Electric Tricycles. Ã¢â‚¬â€ Last week the passers by were astonished at seeing a tricycle electrically lighted and electrically propelled going down Queen Victoria Street. The source of the electric current was a few Faure's accumulators resting on the footboard, the electric lamps, of which there was one on each side of the tricycle, were incandescent lamps, giving each about four candles, and the electro-motor was one of those recently devised by Profs. Ayrton and Perry, and was fastened under the seat which was occupied by one of the inventors. One speciality of these motors is their compactness and the large amount of power they can furnish for their weight, the total weight of the quarter-horse-power motors, with the Faure's accumulators necessary to propel the tricycle with its rider at the ordinary speed, as well as to electrically light it, being only, we understand, about 1 1/2 cwt., or but little more than that of a second rider.
To The Editors of The Electrical Review.
Sirs, Ã¢â‚¬â€ In your last number you favoured your readers with the news of an experiment made with Messrs. Ayrton and Perry's tricycle. The subject of road locomotion by electric energy is of immense interest to all classes. I venture, therefore, through your columns to ask Prof. Ayrton to enlighten the public with fuller particulars concerning this "invention." How many cells do they use to drive their motor, what current and electromotive force, how many hours will the vehicle run on a level road Ã¢â‚¬â€ at what speed, when once charged? What may be the weight and actual power of their motor, what kind of gearing is used to run at any reduced speeds?
A sketch in your valuable paper would prove most instructive. Since the machine has already been exhibited in the streets, there cannot be any further secret about these details. Yours obediently,
A. RECKENZAUN, C.E.
October 30th, 1882.
To the Editors of The Electrical Review.
Sirs, Ã¢â‚¬â€ What is the use of an electric tricycle? The Locomotives (Roads) Act, Section 3, enacts that "every locomotive propelled by steam, or any other than animal power, on any turnpike road or public highway, shall be worked according to the following rules and regulations amongst others, namely: Firstly, at least three persons shall be employed to drive or conduct such locomotive; secondly, one of such persons while any locomotive is in motion shall precede such locomotive on foot by not less than 60 yards, and shall carry a red flag constantly displayed, and shall warn the riders and drivers of horses of the approach of such locomotive, and shall signal the driver thereof when it shall be necessary to stop, and shall assist horses, and carriages drawn by horses, passing the same." And by Section 4, the speed at which such locomotives shall be driven along a highway is limited to four miles per hour, and through a city, town, or village to two miles per hour. Is this how electric tricycles are proposed to be driven? That a tricycle is a locomotive within the meaning of the Act of Parliament if driven by other than animal power has been recently decided by the Queen's Bench in the case of Parkyns v. Priest, 7 Q.B.D., 813.
October 31st, 1882.
To the Editors of The Electrical Review.
Sirs, Ã¢â‚¬â€ Your correspondent, "Chancery Lane," may well ask "What is the use of an Electric Tricycle?" if in this fast age one is to be compelled to travel at the ignominious rate of four miles per hour and have an avant coureur with a red flag to announce our coming to Hodge and his cart-horses.
Of course we all know that the Act of Parliament was aimed at traction engines, steam rollers, and such like noisy but useful monstrosities, and not at the useful and natty tricycle or any other form of velocipede driven by electricity. The Court of Queen's Bench, however, in their wisdom have decided that tricycles driven by other than animal power do come within the meaning of the Act, and that any person using one except in compliance with the provisions thereof is liable to a penalty not exceeding ten pounds.
Now I take a great interest in electric tricycles, and I quite agree with Mr. Reckenzaun that the subject of locomotion by electric energy is of immense interest to all classes, and being so impressed, I, in my blissful ignorance of the law, set to work to build one, when all at once to my horror and consternation (and I have no doubt to that of many other similar workers in the same cause) came the decision in Parkyns v. Priest. My friends consoled me with the belief that the case would be appealed, and the decision upset. For confirmation of this view I had an interview with my lawyer, but all I got from him was a shake of the head. I frantically endeavoured to impress upon his legal mind the difference between a traction engine and a tricycle, but he refused to be convinced, and pointed grimly to the words of the Act, "other than animal power." These words seemed to haunt me like Banquo's Ghost, and I began to consider their insertion in the Act as a kind of personal
injury, until, one day, a happy thought struck me, which ultimately developed into a practical idea; this I embodied in a specification and submitted it to my grim lawyer, who returned it to me with a grin, and an expression of opinion that an electric tricycle built upon my improved plan would not be an infringement of the Act, but with the natural caution of his class, advised a conference with counsel. A connsel, well-known and respected by most inventors, was thereupon consulted, and my lawyer's opinion fully confirmed. A specification has in consequence been duly filed, and in due course will be made public.
