Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

1902/04/19 Motor Show (Cordingley)

From Graces Guide

See also Motor Shows

Held in the Agricultural Hall, Islington opening at Noon, Saturday, 19th April 1902


Details of the exhibits (278 this year against 171 last) that included-[4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]






Part 2





Clothing and Accessories

Part 3







Accessories and Miscellaneous

Part 4

Accessories, Bodies, etc.

Part 5

Part 5 and final notice


If any doubt still lingered regarding the successful future of mechanical road locomotion, either for commercial or pleasure purposes, a visit to the show which is now being held at the Agricultural Hall, Islington, would suffice to dispel it. The vitality of the automobile industry is remarkable, and reminds one forcibly of the cycle boom of six or seven years ago. The exhibition is the eighth promoted under the auspices of the Automobile Club, and is subject to the management of Mr. Charles Cordingley. Never before in this country has such a large number of motor cars and accessories been brought together, nor has the development of the industry been so well exemplified, for, although a considerable proportion of the exhibition is made up of foreign-built vehicles, it is it matter for congratulation that cars by British builders now form the preponderating element. The number would have been still larger had it not been that some makers were debarred from participating in the present show by exhibiting recently at the Crystal Palace. So great has been the demand for space that the arena hitherto associated with this show, and in which cars could be seen in motion, has had to be done away with, the space being occupied by stands. Although this alteration may cause a diminution in the attendance of the general public, those more intimately interested in the automobile find no cause for complaint in the new arrangement, as running under such conditions is in no way a test of the capabilities of a car.

Although most of the vehicles shown rely for their propulsion upon the internal combustion engine, the "world's standard power," steam, shows unmistakeable signs of being able to accommodate itself to the new conditions. Indeed, the increase in the number of steam cars shown compared with former exhibitions is quite remarkable. In light steam cars the design generally adopted resembles very closely that of the American "Locomobile," which we note is now being built on more powerful lines, while retaining its own peculiar and pleasing features, but there are several distinct departures. For instance, another Transatlantic product, the White steam carriage, manufactured by the White Sewing Machine Company, of Cleveland, Ohio. In this vehicle the vertical fire-tube boiler of the locomobile has been replaced by a flash generator, which consists of helical coils of seamless tubing, placed one above the other, and surrounded by a casing of insulating material, and at the bottom the heat is applied by means of a burner. The coils of tubing are so connected that the water, entering at the top, cannot pass through the successive coils below by gravity, but is held in place entirely subject to the action of the pump. The water comes in and is at all times in the top of the coils, while the steam is in the lower coils, and goes out of the lowest coil next to the fire. The engine is of the two-cylinder double-acting type, and calls for no special comment.

A steam-propelled carriage which has not previously been shown is the "Miesse." In the general design of this vehicle the builders have been content to follow the general lines of the petrol car. In fact, at first sight, no difference could be detected. The boiler is of the flash type, and is placed in front of the dashboard under a bonnet. The water is converted into steam in one solid cold-drawn steel tube. The engine is horizontal, and has three single-acting cylinders of trunk type, driving a common crank shaft. The cranks are set at angles of 120 degrees with each other; consequently there is no dead point, and the engines are always ready to start either forwards or backwards. They can be linked up for slow running or steam economising, and reverse instantly. The crank chamber is entirely enclosed, the cranks and connecting-rods running in an oil bath, and automatically lubricating the pistons. In the engine casing is also fitted the differential gear, which is geared down to half the speed of the engine shaft, and receives its lubrication from the crank chamber. The steam inlet and exhaust valves arc actuated by sliding cam rods, and the valves are of the poppet or petrol engine type. The exhaust steam passed into a condenser, from which the water of condensation flows to a water tank and is used over again in the boiler. The driving is by chains on to the back axle. These cars are being built by the Miesse Steam Motor Syndicate, Limited, 37, Walbrook, London, and Wolverhampton.

