by Archibald Williams October 26th, 2023
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The development of the motor-car has been phenomenal. Early in 1896 the only mechanically moved vehicles to be seen on our roads were the traction-engine, preceded by a man bearing a red flag, the steam-roller, and, in the towns, a few trams. To-day the motor is apparent everywhere, dodging through street traffic, or raising the dust of the country roads and lanes, or lumbering along with its load of merchandise at a steady gait. As a purely speed machine the motor-car has practically reached its limit. With 100 h.p. or more crowded into a vehicle scaling only a ton, the record rate of travel has approached two miles in a minute on specially prepared and peculiarly suitable tracks. Even up steep hills such a monster will career at nearly eighty miles an hour. Next to the racing car comes the touring car, engined to give sixty miles an hour on the level in the more powerful types, or a much lower speed in the car intended for quieter travel, and for people who are not prepared to face a big bill for upkeep. The luxury of the age has invaded the design of automobiles till the gorgeously decorated and comfortably furnished Pullman of the railway has found a counterpart in the motor caravan with its accommodation for sleeping and feeding. While the town dweller rolls along in electric landaulet, screened from wind and weather, the tourist may explore the roads of the world well housed and lolling at ease behind the windows of his 2,000-guinea machine, on which the engineer and carriage builder have lavished their utmost skill.
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The Romance of Modern Mechanism by Archibald Williams is part of the HackerNoon Books Series. You can jump to any chapter in this book here. CHAPTER VII



The development of the motor-car has been phenomenal. Early in 1896 the only mechanically moved vehicles to be seen on our roads were the traction-engine, preceded by a man bearing a red flag, the steam-roller, and, in the towns, a few trams. To-day the motor is apparent everywhere, dodging through street traffic, or raising the dust of the country roads and lanes, or lumbering along with its load of merchandise at a steady gait.

As a purely speed machine the motor-car has practically reached its limit. With 100 h.p. or more crowded into a vehicle scaling only a ton, the record rate of travel has approached two miles in a minute on specially prepared and peculiarly suitable tracks. Even up steep hills such a monster will career at nearly eighty miles an hour.

Next to the racing car comes the touring car, engined to give sixty miles an hour on the level in the more powerful types, or a much lower speed in the car intended for quieter travel, and for people who are not prepared to face a big bill for upkeep. The luxury of the age has invaded the design of automobiles till the gorgeously decorated and comfortably furnished Pullman of the railway has found a counterpart in the motor caravan with its accommodation for sleeping and feeding. While the town dweller rolls along in electric landaulet, screened from wind and weather, the tourist may explore the roads of the world well housed and lolling at ease behind the windows of his 2,000-guinea machine, on which the engineer and carriage builder have lavished their utmost skill.

The taunt of unreliability once levelled—and with justice—at the motor-car, is fast losing its force, owing to the vast improvements in design and details which manufacturers have been stimulated to make. The motor-car industry has a great future before it, and the prizes therein are such as to tempt both inventor and engineer. Every week scores of patents are granted for devices which aim at the perfection of some part of a car, its tyres, its wheels, or its engines. Until standard types for all grades of motor vehicles have been established, this restless flow of ideas will continue. Its volume is the most striking proof of the vitality of the industry.

The uses to which the motor vehicle has been put are legion. On railways the motor carriage is catering for local traffic. On the roads the motor omnibus is steadily increasing its numbers. Tradesmen of all sorts, and persons concerned with the distribution of commodities, find that the petrol- or steam-moved car or lorry has very decided advantages over horse traction. Our postal authorities have adopted the motor mail van. The War Office looks to the motor to solve some of its transportation difficulties. In short, the "motor age" has arrived, which will, relatively to the "railway age," play much the same part as that epoch did to the "horse age." At the ultimate effects of the change we can only guess; but we see already, in the great acceleration of travel wherever the motor is employed, that many social institutions are about to be revolutionised. But for the determined opposition in the 'thirties of last century to the steam omnibus we should doubtless live to-day in a very different manner. Our population would be scattered more broadcast over the country instead of being herded in huge towns. Many railways would have remained unbuilt, but our roads would be kept in much better condition, special tracks having been built for the rapid travel of the motor. We have only to look to a country now in course of development to see that the road, which leads everywhere, will, in combination with the motor vehicle, eventually supplant, or at any rate render unnecessary, the costly network of railways which must be a network of very fine mesh to meet the needs of a civilised community.