I have only mentioned the above trifling facts for the benefit of our legal friend "Chancery Lane," who, doubtless, has been having a good chuckle over the electricians and their tricycles; but for the information of others I may state that the principle of the invention is the use of electricity as a simple auxiliary, thus reducing the "animal power" required for propulsion to a minimum, but so arranging the machine that without such "animal power" (however small) being exerted continuously the tricycle remains motionless.
I hope to have a machine made on the above principle completed in time for the approaching exhibition, I shall then have great pleasure in sending you full particulars, with diagrams, weight, &c, if you consider the matter of sufficient interest to your readers.
JNO. MACDONALD, C.E.
...when all at once to my horror and consternation (and I have no doubt to that of many other similar workers in the same cause) came the decision in Parkyns v. Priest.
PARKYNS v PREIST
7 QB D 313
HEARING-DATES: 4 July 1881
4 July 1881
CASE stated by a metropolitan police magistrate, under 20 & 21 Vict. c. 43.
The appellant, Sir Thomas Parkyns, Bart., who was the owner and inventor of the motor tricycle, was charged under five summonses: (1.) With being the owner of a locomotive propelled by steam on a public highway, which locomotive was not worked according to the rules and regulations in s. 3 of the Locomotives Act, 1865 (28 & 29 Vict. c. 83) and s. 29 of the Highways and Locomotives (Amendment) Act, 1878 (41 & 42 Vict. c. 77), which require that Ã¢â‚¬Å“at least three persons shall be employed to drive or conduct such locomotiveÃ¢â‚¬Â; and Ã¢â‚¬Å“one of such persons while the locomotive is in motion shall precede by at least twenty yards the locomotive on foot. Ã¢â‚¬Â¦Ã¢â‚¬Â:
(2.) With unlawfully driving a locomotive propelled by steam through a town at a greater speed than two miles an hour contrary to s. 4 of the Locomotives Act, 1865:
(3.) With a breach of the Locomotives Act, 1865, s. 7, which requires that Ã¢â‚¬Å“the name and residence of the owner of every locomotive shall be affixed thereto in a conspicuous mannerÃ¢â‚¬Â:
(4.) With a breach of the Highways and Locomotives (Amendment) Act, 1878, s. 28, subs. 1, which requires that Ã¢â‚¬Å“a locomotive not drawing any carriage and not exceeding in weight three tons shall have the tires of the wheels thereof not less than three inches in width,Ã¢â‚¬Â and of subs. 4, which requires that Ã¢â‚¬Å“the driving wheels of a locomotive shall be cylindrical and smooth soled Ã¢â‚¬Â¦Ã¢â‚¬Â:
(5.) With a breach of the Locomotives Act, 1861 (24 & 25 Vict. c. 70), s. 12, which requires that Ã¢â‚¬Å“the weight of every locomotive Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ shall be conspicuously and legibly affixed thereon.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The five summonses were by consent heard together. The facts proved are set out in the judgment. The question for the Court was whether the machine was a locomotive within all or any of the sections referred to.
June 20. Mellor, Q.C. (Channell, with him), for the appellant. The machine was invented after, and was clearly not contemplated by, the Locomotives Acts, 1861, 1865, and 1878. Those Acts dealt with heavy machines drawing waggons, steam rollers, and the like; such locomotives emit smoke to the annoyance of passengers, or injure roads by their weight: s. 8 of the Act of 1861, and s. 28 of the Act of 1878. The legislature could not have intended that a tricycle should be preceded by a man with a red flag. The definition of Ã¢â‚¬Å“locomotiveÃ¢â‚¬Â in s. 38 of the Act of
1878 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Ã¢â‚¬Å“any locomotive propelled by steam or by other than animal powerÃ¢â‚¬Â Ã¢â‚¬â€œ must be read with reference to the then state of knowledge. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Propelled by steamÃ¢â‚¬Â means by steam only, and not (as here) by steam as an auxiliary. If taken literally that definition would include a clockwork engine. In Taylor v. Goodwin n(1) a bicycle was held to be a Ã¢â‚¬Å“carriageÃ¢â‚¬Â within 5 & 6 Wm. 4, c. 50, s. 78, because the case came within the mischief of that Act, but here it is not so. In Williams v. Ellis n(2) a bicycle was held not to be a carriage. If this tricycle is a nuisance it can be stopped at common law or under the Locomotives Acts.
