses for Nuremberg.

The Nuremberg Corporation has granted a concession for a night service of motorbuses between the city and Furth, some five miles distant. So far as I am aware, this is the first night service of the kind in Germany. The concessionnaires intend to run their omnibuses hourly from to p.m. to 4 a.m., and to charge the German equivalent of a shilling for the journey. Towards midnight the road cars stop running, and there is but one railway train each way through the night ; hence the application for the novel concession.

Austrian Commercial Run.

The Austrian Motor Club •purposes organising a two-day run, in July, for commercial vehicles, over a circuit be ginning and ending in Vienna. In face of the shortness of the run, which can, of course, afford no criterion whatever for estimating the practical value of the vehicles, and which, besides, will be confined to the city of Vienna and the surrounding district, where the inhabitants should be tolerably familiar with automobiles of the commercial type, is there any real value in the enterprise as a " propaganda run." In any case, it will be, perhaps, better than no run at all.

Military Tests.

Both the German and Austrian military authorities are experimenting with freight automobiles. The special purpose of the Austrians, represented by the Military Technical Commission, is to try a light type of wagon turning the scale at sonic 36cwt., and carrying about 2 tons. Seven firms have entered vehicles for the trial, which will last several weeks and will constitute a severe ordeal, the route passing through hilly districts. A German and an Italian firm are amongst the foreign competitors. I notice the names of Laurin and Klement amongst home competitors, although, up till a short while ago, the Jungbunzlau people were turning out nothing but light passenger cars. I need, perhaps, hardly add that the Austrian DaimlerGesellschaft has lorries in the trial. Civil drivers are driving the vehicles under military supervision. In the Harz district, the German automobiles have had to work their way through masses of snow, here and there 3ft. deep, but, notwithstanding the heaviness of the roads, the vehicles appear to be doing very well. In the canton of St. Gallen, Switzerland, commercial motor wheels armed with metallic non-slipping devices are prohibited. The prohibition does not refer to anti-skids for cars.

Motorbuses v. Road Trains.

In the LuxemburgChamber, recently, several deputies backed a motion for a vote of roo,000 francs for the purpose of establishing trial motorbus lines, worked by separate vehicles and by motor trains, in order to determine which of the two classes was best suited for level and hilly roads. On the financial results of these trials hangs a comprehensive scheme for creating permanent lines in localities badly served by railways.

Berlin Motorcab Drivers and Proposed Regulations. Recently, Berlin motorcab drivers met to discuss the Government proposals respecting the regulation of the motor traffic, and passed resolutions to the following effect : i. Establishment of driving and motor schools on a state and municipal basis, with an equal share in administration and management.

2. All private driving schools to be prohibited.

3. Appointment of traffic inspectors, drawn from the ranks of engineers as well as drivers.

4. Maximum speed of 20 kilometres ( miles) an hour in all busy districts.

5. Use of speedometers by which, after a lapse of time, the speed for any day can be ascertained. 6. Legal eight-hours day, and abolition of premium and percentage system.

The Benzol Question.

The engineers of the Daimler Motoren-Gesellschaft at Marienfel de, commenting on certain statements in a Berlin paper respecting the corrosive action of benzol, declare that they have observed no such phenomenon in connection with their engines in a working experience extending ever nearly 18 months. With complete combustion, that is, 275 grammes per h.p., benzol labours under no disadvantage cornpared with petrol. Whether benzol or petrol is used, the motor works equally favourably, the motor's efficiency remains the same, its cooling is unimpaired, and the cylinders do not require cleaning more frequently where benzol is consumed. On the ground of practical experience, they also deny that benzol can be used with surface carburetters only ; with a proper spray carburetter combustion leaves no deposits in the exhaust. [The Marienfelde spray carburetter for benzol was described and illustrated in our columns on the 14th November last.—ED.1 Postal Automobiles : Do They PayT

It may probably come as a great surprice to not a few" C.M." readers that the Hungarian Post Office owns 62 self-propelled vehicles-41 motorcycles and 21 vans. A prolonged trial was given to the former class some ten years back, and towards the close of 1900, the trial cycles, although a little too expensive in working—at that time engineers did not know so much about motors as they do now—had been found to answer in point of expeditiousness and the authorities purchased 2! together with a motorvan. The former were supplied by Messrs. Laurin and Klement; the latter came from the Vienna branch of the Daimler MotorenGesellschaft. Since then, other Austrian makers have received contracts for motorcycles. These cycles are used by the men who go out to clear the letter-boxes and for conveying the mails to the district offices, and from thence to the various railway stations, a certain number of machines being attached to each office. Their main duty is to replace the foot-postman and his long, canvas sack, institutions which, I have been led to understand, are still cherished in England and regarded as the ne plus ultra method of collecting the mails.

At first, the Hungarian Post Office authorities were bound to admit that the cycles did not pay, but now they say that, compared with the old horsesystem, there is a saving of three hellers on every kilometre run. For the sake of convenience we will reckon that one heller equals o.tx penny and that 1,609 kilometres equal a mile ; on this basis we find a saving of .4827 pence per mile. Better still, reckoning on the average number of kilometres covered by each cycle per annum, we find that the saving amounts to 2,628 crowns in six years. This sum covers the purchase price of 1,900 crowns and defrays cost of upkeep. It is interesting to mention here that the Post Office has its own workshops and an efficient staff of mechanics.

The authorities were led to purchase eight motorvans in 1902, owing to commercial development and the decline in the number of missives sent by pneumatic post—correspondents no longer finding it necessary to use this expensive means of communication in view of the increased rapidity in the delivery of mails through the ordinary channels. The motorcycles bad proved unequal to carrying some of the heavy accumulations from the district offices to the railway stations. The vans originally cost 4,250 crowns each and the Post Office authorities state that the motor vehicles show a saving of 25. 6d. per day over the horse-drawn vans. The motors had saved their pur_ chase price by the year 1906. The latest vans were bought at 3,600 crowns each. The repair shops keep the cost of upkeep at about 30 hellers per wagon kilometre, or 4.827 pence per car-mile. Add to this other incidental expenses—including credits to "sinking fund "—mid we get a running cost of 55 hollers per wagonkilometre. With horses, the animals alone cost 57 hollers per kilometre— a saving of .3218 pence per car-mile.

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