In the scope of a few pages it is impossible to cover even a tithe of the field occupied by the ubiquitous motor-car, and we must, therefore, restrict ourselves to a glance at the manufacture of its mechanism, and a few short excursions into those developments which promise most to alter our modes of life.

We will begin with a trip over one of the largest motor factories in the world, selecting that of Messrs. Dion and Bouton, whose names are inseparable from the history of the modern motor-car. They may justly claim that to deal with the origin, rise, and progress of the huge business which they have built up would be to give an account, in its general lines, of all the phases through which the motor, especially the petrol motor, has passed from its crudest shape to its present state of comparative perfection.

The Count Albert de Dion was, in his earlier days, little concerned with things mechanical. He turned rather to the fashionable pursuit of duelling, in which he seems to have made a name. But he was not the man to waste his life in such inanities, and when, one day, he was walking down the Paris boulevards, his attention was riveted by a little clockwork carriage exposed for sale among other New Year's gifts. That moment was fraught with great consequences, for an inventive mind had found a proper scope for its energy. Why, thought he, could not real cars be made to run by some better form of motive power? On inquiring he learnt that a workman named Bouton had produced the car. The Count, therefore, sought the artisan; with whom he worked out the problem which had now become his aim in life. Hence it is that the names "Dion—Bouton" are found on thousands of engines all over the world.

The partners scored their first successes with steam- and petrol-driven tricycles, built in a small workshop in the Avenue Malakoff in Paris. The works were then transferred to Puteaux, which has since developed into the great automobile centre of the world, and after two more changes found a resting-place on the Quai National. Here close upon 3,000 hands are engaged in supplying the world's requirements in motors and cars. Let us enter the huge block of buildings and watch them at work.

The drawing-office is the brain of the factory. Within its walls new ideas are being put into practical shape by skilled draughtsmen. The drawings are sent to the model-making shop, where the parts are first fashioned in wood. The shop contains dozens of big benches, circular saws, and planing machines, one of them in the form of a revolving drum carrying a number of planes, which turns thousands of times a minute, and shapes off the rough surface of the blocks of hard wood as if it were so much clay. These blocks are cut, planed, and turned, and then put into the hands of a remarkably skilled class of workmen, who, with rule, calliper, and chisel, shape out cylinders and other parts to the drawings before them with wonderful patience and exactness.

After the model has been fashioned, the next step is to make a clay mould from the same, with a hole in the top through which the molten metal is poured. The foundry is most picturesque in a lurid, Rembrandtesque fashion: "It is black everywhere. The floor, walls, and roof are black, and the foundry hands look like unwashed penitents in sackcloth and ashes. At the end of the building there is a raised brickwork, and when the visitor is able to see in the darkness, he distinguishes a number of raised lids along the top, while here and there are strewn about huge iron ladles like buckets. On the foreman giving the word, a man steps up on the brickwork and removes the lid, when a column of intense white light strikes upwards. It gives one the impression of coming from the bowels of the earth, like a hole opening out in a volcano. The man bestrides the aperture, down which he drops the ladle at the end of a long pole, and then pulling it up again full of a straw-coloured, shining liquid, so close to him that we shudder at the idea of its spilling over his legs and feet, he pours the molten metal into a big ladle, which is seized by two men who pour the liquid into the moulds. The work is more difficult than it looks, for it requires a lot of practice to fill the moulds in such a way as to avoid blow-holes and flaws that prove such a serious item in foundry practice."

In the case-hardening department, next door, there are six huge ovens with sliding fronts. Therein are set parts which have been forged or machined, and are subjected to a high temperature while covered in charcoal, so that the skin of the metal may absorb carbon at high temperatures and become extremely tough. All shafts, gears, and other moving parts of a car are subjected to this treatment, which permits a considerable reduction in the weight of metal used, and greatly increases its resistance to wear. After being "carbonised," the material is tempered by immersion in water while of a certain heat, judged by the colour of the hot metal.

We now pass to the turning-shop, where the cylinders are bored out by a grinding disc rapidly rotating on an eccentric shaft, which is gradually advanced through the cylinder as it revolves. The utmost accuracy, to the 1/10,000 part of an inch, is necessary in this operation, since the bore must be perfectly cylindrical, and also of a standard size, so that any standard piston may exactly fit it. After being bored, or rather ground, the walls of the cylinder are highly polished, and the article is ready for testing. The workman entrusted with this task hermetically closes the ends by inserting the cylinder between the plates of an hydraulic press, and pumps in water to a required pressure. If there be the slightest crack, crevice, or hole, the water finds its way through, and the piece is condemned to the rubbish heap.

