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The Immediate Future.

3rd January 1907
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Page 1, 3rd January 1907 — The Immediate Future.
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

An encouragingly active period lies before the commercial motor world, and one in which far-reaching issues will be settled for good or evil. The new Motorcar Act, which will, in all probability, become law a year hence, is expected to follow the general lines of the reoommendations of the Royal Commission, although all possiele steps will be taken by representatives of utility vehicles to secure the omission of certain clauses which they hold to be ill-conceived and wholly unnecessary. We may quote, as examples: the proposal that the definition of unladen weight should provide for the inclusion of water, fuel, stores and driver, a change which would be most harmful and disturbing; the recommendation that iron-tired wagons, having an unladen weight of from two to three tons, should suffer, in the applicable speed limit, a reduction, from eight to live miles per hour; the apparent intention to schedule as an offence the emission of smoke or visible vapour, if it can be regarded as either an "annoyance "or a "danger," in which connection it is felt that any such emission should amount to a " nuisance " before it should be held, in law, to constitute an offence; and, in respect of vibration or noise (more particularly from motorbuses), which it is suggested should be held punishable, in a court of summary jurisdiction, if either of these faults is other than of ,a "momentary description," that the precedent of the definition clause of the 1896 Act should be followed, and that the degree of latitude to be allowed should be according to the proof of any "temporary or accidental" cause. The closing and scheduling of bridges throughout the country, and the granting of a right of appeal to some central authority whenever a local council unreasonably withholds licenses for motorbuses, are other important points under this branch of the year's programme. The side-slip and skid prevention trials of the Automobile Club will occupy the attention, both of the public and the motor industry, as well as of motorbus companies, a few weeks hence, whilst the much-discussed and oft-deferred trials for vans, lorries and tractors may be put down, with due reserve, for the fall of the year. The heavy-type announcement of the A.C.G.13. and I., which appeared in its own and other motor journals at the end of September last, to the effect that these trials would, positively, take place before the exhibition to which we next have to make a reference, appears to have gone the way of many other similar announcements. It is, too, much as we regret to have to record the likelihood of such a loss, pretty clear that the offer of some of London's largest carrying and forwarding houses, which was obtained, after no Small amount of negotiation, by the M.V.W.O.U.A. Committee, for the affording of trial facilities under actual service conditions, may not be renewed. Such withdrawal of co-operation cannot be regarded as other than regrettable, for not a few newcomers in the industry had set great store by that opportunity to show their vehicles' capabilities.

March next is to witness the opening of the first commercial motor show of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, and this undertaking must be regarded as the Mecca of all who follow the fortunes of commercial motors. An unequalled display of utility vehicles, which will cover the whole range of construction, from the tricycle carrier to the six-ton steam wagon, is assured, and it goes without saying that deep interest will be aroused on the part of thousands of members of the manufacturing and commercial community who have not, so far, paid any serious heed to the claims of modern types of self-propelled vehicles. A few lines about the past twelve months, and no more, as we prefer to look forward, rather than to talk about what has been accomplished in the past. It is with feelings of the deepest regret that we have to record the death of Mr. Henry H. West, M.Inst.C.E., M.Inst.N.A., one of the founders of the Liverpool Self-Propelled Traffic Association, a judge of that society's three series of trials for heavy vehicles, and a liberal supporter, both with money and personal services, of the utility vehicle throughout the long and trying experimental period. The loss of Mr. West, whose decease occurred, at Birkenhead, some four months ago, will be regretted by all who knew him, and we are sure that many readers of this journal will be sorry that they had not the opportunity of paying their last respects to this sturdy pioneer.

The "C.M.": the New Year.

Page 391 of this issue contains a preliminary business announcement, and one which will possess no small measure of attraction for our supporters. This journal has no intention to "mark time "; on the contrary, no effort will be spared to extend the sphere of commercial motoring, both at home and abroad. We have heard assertions Made, to the effect that our missionary programme is over, now that "THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR has, by universal consent, justified its position as the only recognised organ in the business division of motoring., No hope or statement is farther