Leese, for the respondent was not heard.
Cur. adv. vult.
July 4. The judgment of the Court (
PANEL: Lord Coleridge, C.J., Pollock, B., and Manisty, J
JUDGMENTBY-1: Lord Coleridge, C.J.
Lord Coleridge, C.J.: ,
JUDGMENTBY-2: Pollock, B.
Pollock, B.: , and
JUDGMENTBY-3: Manisty, J.
Manisty, J.: ) was read n(3) by
JUDGMENTBY-4: LORD COLERIDGE, C.J.
LORD COLERIDGE, C.J.: This is an appeal against the conviction of the appellant by a metropolitan police magistrate under five summonses, whereby the appellant was charged with using a certain locomotive propelled by steam, being a motor tricycle, upon a public highway, without observing the conditions prescribed by s. 3 of the Locomotives Act, 1865 (28 & 29 Vict. c. 83), and s. 29 of the Amending Act of 1878 (41 & 42 Vict. c. 77), and by other enactments. It was admitted before the magistrate and before us, that those conditions had not been observed; and the only question raised for our opinion is whether the machine in question was rightly held by the magistrate to be a locomotive within the meaning of these sections. The first of these provides that Ã¢â‚¬Å“every locomotive propelled by steam or any other than animal power on any turnpike road or public highway, shall be workedÃ¢â‚¬Â according to certain rules and regulations thereinafter contained. Sect. 29 of the second Act repeals a portion of s. 3 of the first Act, and substitutes another regulation to be observed while the locomotive is in motion, but by s. 38 the word Ã¢â‚¬Å“locomotiveÃ¢â‚¬Â is again defined as meaning Ã¢â‚¬Å“any locomotive propelled by steam or by any other than animal power.Ã¢â‚¬Â The tricycle in question is described in paragraph 8 of the case before us, wherein the evidence of the respondent is set out. He says that he Ã¢â‚¬Å“saw propelled in the public highway, at the rate of about five miles an hour, a tricycle on which was sitting a man working treadles with his feet in the manner in which tricycles are usually propelled. He noticed some metal boxes under the seat of the vehicle, but when the vehicle passed him he saw no sign of steam and heard no noise. The metal cases contained a small steam engine and boiler and a condensing apparatus, and he saw that the steam was up on the occasion.Ã¢â‚¬Â
On the part of the appellant, Mr. Bateman, an engineer and machinist, was called as a witness. He described the machine as being like an ordinary tricycle, and capable of propulsion in the ordinary way by the feet of the rider, but with auxiliary steam power to assist the rider, which steam power was, however, sufficiently powerful to move the vehicle if desired without the foot motion. In a metal case (size about two feet by two feet by nine inches) placed below the level of the seat and near the feet of the rider is a small copper tubular boiler and an engine. The fuel used is gas evolved from methylated spirit or mineral oil, in the same manner as in the contrivance known as the Whitechapel lamp. There is therefore no smoke, and the exhaust steam instead of being blown off into the atmosphere, producing the puffing noise common to locomotives, is discharged into a coiled pipe in another metal case behind the riderÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s seat, and is there condensed and returned by a small pump to the boiler as hot water, thus at once economising water and fuel and preventing escape of steam into the atmosphere. The power of the engine was about one horse power indicated, and it was capable of driving the vehicle on a level road at a rate of nearly ten miles an hour, but not more. When the vehicle was so driven there was nothing to indicate that it was being worked by steam power, and nothing which could frighten horses or cause danger to the public using the highway beyond any ordinary tricycle.
The weight of the machine was proved to be about two hundred-weight, and the tires of the wheels about an inch and a half in width being similar to bicycle wheels, but somewhat stouter and stronger. The tires being of indiarubber no injury would be done to the surface of the road by working the machine on it.
It was further proved that the machine was fitted with a brake sufficiently powerful to stop the machine in a very few yards against the power of the steam even if it continued working. This was effected by the brake having a powerful leverage, so that a force far less than the force of the steam applied to the brake would nevertheless stop the machine. The brake is also fitted with an automatic action, by which when the weight of the rider is off the seat, the seat rises and thereby applies the brake, so that when there is no person sitting on the seat the brake is applied and prevents the machine moving. The machine is guided by a handle, and can be turned completely round in twice its own length. The boiler is tested to bear a pressure of 700 lbs., and it is habitually worked with a pressure of about 150 lbs. Even if the boiler did burst, being tubular and of copper, the only result would be a rent in one of the tubes, and there would be no explosion.