In the "motor-room" are scores of cylinders, crank-cases, and gears ready for finishing. Here the outside of bored cylinders is touched up by files to remove any marks and rough projections left by the moulds. The crank-cases of aluminium are taken in hand by men who chisel the edges where the two halves fit, chipping off the metal with wonderful skill and precision. The edges are then ground smooth, and after the halves have been accurately fitted, the holes for the bolts connecting them are drilled in a special machine, which presents a drill to each hole in succession.

Having seen the various operations which a cylinder has to go through, we pass into another shop given up to long lines of benches where various motor parts are being completed. Each piece, however small, is treated as of the utmost importance, since the failure of even a tiny pin may bring the largest car to a standstill. We see a man testing pump discs against a standard template to prove their absolute accuracy. Close by, another man is finishing a fly-wheel, chipping off specks of metal to make the balance true. We now understand that machine tools cannot utterly displace the human hand and eye. The fitters, with touches of the file, remove matter in such minute quantities that its removal might seem of no consequence. But "matter in the wrong place" is the cause of many breakdowns.

We should naturally expect that engines cast from the same pattern, handled by the same machines, finished by the same men, would give identical results. But as two bicycles of similar make will run differently, so do engines of one type develop peculiarities. The motors are therefore taken into a testing-room and bolted to two rows of benches, forty at a time. Here they run under power for long periods, creating a deafening uproar, until all parts work "sweetly." The power of the engines is tested by harnessing them to dynamos and noting the amount of current developed at a certain speed.

We might linger in the departments where accumulators, sparking plugs, and other parts of the electrical apparatus of a car are made, or in the laboratory where chemists pry into the results of a new alloy, aided by powerful microscopes and marvellously delicate scales. But we will stop only to note the powerful machine which is stretching and crushing metal to ascertain its toughness. No care in experimenting is spared. The chemist, poring over his test tubes, plays as important a part in the construction of a car as the foundry man or the turner.

The machine-shop is an object-lesson among the tools noticed in previous chapters of this book. "Here is a huge planing machine travelling to and fro over a copper bar. A crank shaft has been cut out of solid steel by boring holes close together through a thick plate, and the two sides of the plate have been broken off, leaving the rough shaft with its edges composed of a considerable number of semicircles. The shaft is slowly rotated on a lathe, and tiny clouds of smoke arise as the tool nicks off pieces of metal to reduce the shaft to a circular shape. Other machines, with high-speed tool steel, are finishing gear shafts. Fly-wheels are being turned and worm shafts cut. All these laborious operations are carried out by the machines, each under the control of one man whose mind is intent upon the work, ready to stop the machine or adjust the material as may be required. As a contrast to the heavy machines we will pass to the light automatic tools which are grouped in a gallery.... The eye is bewildered by the moving mass, but the whirling of the pulley shafts and the clicking of the capstan lathes is soothing to the ear, while the mind is greatly impressed by the ingenuity of man in suppressing labour by means of machines, of which half a dozen can be easily looked after by one hand, who has nothing to do but to see that they are fed with material. A rod of steel is put into the machine, and the turret, with half a dozen different tools, presents first one and then the other to the end of the rod bathed in thick oil, so that it is rapidly turned, bored, and shaped into caps, nuts, bolts, and the scores of other little accessories required in fitting up a motor-car. On seeing how all this work is done mechanically and methodically, with scarcely any other expense but the capital required in the upkeep of the machines and in driving them, one wonders how the automobile industry could be carried on without this labour-saving mechanism. In any event, if all these little pieces had to be turned out by hand, it is certain that the cost of the motor-car would be considerably more than it is, even if it did not reach to such a figure as to make it prohibitive to all but wealthy buyers. Down one side of the gallery the machines are engaged in cutting gears with so much precision that, when tested by turning them together on pins on a bench at the end of the gallery, it is very rare indeed that any one of them is found defective. This installation of automatic tools is one of the largest of its kind in a motor-car works, if not in any engineering shop, and each one has been carefully selected in view of its efficiency for particular classes of work, so that we see machines from America, England, France, and Germany."

In the fitting-shops the multitude of parts are assembled to form the chassis or mechanical carriage of the car, to which, in a separate shop, is added the body for the accommodation of passengers. The whole is painted and carefully varnished after it has been out on the road for trials to discover any weak spot in its anatomy. Then the car is ready for sale.

