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Rubber Tires and Treads for Agrimotors : New Standardization.

29th March 1917, Page 1
29th March 1917
Page 1
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Page 1, 29th March 1917 — Rubber Tires and Treads for Agrimotors : New Standardization.
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

We offer congratulations to the " Cultistractor" department of the Austin Motor Co., Ltd., upon the decision to make it a standard practice to offer spare wheels and treads of rubber for use with its agrimotors when they are running on the highway. A parallel to the practice of using rubber-tired wheels in winter for steam wagons thus promises to be established, and a new light to he thrown upon the controversy as to beet types of .agrirnotors.

The use of rubber tires and treads, by means of interchangeable wheels or treads, to the end that a type of agritnotor satisfactory for use on the land shall not knock itself to pieces on the high roads, may prove to be a practical way out of an admitted difficulty. There is a school, and one deserving of the greatest respect, which contends that a different machine is essential for each different job, and that a combination machine will not survive in agrimotorculture. How far, we ask, will this school—to which, by the way, Mr. John Allen of Oxford belongs—be prepared to modify its views, now that the alternative is offered. of adopting rubber-tired wheels and treads when an agrimotor is taken from work On. the land to do haulage on the road I

Control of Parallel Deliveries: The Pooling of Petrol.

Our advocacy of a beginning with petrol in respect

ef the co-ordination of certain trades and their transport appears to be approaching the stage of realization. We wrote on this subjeTt at some length a fortnight ago, and "The Times" took up the ,same line of argument five days later. Subsequently, on the 21st inst., at one of the luncheons during the Congress of the Association of Chambers of Commerce, the Rt. Hon. Sir Albert H. Stanley, M.P., President of the Board of Trade, makes the following suggestive references to this plan for national economy :— " There was not going to be a sufficient amount of petrol in the country to meet anything like what might be considered, a reasonable demand. In determining who should go without they had selected what were called pleasure cars as a beginning. He doubted very much whether that restriction was going to meet the situation. They •could look forward to an enormously increased demand both from the Army and Navy from now onwards. Therefore, they had to he exceedingly careful. It had been suggested that a good deal could be done on the commercial side, and that there could be some system whereby there would be a diminution in the number of parallel routes covered to-day by so many undertakings all over the country. If the business interests would get together among themselves and take the problem out of the hands of the Board of Trade, it would be to their advantage to formulate some scheme by which a good deal of this overlapping would 'be avoided.'

The important new point, so far as we are able to gather, is this: the petrol companies have got together. Our readers may take it for granted that before long there will be .co-ordination of delivery between those who have hitherto fought one another in degrees approaching the internecine. We understand both resources and transport will be pooled, and that the working of the co-ordinated scheme will fall into several groups, such as petrol, burning "oils, lubricating oils, fuel oils and gas oils. Following, no doubt., the precedent of other combinations, profits will be s'sared on the basis of pre-war percentages. It is a plan to add to national efficiency, and accepted under instructions. It is only a beginning.

Petrol and Petrol Substitutes.

We last week made representations to the Petrol

Control Committee in favour of consideration for the claims of home-nroduced fuels, i.e., those _fuels for internal-combustion engines which are derived from the distillation of coal, coal-tar or shale. We suggested to the Committeethat such fuels should be exempted from classification as motor spirit for in2 elusion amongst the quantities which have to be marked on motor-spirit licences, and we submitted that home-produced fuels deserve every encouragement, so long as that encouragement does not harm the shipping situation.

We have now been favoured with an official reply

from the Secretary of the Petrol Control Committee, and it is in the following terms :—" I am directed by the Petrol Control Cominitte,e to inform you that it is necessary to economize home-produced substitutes in ca-der to relieve the situation in regard to imported motor spirit. The Committee regret that they cannot, in the circumstances, see their way to any relaxatit n of the Order in favour of the substitutes produced or manufactured in this country. The Order is, however, limited to substitutes sold for use in motor vehicles, and does not apply to substitutes used for other purposes, e.g., in motors tractors, motor ploughs and other agricultural machinery, in stationary engines, and for industrial processes."

This reply, we fear, must be taken as find so far as exemption goes. It is obvious that the greater the control of home-produced fuels, the less the demand for imported fuels. Seeing, however, that home-produced fuels can be sold without let or hindrance for the above-specified Purposes, it will be a mistake for the Petrol Control Committee to conclude that large quantities of them will be left available for sale in directions where they are subjected to either restrictions or taxation. It appears, in fact, that the net effect of the decision which the Petrol

Control Committee has reached is to cause a diversion of home-produced fuels to categories of consureptiOn other than in motor vehicles. Whereas, in the past-, large numbers of users have eked out their petrol supplies by using substitutes, they -may now, by a dual process of control—one the demand from unfettered consumers, and the other the compulsory

entry upon motor spirit licences—not obtain any relief from substitutes hereafter. There will not be any grievance, so far as we can judge, by reason of a positive reduction in the quantities of petrol granted under the current licences, while petrol can be tendered by the suppliers in. full satisfactIon of the licensed quantities. The immediate grievance is in ability to supplement the petrol quantities by substitute quantities, and the prospective grievance is, that it may in the near future be possible to get substitutes only. We are in further comrnunica,tion with the Petrol Control Committee on these points of difficulty for users at large. Will our supporters please read the important announcement which we have to make about extra allowances on page 96.

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