The Gardner•Serpollet steam carriages are shown, and an opportunity is afforded of inspecting the motive mechanism and the ingenious system of lubrication which is rendered necessary by the use of superheated steam. The boiler is of the flash type, and consists of superimposed layers of thick weldless steel tubing bent in the shape of a grid. Each section of the grid before being assembled into the complete generator is separately tested by a hydraulic pump to a pressure of 1,500lb. per square inch. These grids are placed in transverse layers one upon another, and are so connected that on water being pumped into one section — where it is immediately flashed into steam — it passes through the other layers of tubes or grids, becoming superheated. The normal pressure at which the engine works is 180 lb. The burners are started by a flame of methylated spirit warming the tubes and vaporising the paraffin. A few strokes of a hand pump spraying the necessary water into the generator develops the steam pressure necessary for starting the carriage, after which action becomes automatic. The superheated steam passes from the generator through a distributing valve, where it becomes impregnated with oil previous to being admitted into the engine cylinders. The engine is of the horizontal single-acting type, having four cylinders, the inlet and exhaust valves of which are operated by a cam shaft of original design. The cams are so stepped that, starting from a non-operating point, they gradually widen out till, at their broadest span, they keep the inlet valve open during virtually the whole stroke of the piston. The same is true of the reverse action, and this most ingeniously contrived cam shaft is operated from the steering column by the driver. The stepping of this cam shaft is in nicely graduated that at no point is there a distinct step. The cam shaft can therefore be worked backwards and forwards without the slightest chance of forcing or of jamming.

There are numerous other light steam cars, but they nearly all resemble very closely the Locomobile. There is one important exception. We refer to the exhibits of Mr. H. A. House, who shows two carriages and a steam van constructed on the well-known Lifu system. Beyond saying that these vehicles contain many features which are particularly their own, we shall defer further comment until a later date, when we hope to give an illustrated description of a four-seated Lifu carriage.

The minor hall of the building is chiefly given over to the heavy vehicles of commerce, of which there is an extremely interesting collection. The exhibitors in this section include the Straker Steam Vehicle Company, Limited, the Thornycroft Steam Wagon Company, Limited, the Lancashire Steam Motor Company, Leyland, and there is also on view a wagon built by Foden, Sons, and Co., Limited, of Sandbach.

The two Straker wagons are constructed very closely on the same lines as the machine which took part in the Aldershot trials last year. They are designed to carry a net load of five tons, which may be augmented by the employment of a trailing car loaded with two tons. Water-tube boilers are used, having 70 square feet of heating surface and 2.2 square feet of grate area. The working pressure is 200 lb. These boilers are constructed to comply with the requirements of the Manchester Steam Users Association, and special attention has been given to render them easily taken asunder for cleaning and inspection. All the fittings, too, are placed within easy reach of the driver. Both a superheater for live steam and a re-heater for exhaust steam are enclosed within the fire-box. The engine is of the compound horizontal pattern, fitted with single excentric reversing gear, which admits of linking-up. The cylinders are 4in. and 7in. by 7in. stroke. The lubrication of working parts is arranged on a complete system providing for continuous oil feed. The crank shaft is 2.25in. diameter and 4ft. 6in. long, the throws being set at right angles. Two gear speeds are provided at ratios of 9.2 to 1 and 16.7 to 1, giving speeds from three to seven miles per hour. A lubricator is attached to the main steam pipe. The engine crank shaft is extended in square section, upon which is mounted a sliding double pinion to he thrown in and out of gear by hand-actuating device as required. This pinion meshes with gear wheels mounted on the countershaft rotating in long bearings secured to time vehicle frame, and upon which a sprocket pinion is fixed, and by means of a specially, designed antifriction roller chain of huge proportions the power is transmitted to the back axle. A radius rod is fixed to each axle-box, being connected at the other end to a lug projecting from the countershaft bearing. Adjustment is effected by screw and nut, there being means provided for obtaining the requisite amount of adjustment of one rod with regard to the other.