When one considers the racketing that a high-powered car has to stand, and the high speed of its moving parts, one can understand why those parts must be made so carefully and precisely, and also how this care must conduce to the expense of the finished article. It has been said that it is easy to make a good watch, but difficult to make a good motor; for though they both require an equal amount of exactitude and skill, the latter has to stand much more wear in proportion. When you look at a first-grade car bearing a great maker's name, you have under your eyes one of the most wonderful pieces of mechanism the world can show.

We will not leave the de Dion-Bouton Works without a further glance at the human element. The company never have a slack time, and consequently can employ the same number of people all the year round. They pride themselves on the fact that the great majority of the men have been in their employ for several years, with the result that they have around them a class of workmen who are steady, reliable and, above all, skilful in the particular work they are engaged upon. There are more than 2,600 men and about 100 women, these latter being employed chiefly in the manufacture of sparking plugs and in other departments where there is no night work. They are mostly the wives or widows of old workmen, and in thus finding employment for them the firm provides for those who would otherwise be left without resource, and at the same time earns the gratitude of their employés.

Note.—The author gratefully acknowledges the help given by Messrs. de Dion-Bouton, Ltd., in providing materials for this account of their works.


Prior to the emancipation of the road automobile in 1896, permission had been granted to corporations to run trams driven by mechanical power through towns. The steam tram, its engine protected by a case which hid the machinery from the view of restive horses, panted up and down our streets, drawing one or more vehicles behind it. The electric tram presently came over from America and soon established its superiority to the steamer with respect to speed, freedom from smell and smoke, and noiselessness: the system generally adopted was that invented in 1887 by Frank J. Sprague, in which an overhead cable supported on posts or slung from wires spanning the track carries current to a trolley arm projecting from the vehicle. The return current passes through the rails, which are made electrically continuous by having their individual lengths either welded together or joined by metal strips.

In America, where wide streets and rapidly growing cities are the rule, the electric tramway serves very useful ends; the best proof of its utility being the total mileage of the tracks. Statistics for 1902 show that since 1890 the mileage had increased from 1,261 to 21,920 miles; and the number of passengers carried from 2,023,010,202 to 4,813,466,001, or an increase of 137·94 per cent. It is interesting to note that electricity has in the United States almost completely ousted steam and animal traction so far as street cars are concerned; since the 5,661 miles once served by animal power have dwindled to 259, and steam can claim only 169 miles of track.

Next to the United States comes Germany as a user of electricity for tractive purposes; though she is a very bad second with only about 6,000 miles of track; and England takes third place with about 3,000 miles. That the British Isles, so well provided with railways, should be so poorly equipped with tramways is comprehensible when we consider the narrowness of the streets of her largest towns, where a good service of public vehicles is most needed. The installation of a tram-line necessitates the tearing up of a street, and in many cases the closing of that street to traffic. We can hardly imagine the dislocation of business that would result from such a blockage of, say, the Strand and High Holborn; but since it has been calculated that no less than five millions of pounds sterling are lost to our great metropolis yearly by the obstructions of gas, water, telegraph, and telephone operations, which only partially close a thoroughfare, or by the relaying of the road surface, which is not a very lengthy matter if properly conducted, we might reckon the financial loss resulting from the laying of tram-rails at many millions.

Even were they laid, the trouble would not cease, for a tram is confined to its track, and cannot make way for other traffic. This inadaptability has been the cause of the great outcry lately raised against the way in which tram-line companies have monopolised the main streets and approaches to many of our largest towns. While the electric tram is beneficial to a large class of people, as a cheap method of locomotion between home and business, it sadly handicaps all owners of vehicles vexatiously delayed by the tram. At Brentford, to take a notorious example, the double tram-line so completely fills the High Street that it is at places impossible for a cart or carriage to remain at the kerbstone.

Another charge levelled with justice at the tram-line is that the rails and their setting are dangerous to cyclists, motorists, and even heavy vehicles, especially in wet weather, when the "side-slip" demon becomes a real terror.

