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".Keep the Wheels of Industry Turning."

8th October 1914
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Page 1, 8th October 1914 — ".Keep the Wheels of Industry Turning."
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

Steam No Longer Ignored : New Output in Prospect.

We wrote at length upon the claims of steam in our issue of the 20th August. That article—for which we used the title `` Why Ignore Steam r —dealt with the good points of steam in relation both to commercial and military uses. Anent the latter, we wrote of our expectations and hopes that the military authorities of this country would pay heed to the alternative which the older power offered in particular directions. We also announced our intention to endeavour to help matters forward to the end that those who are in power at the War Office should not lag behind commercial users in their appreciation of the valuable asset which our steam-wagon works furnish ready to hand. As readers will have gathered during the past few weeks, the immediate response of buyers for trade purposes has been followed—with equal avidity if less alacrity—by the officers to whose care is committed the prokision and maintenance of transport for the Empire's forces at large. A new position of real seriousness is brought about by these fresh inroads upon the resources of the steam-wagon industry, it was our pleasure, when in the neighbourhood of Crewe on the 18th ult., to listen to exact particulars of deliveries and output from the world's busiest and greatest steam-wagon factory—that of Foden's, at Sandbacb. We reluctantly withheld those details, in conformity with a promise which we gave at the time. Now, however, it is common knowledge throughout interested circles that the War Department is drawing heavily upon Foden manufacture: that Foden merits and large standardized output have come to the rescue of a harassed branch of the military arm. The crux of the situation, considered generally, is the temporary absorption of this productive capacity; business purchasers can ill afford to see heavy deliveries thus transferred. Who can safely gauge the possible extensions of military demands in respect of steam? The sacrosanct petrol atmosphere having once been invaded, it is likely to trauspire, that orders for steamers will continue to be placed in generous numbers. Not every vehicle that is wanted for Army purposes has to go so near to the fighting line that the risk of smoke from the funnels is of real account. Again, with organization and the Welsh coalfields available, there need he no smoke. The Manceuvres of 1912, which were officially held to condemn steam on the score of disclosure of whereabouts, did an injury to that power. Very dirty coal had been served out. to the transport columns which came under the notice of the umpires. Limitations of operation remain on account of coal and water-supply difficulties. Owners and intending owners have, therefore, to reconcile themselves for the time being to a forward delivery which has been made more uncertain than it was a month ago. They cannot turn with the same measure of relief to either the three-ton or the five-tonfsteamer. How can we aid them?

Why is it, we ask, that negotiations proceed so very slowly in regard to the terms under which new makers of three-ton petrol lorries can enter the industry? The hesitancy on the part of some firms which are considering the proposals of established makers appears to us to be extremely short-sighted. What its R5000 down and per finished chassis, when compared with the unavoidable cost to them of getting to the same point by their own trial and error? Again, do they not realize the advantage to their salesmen of the ad eundem argument.? It is the older makers, who are willing to grant the abovenamed terms, who will more possibly find themselves the losers in the end. We urge the conclusion of agreements upon parties to whom the chance remains open. They are completely assured of creditable entry into the heavy side of the industry, and almost certainly of sustained turnover. No matter when the return to normal times and competition may come, they will have a smaller capital sum to serve than by the adoption of any other plan which they may fancy to enable them so to get in. We write no more concerning petrol-driven three-tonners. We have, since the early days of August, pressed by speech and in writing the benefit of orders for smaller units in larger numbers. Scope for relief in that direction is by no means exhausted, seeing that 15-cwt., one-ton, and 30-cwt. chassis can be obtained promptly in relatively-large numbers. We have recently had appeals made to us from engineering houses whose principals are examining the prospects of participation in steam-wagon manufacture. The predominating feature, in this branch of 07 inquiry, is anxiety as to the justification for re-entry. Certain makers in Lincolnshire, one in Dorset, and others which we might indicate, are closely oacupied in studying the pros and cons of reversion to activities which they for one reason or another suspended. It is obviously for these manufacturers, several of whom are just now adversely affected by the cessation of business in Europe, to come to decisions of their own taking. We have none the less felt that it was our duty, in the interests of prospective buyers who are badly placed for new and renewal deliveries of steam wagons, to answer ques tions as to likely business in encouraging terms. Heavy motor vehicles of all classes are wanted imperatively, and the more numerous the works from which they come the better. We anticipate the revival of output of steam wagons by not fewer than four important works, and the establishment of petrolwagon departments by at least the same number.


Organisations: War Office, War Department

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