The back axle is constructed of mild steel; strong differential gear is secured to the sleeve carried at the right side, which is flanged for attachment of the road wheel. The compensating gear is designed so that a locking pin can be instantaneously inserted for connecting up the two parts of axle in order that both wheels may become drivers as occasion may demand. The steering is effected by worm and segment, the leading wheels being turned by screw and worm hand gear, which is self-locking in all positions. The road wheels are made of two steel flanged spoke plates riveted to a steel tire on the peripheries, and cast into an iron boss. The tires are cut in sections to allow for expansion.

The Thornycroft Steam Wagon Company, Limited, exhibits three wagons, one of which is identical with that which competed successfully in the War-office trials in December last, and which has already been described in these pages. The other wagons are of the standard type for carrying loads of 3.5 and 5 tons.

The steam tip wagon built by the Lancashire Steam Motor Company, Leyland, is identical with those which are being supplied to the Liverpool Corporation, and is intended to carry 6 cubic yards, or 4 tons. The boiler is of the fire tube type, having 80 square feet of heating surface, and is constructed for a working pressure of 200 lb. It is built under the National Boiler Company's inspection, and is tested hydraulically to 425 lb. The outside shell can be readily lifted off for cleaning purposes. The engine is of the horizontal compound pattern, having cylinders 3.5in. and 6.25in. by 6in. stroke. It has a link motion and substantial wearing surfaces. The low-pressure cylinder can be supplied with steam at boiler pressure when desired. Two gear speeds are provided, and these can be changed from the driver's seat. The gear wheels are of steel throughout, having machine cut teeth and bolted to turned-up flanges, thus dispensing with keys. These wheels run in a dust-proof and oil-tight easing, The driving is by chains on to the rear axle. A special cushion drive is provided on the ends of the compensating gear shaft. This permits the engine to make almost a revolution before the full torque is exerted on the rims of the road wheels. The water tank has a capacity of 130 gallons. The body of the wagon is of oak, supported by iron corner plates and tie bolts. The wheels are made on the gun carriage principle, with oak spokes and ash felloes. The naves are of steel, with hard gun-metal bushings, and the tires are weldless steel, those on the driving wheels being 5in, wide and those on the steering wheels 4in wide.

The 6-ton wagon, of which we give illustrations, contains one or two departures from the company's usual practice. The boiler is of the fire-tube type, having 102 square feet of heating surface. The steam is superheated after it leaves the boiler before entering the cylinders. The superheater forms part of the fire-box. The engine is of the compound horizontal type, having cylinders 4in. and 7in, diameter by 6in, stroke. The machine is gear-driven throughout, and a universal joint is employed between the second motion shaft and the compensating gear. The latter is carried on the main axle. The engine and all the gearing run in oil. It will be noticed that the steering wheels are pitched much closer together than is usual, and that shocks due to unevenness of the road are absorbed by a stout helical spring. The steering is effected through a hand wheel, bevel gear and toothed sector. The wheels are of special construction, and extremely massive. The hub and spokes are one steel casting, the felloes are of wood, and the tires of steel. There are two gears, which, with the engine running at 400 revolutions per minute, give a road speed of 2.5 and 5 miles per hour. The engine is designed to run up to 800 revolutions, and the water tank has a capacity of 100 gallons, sufficient for a run of 15 to 20 miles. The wagon is fitted with a steam brake, which is applied by the starting lever when the steam has been shut off from the engine. The platform is 13ft. 6in. long by 6ft. 6in. wide.

The Foden steam wagon resembles in all its salient features that which ran so remarkably at Aldershot in December. The fire-box has, however, been enlarged by 4in, in length, and the boiler diameter has been increased by 2in. The boiler, it will be remembered, is of the horizontal traction engine type, and contains sixty seven 1.75in. tubes, 3ft. long, and the fire-box is 1ft. 10in. long by 1ft. 9in. wide and 3ft. deep. Traction engine practice has been followed in the construction of the road wheels; the rims are made of cast iron - a mixture of cold blast iron, aluminium and hematite being used. In the steering gear the wire rope formerly used has been supplanted by a chain. The feed-water heater, which doubtless contributed in a large measure to the economy of the wagon, has been done away with, and an exhaust steam drier has been added in the smoke uptake.

