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The Agriculturalists' Horseless Age.

5th July 1921, Page 1
5th July 1921
Page 1
Page 2
Page 1, 5th July 1921 — The Agriculturalists' Horseless Age.
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ROUND of the machinery and implements section of the Royal Agricultural Show is a won derful experience. The greater part of the exhibits is shown in motion (seldom under full load, except in the case of pumps, the full power of which is always easy to demonstrate), and a little unavoidable eavesdropping here and there, an occasional judicious participation in a discussion or an argument, and the lending of a ready ear to ex-. perienees and reminiscences, excited by some piece of work being well performed, serves as an educationand an enlightenment to anyone who is constrained to watch -the application of mechanical power to the uses of the farm and in agriculture as part of a much larger problem.

The farmer is passing from the horse age to the horseless age. He is going through the phase that road transport entered upon in the last years of the old century. The completion of that phase is as definite and as certain as has been the completion of the transport phase. Let us, for a moment, glance at certain figures. But a few years ago the traffic to the Ascot meeting, as to all race meetings, was largely by train, the remainder being by horsed vehicles. A census of the Ascot road traffic last month on the four main roads to Ascot Heath shows that 39,321 motorcars (say, 157,300 persons), 8,001 motor coaches (say, 225,000 persons), 700 motor omnibuses (say, 240,000 people), 386 motor lorries (say, 7,500 people), and 2,931 motorcycles (say, 4,000 people) travelled over the roads under mechanical power. The total numbers were thus 633,800. Of horse-drawn vehicles there were but 2,807, accommodating about 15,000 people.

If such a wonderful change can be brought abo4 in passenger transport, what an education it must be to the farmer who has remained loyal to horseflesh, but is having the conviction forced upon him that he is using an unreliable and costly form of power, and one which cannot be worked for unduly long hours without evil results quickly accruing! Overworking human and animal power is merely putting a heavy draught on the resources of the future ; mechanical power can be employed all hours of the day and every day of the month. We are convinced that the agricultural community has gone away from the Royal Show pondering deeply upon the coming of the agricultural horseless age,• and such pondering must inevitably result in an. accession of business to the motor vehicle and agri motor industry. rHE COMMERCIAL MOTOR Tendencies in Steam Wagon Design.

UNTIL comparatively recent years, very little was done in the matter of making radical alteration in the designs of steam wagons, and, with one or twe exceptions, the accepted design a.ppefers to have been the vehicle with loco. type boiler, overtegee engine with Stephenson link motion and roller chain final drive to a chain wheel containing the compensating gear. The undertype wagon, however, gradually crept into public favour, although it has by no means displaced its rival the overtype.

If it had not been for the petrol vehicle, the steam wagon might have remained, to all intents and purposes, exactly similar in its general design to what it had been for many years, but potential buyers began to realize that there was rather too great a comparison between the eId type steam vehicle and the latest petrol vehicle, with the result that designers began to exercise their ingenuity in developing the steam -wagon to suit modern requirements. Several extremely interesting vehicles were the result. These include the Sentinel, with its neat boiler, large loading space, centre-point steering front wheels, and undertype engine; the Robey, which is one of the lightest overtype wagons on the market, and which has a boiler built up from steel pressings, and a new unillow engine ; the Atkinson, with its comparatively small, but highly-efficient, boiler and urtiflow engine.; and the Clarkson, with its V-tandem compound engine and thimble tube boiler.

We publish elsewhere in this issue a detailed description of what is, certainly, the most novel steam wagon which has yet been produced as a commercial proposition. This vehicle exhibits better than any of its predecessors that tendency towards a mean between the original type of steam wagon with loco. boiler and the modern petrol vehicle, in that, whilst retaining certain features which are similar to existing practice, the whole chassis is lightened very consitterably, partly by reason of its design and partly by the use of the finest alloy steels. The hollow-spoked cast-steel wheels and the final drive by bevel gearing are certainly specific examples of the following of petrol vehicle practice, although, as regards the final drive gearing, this is carried out rather differently from present practice and in a inanrier somewhat similar to that employed on the pre-wax Austin chassis ; that is to say, each of the rear wheels is driven independently by bevel gearing and a separate shaft. Another tendency which we are glad to note in this new vehicle is the total enclosing of the working parts, combined with the maximum possible aoceesibility and thoroughly efficient lubrication.

The Barriers to Rubber Tyre Development.

WE REFERRED briefly in our last issue to a memorandum which has been issued by the British Rubber Tyre Manufacturers Association, Ltd., and which sets out the stupendous difficulties under which the British tyre trade is Ian guishing, these difficulties mainly arising out of the expansion of the overseas markets of the foreign tyre manufacturers caused by war conditions and of the fact that, whilst so many foreign markets are closed to us by tariffs and conditions of exchange, the British open door assists American makers to dispose of their surplus products in this country, whilet Continentaleproductions are attractive to British buyers because of the advantage afforded by rates of exchange.

We agreed with the general note of complaint in the memorandum, and said that, as there is no apparent intention on the part of Parliament to afford relief to British manufacturers from the competition of imported goods, it seemed, to us that the only available course would be to make the British motor tyre the best in the world. In the motor trade, instance after instanee could be pointed to where the best and most suitable production has sold freely, despite all competition, and, as no possible British legislation will improve the conditions in the overseas markets, again quality seems to be the via media to an improved demand.

British tyre makerswill reply that they are. all doing their best to produce a good tyre. There is no doubt olenty of individual enterprise and no stinting in individual research, but we confidently assert that there is not the slightest attempt to secure an interchange of this knowledge throughout the tracte. Not only are the doors of any given rubber and tyre works relentlessly closed against all competitors, but the employees require passes to enable them to go. from one department to 'another. The greatest secrecy as to methods, materials, mixings, and manipulation is preserved, whereas, were there to be an. interchange of ideas, an attempt to disseminate know-. ledge throughout the British tyre trade (safeguarding it from the foreign competitor by all means !) the development of the satisfactory tyre would not be so slow. There are dozens of constituents of success, and each manufacturer is in command of, perhaps, one or two, whereas if the whole book Of knowledge were thrown open, we honestly believe that the British tyre would have no rival anywhere.

There has been far less secrecy among British motor manufacturers, whilst, as we all know, the American manufacturer welcomes the visitor with open arms and disclose s frankly all his methods and systems, knowing that the same courtesy will be extended to him and that the American product benefits by reason of this policy.

Instead of the exercise of extreme care to prevent the leakage of information by the creation of barriers round the various departments of every works, we advocate the removal of the barriers and their reerection around the whole country, and we would give first effect to this by a manufacturer being encouraged to disclose a difficulty and to ask for assistance and advice. Gradually, the British tyre trade would get together round a table and agree to move together for the common good and for the inevitable ousting of foreign tyres from home and overseas markets on the score of quality alone.


Locations: Austin

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