In answer to questions put to him on behalf of the appellant, Mr. Bateman explained that the principle of the invention was capable of extension to larger carriages, but that the use of indiarubber tires practically limited the weight to something not greatly exceeding the weight of this particular machine, and also that the fuel used could not be used economically to obtain very much greater power than was obtained.
It seems scarcely necessary to do more than to read this description, in order to shew that the tricycle in question comes within the words of the above statutes as being Ã¢â‚¬Å“a locomotive propelled by steam, or any other than animal power.Ã¢â‚¬Â It cannot be less within this description because it is capable of propulsion in the ordinary way by the foot of the rider, it being expressly found in the case that the steam power was sufficiently powerful to move it if desired without the foot motion. It was argued however, on behalf of the appellant, that such a machine could not have been within the contemplation of the framers of the statutes in question, which apparently were intended to be directed against the use of locomotives larger in size and heavier in weight, and therefore more dangerous to persons using the public highway, than the locomotive in question. It is probable that the statute in question were not pointed against the specific form of locomotive which is described in this case. Indeed, such a locomotive was not known when they were passed, and possibly not contemplated. As, however, it comes within the very words of the statutes, it
seems to us that we cannot upon any true ground of construction exclude it from their operation; and it may be observed that even if the fullest scope be given to this argument, Mr. BatemanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s explanation that the principle of the invention was capable of extension to larger carriages, would shew that a locomotive similar in construction and principle to that which is the subject-matter of this case might by reason of its size and power become much more dangerous; and if this be so, the question to be considered in each case would not be whether the locomotive in question properly came within the language of the statutes; but whether, by reason of the size or weight of the particular machine, it came within the mischief supposed to be contemplated, which shews that such an argument is vicious.
Two cases were cited by counsel for the appellant; but, in truth, they have no bearing upon the present case. The first was that of Taylor v. Goodwin n(1) , in which it was held by this Court that a person riding upon a bicycle on a highway at such a pace as to endanger the life or limb of passengers may be convicted of furiously driving a carriage under the provision of the Highway Act (5 & 6 Wm. 4, c. 50, s. 78). The argument in that case turned wholly upon the meaning of the word Ã¢â‚¬Å“carriageÃ¢â‚¬Â in that Act, and it gives us no assistance. The second case was that of Williams v. Ellis. n(2) In this case, where a local Turnpike Act imposed a toll upon every horse, mule, or other beast, drawing any coach, sociable, chariot, berlin, &c., it was held that a bicycle was not a carriage liable to toll under the Act. This case was decided upon the ground that the carriages referred to in the statute must be carriages ejusdem generis with the carriages previously specified. This does not appear to us to have any material bearing upon the question now before us.
We think that the decision of the magistrate was correct, and that the conviction should stand with costs.
Solicitors for appellant: Milne, Riddle, & Mellor.
Solicitors for respondent: Gregory, Rowcliffe, & Co.
n(1) 4 Q. B. D. 228.
n(2) 5 Q. B. D. 175.
J. M. M.
Lock wrote:Circa 1890 electric:
blueb0ttle2 wrote:I thought of building something like this just for lols.
Lock wrote:`Case yer wondering Loser Boy Parkyns couldn't afford a good lawyer apparently...
THE STEAM VELOCIPEDE.
The steam tricycle shown in the accompanying engraving, which wc borrow from La Nature, was invented and constructed by Sir Thomas Parkyns, who called it "The Baronet." The apparatus consisted of an ordinary tricycle, to which was adapted a small tubular boiler placed horizontally a little to the rear of the seat, between the two large wheels, and which was heated with petroleum; of a water reservoir, which served at the same time for condensation, by means of a worm; and of a cylinder with truck actuating three gearings, which, in controlling one another, gave motion to the wheels of the tricycle. The apparatus was arranged so as to be actuated with the feet alone, with the engine alone, or by the combined action of the feet and engine. Moreover, it required the action of the feet to start the tricycle going.