Although we have dealt with the steam cars first, they by no means provide the greatest attraction at the Exhibition. It is almost needless to say that the large majority of the light carriages are propelled by internal combustion engines using petrol as fuel. In this direction not much has been effected in the way of improvement of the mechanical efficiency.

The petrol motor on all hands shows undoubted signs of improvement. With the aid of electric ignition the governing of the engines, by means of the throttle valve, has been rendered practicable, and - may we venture to hope? - we are brought a stage nearer to the abolition of the change speed gearing. The 12-15 brake horsepower motor, exhibited by the Simms Manufacturing Company, Limited of Southwark-road, London, S.E., is a well deigned machine. The two east iron cylinders, and the water jackets are all one casting, having no objectionable heater joints. The pistons are of hard cast iron fitted with three rings, and the valves are turned down from solid rods of mild steel. The crank pins are made of mild steel forgings, and have malleable iron weights bolted on. The hearing surfaces are large, as will be seen from the drawings, and are made of white metal. The connecting-rods are steel stampings, the bottom end having long white-metalled brasses, the top end a long hardened phosphor bronze bush. A butterfly valve is fitted in the inlet pipe actuated by a centrifugal ball governor F on the half-speed shaft, ensuring steady running and preventing the engine racing when running free. The Simms-Bosch magneto-electric ignition, D, is employed, the whole device being entirely self-contained on the bed-plate of the motor. An oscillating sleeve is used, so that there is the least possible amount of wear on the bearings. The contact in the combustion chamber is broken at the exact instant that the magneto machine is giving its best current, so that a powerful spark is given, and as this is produced mechanically the ignition of the charge is positive at the highest speeds. The regulation of the speed is effected by the advancing or retarding of the sparking by carrying the lower end of the trip rod across to one side or other of the axis of the ignition cam, which gives a range from 300 to 1,800 resolutions per minute. The supply of petrol is regulated by a float feed carburetter. The lubrication of the parts is effected automatically from the crank chamber, special troughs being provided to catch the oil splashed up by the crank and to distribute it to the working parts, piston, bearings, half-speed shaft, etc. dispenses with the expensive and elaborate service of pipes and lubricators, and ensures economy in oil. These motors give their maximum power at about 1,450 revolutions per minute.

A lawn mower operated by one of these motors of 6 horse-power is shown by Ransomes, Sims and Jefferies, Limited, Ipswich. It is a thoroughly practical machine, and is constructed so that it can be used either as a mower or roller. It consists of a 42in, cutting cylinder, with divided knives and single screw adjustment, which, with the bottom blade, front rollers, and box, is carried on a separate frame, hinged to the main axle, to allow it to follow the inequalities of the ground. This cutting cylinder is driven by the motor, mounted on the main frame, to which the driving rollers, seat, &c., are also attached. The power is convoyed to the cylinder by chain gear through a reducing arrangement which furnished with a simple gear for starting and stopping the machine quite independent of the motor. There is also a separate clutch for putting the cutting cylinder out of gear when it is required to roll the grass only. The driver sits on a spring seat behind the machine, his weight being carried by a pair of steering rollers. The handles and levers for starting, stopping, steering, and emptying the grass-box are arranged no as to be easily within reach front the seat.

One of the moat attractive stands at the Automobile Club's Show was that of the Daimler Company, which showed its improved form of petrol motor. The carriage which this firm has built for the King embraced all the latest improvements. It has a 22 horse-power four-cylinder motor, and is a roomy and substantial vehicle for eight persons, with a canopy and curved glass panels. The wheel base is 9ft., and the weight of the frame and motor mechanism alone is 24 cwt. The circulation of the cooling water is effected by a specially- designed centrifugal pump, the water being carried in a combined tank and radiator placed in the fore part of the frame. Four forward speeds and reverse are obtained by means of toothed gearing, the transmission being fitted with self-oiling bearings. The wheels are of equal size, and are shod with unpuncturable and interchangeable Goodyear pneumatic tires. The special features of the new motors are the simplification of the design of the valve chambers and ports and the adoption of electric ignition in combination with the throttle valves, which can also be operated by hand. The details of construction of these motors now leave little to be desired.