from the truth, because, although our circulation and influence has made gratifying advances, any slackening of the pace has not been so much as named here. We believe that, for every owner of a commercial motor who has made his purchase to date, there will be not less than six owners two years hence, and we are confident that a large portion of these fresh buyers will be found, though not to the exclusion of orders for other branches, in the motorvan section. The delivery van has, last of all, passed through the evolutionary stage; some constructors have attacked the problem according to their undoubted experience in the private-car trade, 'whilst others have, gradually, reduced heavier models to Suit the requirements of the one-ton load. In any event, as the testimony contained in our " First Great Van Number " (October 18th last) served to prove, a genuine boom in van business promises, as we have pointed out often, to coincide with the Olympia Show of March next. ills with a view 10 the stimulation of interest in the March and April exhibition, as much as with the intention of not allowing the interest that will then be aroused to be dissipated without result, that we, after the most mature consideration, make announcements to-dav, the carrying-out of which will invoila: a very large and continuous expenditure over, practically, the whole of the New Year. We know, however, that this programme will result in a large accession of useful and bona-fide subscribers to this journal, and that development in our circulation can only mean the consolidation of all interests which are concerned in our success.

Temporary Winter Treads.

Owners of motor wagons and tractors have, during the sequence of snowstorms that have occurred since Boxing Day, been deploring the state of comparative helplessness into which their mechanical transport has fallen. It is more than ten years since England, as a whole, was visited with a more severe and continuous downfall, although there have been some heavy ones in different parts of the country, and it is due to this comparative immunity that closer attention has not, so far, been paid to the problem of how to render an iron-shod wheel effective in spite of conditions such as

.those of the character under discussion. Owners have realised, from their experiences during the relatively mild winters since the introduction of heavy motorcars, that it takes very little snow or ice to render a smooth-tired wheel inoperative from the point of view of self-propulsion, and,

seriously, to interfere with control on declivities. They have, however, been willing, when a loss equivalent to, say, only five per cent, of the working year was at stake, to lay up their machines, and to take no adequate steps to turn them to account during snowy weather. This attitude is on a par with the known indifference of house-builders to the occasional rigours of an English winter, which " take-yourchance " plan is in such marked contrast with American, Canadian, and European practices.

At a time when motor wagons and tractors are coming into more general use, there is all unquestioned demand for an effective winter tread. Efficiency must, too, go hand in

hand with low cost, whilst rapidity of attachment and detachment is of equal importance. In addition, no device or fitting roust contravene the terms of the Heavy Motorcar Order, 1904, which requires that the tire of each wheel " shall be smooth, and shall, where the tire touches the surface of the road or oilier base whereon the heavy motorcar moves or rests, be flat, unless the material of which the tire is made is pneumatic, or is made of a soft or elastic material." The

rough and ready expedient of using frost spikes, or of wrapping chains round the ordinary felloe and tire, cannot be permitted, although many a driver has availed himself of such illegal methods in order to reach his destination. The time has gone by for these haphazard incidents in working, and owners must waken up to the fact that the motor wagon, [law, is asserting its claim to take a foremost place in the 'network of our means of internal communication. A sum qf .4;5 or ,4;to, if laid out upon suitable tackle, will enable a wagon to continue its work, no matter what the state of the road surface, and an outlay of this nature is money well spent. We earnestly continent( the article on this branch of the subject, which appears on page 380 of this issue, to all our readers. Manufacturers will, we are satisfied, require to design their wheels in such a way that temporary treads, whether of rope, wood blocks, or other material, can be securely affixed, and the maker who first takes the trouble to work out a suitable design will reap no small reward in his sales department. There are, of course, not a few winter wheels on the market, and several of these have been described in "THE COMMERCIAL Moroa," but the most enthusiastic manufacturer cannot, legitimately, claim that uniform results have been attained; still less can it be said that finality in design has been reached. While making references to this matter, it is not out of place that we should draw attention to the fact that the application of solid rubber for very heavy axle-weights is coming, month by month, more within the range of practical politics, and that, already, in countries where winter conditions are more surely capable of estimation, as in Germany and the United States, such tires are in everyday use for 5-ton wagons. The practice, in England, has been to employ steel tires for loads of four tons and upwards, whilst, in Scotland. where, at least north of the Grampians, the period (luring which snow has to be provided against compares with that of other countries we have quoted, motor wagons and tractors have not, owing to the risks involved, been brought into service. A stage has been reached, in the production of solid-rubber tires, which justifies a much more wide use of these resilient treads, for goods vehicles, than has, hitherto, been either adopted or contemplated. There will, none the less, continue to be a healthy demand for temporary winter treads, as a large number of owners are much too conservative, notwithstanding the various inseparable benefits, to lay out even ,<6o upon a complete set of rubber tires for the w heels of a motor lorry. Users of wagons and tractors will have themselves to blame, as regards the perpetuation of some uncertainties with their mechanical transport departments, if they fail to give the deserved attention to the points to which we have alluded.

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