Messrs. Bateman & Co., of Greenwich, who were commissioned by Sir Thomas Parkyns to construct his steam tricycle for sale, have been obliged to modify the whole structure of it before offering it to the public; for the inventor, although he possessed excellent ideas and knew how to apply them, was lacking in the special knowledge necessary for the construction of a machine practically adapted for working.
These engineers began by studying the steam tricycle very closely, and, by modifying the form of certain parts and strengthening them, and by replacing the horizontal boiler with a recently invented very powerful rotary motor, they hope in about six months to be able to offer the trade a steam tricycle which shall be perfectly irreproachable as to construction, security, and speed.
Sir Thomas Parkyns' velocipede could scarcely exceed a speed of seven to nine miles an hour, but the new manufacturers desire to make it attain a speed of thirteen miles, and to thus give it the power of ascending declivities of a certain grade, so that it will not bo necessary to combine the action of the feet with that of steam. They will retain the mode of heating by petroleum, as this has the advantage of giving a fire easy to keep up, of giving out no smoke, and of permitting a large amount of fuel to be carried within little space.
Messrs. Bateman & Co. would have carried their studies of the new steam tricycle much further ere this had they not been overburdened with urgent work, and especially had there not been a law in England forbidding the use of any steam motor on the streets unless it was preceded by a person on foot and ran at a maximum speed of three miles per hour.
The inventor hopes, however, before long to obtain permission for the steam tricycle to run without restriction, seeing that it emits no smoke, gives off no steam (owing to its condenser), will make but little noise, and will have the appearance of one of those ordinary tricycles that are met with in so great number in the streets of London.
"This invention relates to a new vehicle, which is to be propelled by the upper or lower extremities of the person or persons which it supports, and which is provided with a fly-wheel in such a manner that the same may at will be thrown into or out of gear. This fly-wheel will gather power in going down-hill, and will then give it up in going up-hill, tliereby facilitating the ascending of hills, and preventing too great rapidity while going down-hill.
" The invention consists in the general combination of parts, whereby two persons may be accommodated on the vehicle, and also in the aforementioned arrangement of the fly-wheel.
" When the fly-wheel is thrown into gear, as afore-said, it will serve to gather power, to facilitate the riding up-hill, and to steady the motion down-hill.
" 2. The fly-wheel K, mounted on a separate shaft, J, the sliding pinion f, in combination with the lever g, substantially as herein shown and described, for the purpose specified.
"The above specification of my invention signed by me, this ninth day of June, 1869.
" Simon Wortmann."
" To all whom it may concern :
"Be it known that I, F. H. C. Mey, of Buffalo, in the county of Erie and State of New York, have invented a new and improved Dog-Power Vehicle.
" This invention relates to vehicles which move from place to place on roads, pavements, etc., and consists in an improved construction thereof.
" A is the driving-wheel, which in this instance is in the front of a vehicle having three wheels, but may be in the rear, if preferred, or in any other location.
"The animals being placed in this tread-rim, as represented in Fig. 2, and caused to work, will impart motion to the wheel and to the vehicle, as will be clearly understood.
" Having thus described my invention,
" I claim as new, and desire to secure by Letters Patent,-
" The combination of wheel ABC with a pair of wheels and body to form the running-gear of a vehicle, in the manner shown and described.
F. H. C. Mey.''
" To all whom it may concern :
" Be it known that I, John Otto Lose, a subject of the Emperor of Germany, residing at Paterson, in the county of Passaic and State of New Jersey, have invented certain new and useful Improvements in One-Wheeled Vehicles.
" My invention relates to a unicycle or one-wheeled vehicle, without spokes, which will carry one or more persons, as well as a bicycle or tricycle, and which is operated from within, carries the passenger inside, and only one wheel touching the ground. I attain these objects by the means of the devices illustrated in the accompanying drawings,
" When the machine is not in operation, it will stand by itself, for the treadle and driving wheels being heavier than the idler-wheel H, H will rise and the front part of platform will drop, and the treadle-wheels will rest on the ground."
" I may operate my unicycle by either clock-work or steam, instead of foot-power.
"A small boiler may be placed under the platform 0, with steam-pipe to convey the steam to the inner rim of the large wheel."
WhatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s made of bicycle parts, weighs 350 pounds, and is self-propelled? Not your typical 1880s vehicle. Before George Long, a carpenter in Northfield, Massachusetts, built this one-of-a-kind experiment, he and other inventors built heavy, steam-powered wagons. So why switch to thin, spidery body materials? Long borrowed technologies developed for the high-wheel bicycle craze, which was just taking off. Bicycles were lightweight; for LongÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s three-wheel wonder, a tubular steel frame and spoke wheels meant a better power-to-weight ratio and easier travel on rough dirt roads. Adult-size tricycles were safer, more comfortable, and easier to mount than high-wheel bicycles, so LongÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s vehicle pointed the way toward practical, powered road transportation.
Unfortunately, LongÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s horse-owning neighbors didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t appreciate his meanderings in the strange contraption, and Long dismantled it. He received a patent in 1883, and although the steam tricycle never entered production, Long, who lived until 1952, was celebrated as an American automobile pioneer. John Bacon, a steam vehicle collector and historian, reassembled the Long steam tricycle and placed it in the Smithsonian. Today it is a treasured time machine from an era when Americans conceived of alternatives to trains and horses.
Roger White is Associate Curator in the Division of Work and Industry at the National Museum of American History.
Its final fate is a curious comment on the temper of the times. After several successful trips had been made on the Scottish railways, and the machine was finally being taken home to Aberdeen, it was found in the engine house in Perth one morning broken by some malicious hands almost beyond repair. There was a strong feeling among the railway engineers that the "Galvani" was destined to supersede the machines with which they were familiar, and the evidence pointed to this as the reason for its destruction.
Sir David Lionel Goldsmid-Stern-Salomons, 2nd Baronet (born January 28, 1851 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 19 April 1925) was a scientific author and barrister.
LIKE A HORSELESS CARRIAGE
The earliest motor car wasn't so much a car, more a landau with the horse removed. A hundred years ago five such models gathered at the first Motor Show in Tunbridge Wells. Jonathan Sale looks back
Sunday, 28 April 1996
Motoring is in fact rather more than 100 years old. Britain's first motor show, or "Horseless Carriage Exhibition", took place in the autumn of 1895. Instead of the 600 cars expected on this year's London-Brighton run, five vehicles, including a fire engine, rolled up at the Agricultural Show Ground in Tunbridge Wells. While one of the vehicles seen at the 1995 Motor Show, the Thrust SSC, can break the sound barrier, the horseless carriages in 1895 could break the speed limit only because it then stood at 4mph.
"We would today call it a display," explains Malcom Jeal, Veteran Car Club historian, "rather than a show of cars on stands. They drove the vehicles round the field and then had a run up the road - at more than 4mph, but the police didn't mind."
This was England's answer to the Paris motor show held in the Champs Elysees during December 1894; entitled Exposition Internationale de Velocipedie et de Locomotion Automobile, it worked out at practically one word in the title for each of the nine vehicles.
Why did Tunbridge Wells find itself the home of state-of-the-art motoring? The answer is that its mayor, Sir David Salomons, was a wealthy polymath who used his fortune in the service of technology. The grounds of Broomhill, his nearby estate, contained a private observatory. His electric lighting installation cost over pounds 10,000. The owner of elegant horse-carriages, he hoped that the new horseless variety would free the poor creatures from the drudgery of having to pull people over the public highways.
"I am deeply interested in our English manufacturers producing a carriage which shall eclipse all others," he is quoted as saying in The Sketch, a copy of which magazine survives in the Tunbridge Wells Museum. He must be revolving in his grave now. Ironically, the car which he himself exhibited was produced by Messrs Peugeot of Paris.
Like most 1895 vehicles, the pounds 270 model was designed after the fashion of the means of transport it was replacing; it resembled a horse-drawn carriage from which the horse had been removed. Early in that century, Jane Austen's heroines would not have looked out of place in this morocco- leather-finished automobile, except that they would not have had to put up with the primitive petrol engine thudding away out of sight at the back. With its detachable hood, it would count today as a convertible but was described then as a "vis-a-vis", which meant that its occupants faced each other: the two passengers at the front travelled backwards and Salomons, steering from a slightly raised seat at the rear of the vehicle, peered between them at the road ahead.
This was, apparently, a much safer arrangement than it sounds and the three-and-a-quarter horsepower engine gave an average speed of a modest 8mph; even with the driver's welly hard down, the maximum was only 15mph. There was petrol in the tank for up to 200 miles - not that anyone would have casually undertaken so ambitious a journey.