Hewetsons, Limited, Tottenham Court-road, London, showed their latest type of Benz car, in which the motor has been placed in the front, as is the almost universal custom. In the higher powered vehicles the engines have two cylinders. The method of transmission is by a single straight belt connecting the motor with a change gear shaft, the latter carrying fast and loose pulleys, as well as a train of sliding spur wheels, any one of which can be made to mesh with corresponding pinions on the differential shaft. From the latter, the usual duplicate pair of chains and chain wheels convey the power to the rear road wheels. Three and four speeds forward and a reverse motion are provided, controlled by two levers arranged at the side of the inclined steering column. The driver has three pedals at his command — one to slip the belt on and off the fast and loose pulleys, thus disconnecting the engine, as on clutch operating cars; another actuates a double-acting hand brake on the countershaft, while the third works in conjunction with a hand lever at the side of car, and applies band brakes on the hubs of each of the rear road wheels, at the same time putting the engine out of gear. Thus the driver can apply the wheel brakes, and disconnect the engine either by hand or foot, whichever he finds most convenient.

Apart from slight modifications in the valve gears, clutches, and transmission gears — most of which bear a very strong resemblance to the Panhard transmission — not much need be said about the major portion of the petrol-driven cars. Light and inexpensive carriages are extremely few in number, makers evidently preferring to devote attention to the heavier and more expensive types. A notable exception to this statement must be made in the case of the Duryea car, which has several good features, the chief being that change-speed gearing is practically abolished. The Duryea cars are particularly light for the power which is put into them, and this, together with the peculiar design of motor and arrangement of the induction valves, gives an ample range of power and speed which can be readily varied. The 10 horse-power engine has three cylinders, each 4.5in. by 4.5in. The cranks are set 120 degrees apart, with bearings between each. The engine speed is controlled entirely by varying the opening of the induction valves.

This is effected on all three cylinders equally and simultaneously by turning the handle-grip, which is held by the steering hand. The extent to which this can be effected is remarkable; for, although an epicyclic gear on the engine shaft is available for use in emergencies, this gear in ordinary use revolves locked together, and transmits the power direct from the crank shaft to the driving wheels by a single chain. The ignition is made by a governed magneto, the sparking hammers being worked by cams on the half-speed shaft, through the hollow stems of the exhaust valves. The steering is effected by a single central vertical lever, a slight pressure of which to either side effects the steering and directs the course of the motor car, the steering being rendered irreversible by so setting the angles of the steering centres that no leverage against the driver is introduced when striking obstacles. The same hand which does the steering controls the speed of the car, as already described, whilst by depressing the handle upon its stem the clutch is thrown out and it catch holds the motor out of gear. The release of this catch by a finger pressure, and a further depression of the handle, tightens a band around the gear and brings the crypto gear into operation.

Perhaps the greatest novelty in the show was the car in which liquid air acts as the motive fluid. In its general features the vehicle resembles the automobile steam carriage. The liquid is stored in a copper cylinder with a vacuum jacket, and after being vaporised at the temperature of the atmosphere, is admitted to what is practically a vertical steam engine, the power from which is transmitted by chain gearing to the rear axle. The car has seats for two persons, and the capacity of the liquid air tank is 18 gallons, which is said to suffice for a journey of 30 to 40 miles at average speeds. Apart from the extremely low efficiency of liquid air as a source of power, which has been computed at about 4 per cent., and the difficulty of retaining it for any reasonable time, the cost of the liquid at present is almost too prohibitive for use by millionaires, and places it outside the bounds of practical application for motor traffic. The introducers of the particular process for producing the liquid claim that they will be able to place it on the market at 2d. per gallon, at which price a large output would assuredly ensue; but without controverting the statement, it should be stated that one of the most successful makers of this liquid has reported that it requires 100 horse-power at the compressor to produce as many pounds of liquid air per hour, and it can develop only a fraction of that amount of power in gasifying. We fear that the day for the fascinating liquid-air motor car is not yet.

See Also


Sources of Information