English municipalities are therefore faced by a serious problem. Improved locomotion is necessary; how can it best be provided? By smooth-running, luxurious, well-lighted electric trams, travelling over a track laid at great expense, and a continual nuisance to a large section of the community; or by vehicles independent of a central source of power, and free to move in any direction according to the needs of the traffic? Where tramways exist, those responsible for laying them at the rate of several thousand pounds per mile are naturally reluctant to abandon them. But where the fixed track has not yet arrived an alternative method of transport is open, viz. the automobile omnibus. Quite recently we have seen in London and other towns a great increase in the number of motor buses, which often ply far out into the country. From the point of speed they are very superior to the horsed vehicle, and statistics show that they are also less costly to run in proportion to the fares carried, while passengers will unanimously acknowledge their greater comfort. To change from the ancient, rattling two-horse conveyance, which jolts us on rough roads, and occasionally sends a thrill up the spine when the brakes are applied, to the roomy steam- or petrol-driven bus, which overtakes and threads its way through the slower traffic, is a pleasant experience. So the motor buses are crowded, while the horsed rivals on the same route trundle along half empty. Since the one class of vehicles can travel at an average pace of ten miles an hour, as against the four miles an hour of the other, no wonder that this should be so. Even if the running costs of a motor bus for a given distance exceed that of an electric tram, we must remember that, whereas a bus runs on already existing roads, an immense amount of capital must be sunk in laying the track for the tram, and the interest on this sum has to be added to the total running costs.

The next decade will probably decide whether automobiles or trams are to serve the needs of the community in districts where at present no efficient service of any kind exists. In London motor buses are being placed on the roads by scores, and the day cannot be far distant when the horse will disappear from the bus as it is already fast vanishing from the front of the tram.

Both petrol and steam, and in some cases a combination of petrol and electricity, are used to propel the motor bus. It has not yet been decided which form of power yields the best results. Petrol is probably the cheaper fuel, but steam gives the quieter running; and could electric storage batteries be made sufficiently light and durable they would have a strong claim to precedence. There has lately appeared a new form of accumulator—the von Rothmund—which promises well, since weight for weight it far exceeds in capacity any other type, and is so constructed that it will stand a lot of rough usage. A car fitted with a von Rothmund battery scaling about 1,500 lbs. has run 200 miles on one charge, and it is anticipated that with improvements in motors a 1,100-lb. battery will readily be run 150 miles as against the 50 miles in the case of a lead battery of equal weight.

There is a large sphere open to the motor bus outside districts where the electric tram would enter into serious competition with it. We have before us a sketch-map of the Great Western Railway, one of the most enterprising systems with regard to its use of motors to feed its rails. No less than thirty road services are in operation, and their number is being steadily augmented. In fact, it looks as if in the near future the motor service will largely supplant the branch railway, blessed with very few trains a day. A motor bus service plying every half-hour between a town and the nearest important main-line station would be more valuable to the inhabitants than half a dozen trains a day, especially if the passenger vehicles were supplemented by lorries for the carriage of luggage and heavy goods.

In this connection we may notice an invention of M. Renard—a motor train of several vehicles towed by a single engine. We have all seen the traction-engine puffing along with its tail of trucks, and been impressed by the weight of the locomotive, and also by the manner in which the train occupies a road when passing a corner. The weight is necessary to give sufficient grip to move the whole train, while the spreading of the vehicles across the thoroughfare on a curve arises from the fact that each vehicle does not follow the path of that preceding it, but describes part of a smaller circle.

M. Renard has, in his motor train, evaded the need for a heavy tractor by providing every vehicle with a pair of driving wheels, and transmitting the power to those wheels by a special flexible propeller shaft which passes from the powerful motor on the leading vehicle under all the other vehicles, engaging in succession with mechanism attached to all the driving axles. In this manner each car yields its quotum of adhesion for its own propulsion, and the necessity for great weight is obviated. Special couplings ensure that the path taken by the tractor shall be faithfully followed by all its followers. A motor train of this description has travelled from Paris to Berlin and drawn to itself a great deal of attention.

"Will it," asks a writer in The World's Work, "ultimately displace the conventional traction-engine and its heavy trailing waggons? Every municipality and County Council is only too painfully cognisant of the dire effects upon the roads exercised by the cumbrous wheels of these unwieldy locomotives and trains. With the Renard train, however, the trailing coaches can be of light construction, carried on ordinary wheels which do not cut up or otherwise damage the roadway surface. Many other advantages inherent in such a train might be enumerated. The most important, however, are the flexibility of the whole train; its complete control; faster speed without any attendant danger; its remarkable braking arrangements as afforded by the continuous propeller shaft gearing directly with the driving-wheels of each carriage; its low cost of maintenance, serviceability, and instant use; and the reduction in the number of men requisite for the attention of the train while on a journey."

Were the system a success, it would find plenty of scope to convey passengers and commodities through districts too sparsely populated to render a railway profitable. People would talk about travelling or sending goods by the "ten-thirty motor train," just as now we speak of the "eleven-fifteen to town."