It was only three months since the Hon Evelyn Ellis made the first drive of any length in Britain; accompanied by Frederick Simms, he made a 56- mile trek from Hampshire to Buckinghamshire. The actual vehicle he drove was also in the Tunbridge Wells show, according to Malcolm Jeal (though the motoring correspondent of The Sketch did not mention this feat of endurance). Now in the Science Museum, it was a Panhard et Levassor left- hand-drive model with, like most of the five vehicles on display, a Daimler engine made under licence.
Ellis, the first Englishman to pass the driving test (he took it in Paris 40 years before it was introduced here) was also the owner of another exhibit, the fire engine. Lacking as it did any ladders, it was really a mobile pump and better suited to watering the croquet lawn than fighting any major conflagrations.
The other two exhibits were not cars at all. The motorised tricycle, made by Count de Dion and Georges Bouton, carried sufficient fuel for a six-hour run and could touch 14mph with the wind behind - on the level. Up hills, though, the rider had to puff away at the pedals.
The final exhibit was a "steam horse", a sort of tiny railway engine without the rails. It was attached to a landau (a four-wheeled, horse- drawn carriage) which it pulled like a tug with a liner. "It gave forth a good deal of steam and smoke at times, snorted noisily, and dropped burning cinders," observed The Sketch.
The idea of a plug-on car to upgrade a carriage never caught on. Motor shows, however, did. Later that year the Stanley Cycle Show included Ellis's Panhard and four other motor vehicles of one sort or another; it was held under cover, in the Agricultural Hall, London. In May 1896 the first trade show took place at the Imperial Institute, also in London; proudly entitled "the International Horseless Carriage Exhibition", it featured ten different makes of cars and motorcycles. By the turn of the century there were at least three annual shows in the London area alone.
Sir David Salomons proved a trendsetter once again in setting up the Self Propelled Traffic Association, a group of motoring enthusiasts dedicated to the scrapping of the 4mph speed limit (2mph in towns) and the red flag which had to be carried by a man walking in front of every automobile. After their inaugural meeting in December 1895, the self-propelled folk lobbied hard, sending out 56,000 campaigning letters - without the benefit of word processors to churn them out automatically.
It worked. In November 1896 the oddly named Locomotives on Highways Act (alias the Red Flag Act) was shunted into a siding and the limit raised to a soaraway 14mph. They promptly celebrated by holding the first London- Brighton run, which began with a ceremonial tearing up of the red flag. The Association then cruised gently to a halt and soon amalgamated with the Automobile Club of Great Britain, newly formed by Frederick Simms, which later was born again as the Royal Automobile Club or RAC.
The Automobile Association had its jump-start in 1905, evolving from one of the cycle patrols set up to warn turn-of-the-century tearaways of police speed traps. Charles Jarrott, a Panhard importer, organised a team of crack pedallers but later channelled his energies into rather more legal activities, becoming the leading light of the AA's first committee.
The pioneer motorists needed all the back-up they could get. Around the time of the first motor show, a Mr Koosen of Southsea had problems starting his brand-new motor. Following the instruction manual - in fact, a short letter from the manufacturers - he rotated the flywheel. The engine failed to roar into life. He summoned local engineers but none could locate the fault. After ten days of immobility, someone suggested that there was supposed to be a magic liquid you poured into the tank ... could it be petrol?
Sir David Salomon's far-sightedness went beyond the mere mechanics under the bonnet. He was the patron not just of motor shows but also of electric-powered vehicles. He regretted that the existing batteries were too heavy and too weak.
"However," he explained, "I am making experiments, and hope before long to overcome these difficulties, and to place an electric carriage on the road that will prove completely efficient." Motoring at the end of the nineteenth century would thus experience "a bloodless revolution", he declared. Unfortunately, at the end of the twentieth century we are still waiting.
D.L. Salomons first built his own tricycle in 1874. It was powered by an enormous battery but Ã¢â‚¬Ëœdamage to clothes necessitated it being given up'.
18 January 2011
Segway motor scooter rider loses legal challenge
A man has become the first person in the UK to be successfully prosecuted for riding a Segway scooter on a pavement.
Philip Coates, 51, used his Segway motor scooter to travel from his home in Cudworth to Barnsley.
His lawyer had challenged the prosecution's definition of the Segway as a motor vehicle after he was charged under the Highways Act 1865.
But a judge fined Mr Coates Â£75 and ordered him to pay Â£250 in costs.
At Barnsley Magistrates' Court on Tuesday District Judge Michael Rosenberg ruled that the Segway was a motor vehicle under the meaning of the law and, therefore, it was an offence to ride one on the pavement.
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