Opinions from Others.
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The Editor, THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR.
[1,383] Sir,—We notice a letter signed " Hadsom " in THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR, dated the 8th inst., with reference to the cost of a set of tires with a 10,000 miles guarantee.
We may mention that our band tires, which are made with our Royal brand of solid rubber, and carry a 10,000 miles guarantee, come out at considerably less than the sum he mentions, and a suggestion of 5,000 miles is quite out of it. They invariably do a great deal more than the 10,000 miles guaranteed.
He is, however, quite right with regard to the advantages of using British-made tires, Only recently we came across some cases in the North of England where certain foreign-made tires had to be replaced owing to "bad luck" in manufacture very frequently, some of the sets after no more than 650 miles of rimfling, and the van had to wait while renewals were coming from abroad.—Yours faithfully,
THE SIRDAR. lirrinErt CO., LTD.
The Development of the Steam Wagon.
The Editor, THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR.
[1,384] Sir,—I read with interest the article on the " Development of the Steam Wagon," by "Research," which was given in your issue of the 1st inst.., but I do not find myself in entire agreement with the writer on certain points, and I should like to have further evidence from such of your readers who have had long experience on the road, in order to clear my mind on the subject.
In the first place, "Research " states that the first over-type steam wagon was built by Mann's of Leeds. It runs in my mind that Foden was the first to build such a vehicle, and that Mann's original wagon had an under-type engine, or, at any rate, an engine which was not mounted upon the locomotive boiler. In the second place, " Research " attributes the first selfpropelled road locomotive to Aveling, who sent one to the Canterbury Show of the Royal Agricultural Society in 1860. I have an idea that Richard .Garrett and Sons, Ltd., of Leiston, built self-moving traction engines as far hack as the year 1850. Perhaps someone can produce evidence in support of this. In the concluding paragraph of " Research's" article, he summarizes recent improvements, and includes the Belpaire fire-box, but does not make the . slightest mention of the Garrett corrugated fire-box, which type, to my mind, is infinitely superior to the Belpaire type. Not only does the Garrett method of construction give a fire-box with something like 23 per cent.. more heating surface in the crown Plate than the Belpaire or any ordinary type of fire-box, but with it there is no need for crown stays of any kind, and thus a very real trouble is obviated. I refer to the cracking which takes place between the stays of fire-boxes when a boiler is hard worked with unsuitable water ; the corrugated rosin of construction allows the crown plate to " breath" more freely. Among the improvements mentioned by "Research," I also fail to find any mention of superheating and feed-water heating. There is no doubt that, by superheating the steam, a very great economy can be effected, and, although many steam users positively assert that the superheater is no good on a road locomotive. my experience convinces me that it can be practically applied, and has been applied by rnore than one maker. Not. many months ago, in the pages of your journal, you described a superheated steam tractor built by Garrett's, and recounted the results of tests which were made with that machine. I am quite certain that the men who cry down superheating are those who have foolishly attempted to obtain increased economy in this way without paying due attention to the valves ; one cannot get good results with superheated steam with, fiat or valves. On the question of the practical value of feed-water heaters, there is a very great difference of opinion. Some owners have tried them and discarded them, but in most cases it was because their drivers had neglected to keep the tubes clean. Several builders have told me they cannot afford to fit. them at the present competitive prices, but, after closely weighing up the saving effected by the use of a clean feed-water heater, I have come to the conclusion that I cannot afford to run a wagon without one.. --Yours faithfully, " YORKSHIRE ENGINEER."
The Rate of Depreciation for Wagons. The Editor, THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR.
[1,3851 Sir,—The question of depreciation is one which vitally affects the motor-carrying industry, and, with your permission, I Faibmit a few remarks on the subject: Depreciation, of course, is chiefly due to two causes, wear and tear and obolescence, though the latter, in view of the rapid strides made by manufacturers within the last few years, will not, it may reasonably be concluded, after the question in. future as much as it has done in the past. I have not included accidents, as the prudent carrier will insure against such risks.
The life of a wagon is somewhat problematic, but.
have gone into the question very carefully, and have made extensive inquiries apart from my own experience, and am strongly of the opinion that the cost of a wagon should be written off over a. period of not more than five years, in addition to all repairs and renewals, that is for wagons running on an average five days a week, and carrying general loads over all kinds of roads. This basis. may seem to be rather drastic, but I contend that any profit shown without an adequate reserve for depreciation may have a disastrous effect on any firm catering for business as a carrier: It means. that the capital of a concern is being paid out as profits, and that method of proceeding can only end one way ; it also greatly affects the question of costing, and quotations given for work will: result in a balance on the wrong side unless the charge for wear and tear be taken into account. Some cases have come under my notice where quotations given would hardly pay for reasonable wages and cost for fuel, without any consideration for other running charges.
Personally, I should like to see the prime cost and all repairs to a wagon written off over the period stated, and, in addition, a ieserve made to accumulate, by the termination of the life of the wagon, towards the cost of a new one, but that is too much. of an ideal, and I venture to think that no carrying• company would at present be able to show a reasonable return if such charges were made. [Why make. provision twice over ?—En.]
Some of your readers may contend that the use of: rubber tires on steam wagons will lengthen the life of wagons on account of their shock-absorbing. qualities, and that a longer period than five years should be allowed for writing off the cost of the wagon ; this, however, has yet to be proved, and it is very questionable whether the greater speed is. worth the lessened vibration.
Certainly, I should consider no business sound, whatever the profits shown, unless the whole of the repairs and renewals were charged as incurred, and' depreciation reserved at the rate of 20 per cent. per annum on the first cost of the wagons, unless proof were forthcoming that this rate was altogether too excessive ; in certain cases it may be so.—Yours faith