As a carrier and distributer of mails, the motor van has already established a position. To quote but a couple of instances, there are the services between London and Brighton, and Liverpool and Manchester. In the Isle of Wight motor omnibuses connect all the principal towns and villages. Each bus is a travelling post-office in which, by an arrangement with the Postmaster-General, anybody may post letters at the recognised stopping-places or whenever the vehicle has halted for any purpose.

In Paris, London, Berlin, the motor mail van is a common sight. It has even penetrated the interior of India, where the Maharajah of Gwalior uses a specially fitted steam car for the delivery of his private mails. And, as though to show that man alone shall not profit by the new mode of locomotion, Paris owns a motor-car which conveys lost dogs from the different police-stations to the Dogs' Home! In fact, there seems to be no purpose to which a horse-drawn vehicle can be put, which either has not been, or shortly will be, invaded by the motor.


In the early days of railway construction vehicles were used which combined a steam locomotive with an ordinary passenger carriage. After being abandoned for many years, the "steam carriage" was revived, in 1902, by the London and South Western and Great Western railways for local service and the handling of passenger traffic on branch lines. Since that year rail motor-cars have multiplied; some being run by steam, others by petrol engines, and others, again, by electricity generated by petrol engines. The first class we need not describe in any detail, as it presents no features of peculiar interest.

The North Eastern has had in use two rail-motors, each fifty-two feet long, with a compartment at each end for the driver, and a central saloon to carry fifty-two passengers. An 80 h.p. four-cylindered Wolseley petrol motor drives a Westinghouse electric generator, which sends current into a couple of 55 h.p. electric motors geared to the running-wheels. An air compressor fitted to the rear bogie supplies the Westinghouse air brakes, while in addition a powerful electric brake is fitted, acting on the rails as well as the wheels. The coach scales thirty-five tons.

The chief advantage of this "composite" system of power transmission is that the engine is kept running at a constant speed, while the power it develops at the electric motors is regulated by switches which control the action of the armature and field magnets. When heavy work must be done the engine is supplied with more gaseous mixture, and the generators are so operated as to develop full power. In this manner all the variable speed gears and clutches necessary when the petrol motor is connected to the driving-wheels are done away with.

The latter system gives, however, greater economy of fuel, and the Great Northern Railway has adopted it in preference to the petrol-electric. This railway has many small branch lines running through thinly populated districts, which, though important as feeders of the main tracks, are often worked at a loss. A satisfactory type of automobile carriage would not only avoid this loss, but also largely prevent the competition of road motors.

The car should be powerful enough to draw an extra van or two on occasion, since horses and heavy luggage may sometimes accompany the passengers. Messrs. Dick, Kerr, and Company have built a car, which, when loaded with its complement of passengers, weighs about sixteen tons. The motive power is supplied by two four-cylinder petrol engines of the Daimler type, each giving 36 h.p. These are suspended on a special frame, independent of that which carries the coach body, so that the passengers are not troubled by the vibration of the engines, even when the vehicle is at rest. The great feature of the car is the lightness of the machinery—only two tons in weight—though it develops sufficient power to move the carriage at fifty miles per hour. After travelling 2,000 miles the machinery showed no appreciable signs of wear; so that the company considers that it has found a reliable type of motor for the working of the short line between Hatfield and Hertford.

Since one man can drive a petrol car, while two—a driver and a stoker—are necessary on a steam car, a considerable reduction in wages will result from the employment of these vehicles.

Engineers find motor-trolleys very convenient for inspecting the lines under their care. On the London and South Western Railway a trolley driven by a 6–8 h.p. engine, and provided with a change-gear giving six, fifteen, and thirty miles per hour in either direction, is at work. It seats four persons. In the colonies, notably in South Africa, where coal and wood fuel is scarce or expensive, the motor-trolley, capable of carrying petrol for 300 miles' travel, is rapidly gaining ground among railway inspectors.

Makers are turning their attention to petrol shunting engines, useful in goods yards, mines, sewerage works. Firms such as Messrs. Maudslay and Company, of Coventry; the Wolseley Tool and Motor Car Company; Messrs. Panhard and Levassor; Messrs. Kerr, Stuart, and Company have brought out locomotives of this kind which will draw loads up to sixty tons. The fact that a petrol engine is ready for work at a moment's notice, and when idle is not "eating its head off," and has no furnace or boiler to require attention, is very much in its favour where comparatively light loads have to be hauled.

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