Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V18, Page 922 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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HEAVY COMMERCIAL VEHICLES Heavy types of motor-cars are now widely employed for commercial purposes. The earliest British-built type was the steam-propelled wagon, and its evolution was largely encouraged and hastened by important competitive trials, at Liverpool, in the years 1898, 1899 and 1901, which were conducted by the Self-Propelled Traffic Association. Other series of trials were held by the Royal Agricultural Society of England and the Royal Automobile Club. From the end of 1896 to early in 1905 no commercial motor vehicle was legal in England if its unladen weight exceeded 3 tons, and this limitation caused much financial loss to purchasers who overloaded them. The Heavy Motor Car Order of 1904, which came into force on the 1st of March 1905, increased the maximum unladen weight to 5 tons, whilst limiting the gross weight to 12 tons; by the same order, the combined unladen weight of a motor wagon and the single trailer which it is allowed to draw was fixed at 61 tons. In effect, the gross weight of a trailer and its load may not exceed 8 tons, thus yielding a total gross weight, for loaded wagon and loaded trailer, of 20 tons. Excesses in any particular cause a commercial motor to be treated as a " heavy locomotive," or traction engine, when its freedom of movement, speed, &c., are restricted more severely. Miniature traction engines, constructed to comply with the requirements of the Motor Car Acts and Orders, have progressed since 1905; they are chiefly used where it is a convenience to separate the power and carrying units, as by furniture-removal and other contractors. The working cost of a steam wagon with a 5-ton load, in Great Britain, inclusive of provision for interest on capital, depreciation and maintenance, varies from 71d. to 9d. per mile Particulars. Net loads carried : Costs in pence per vehicle-mile. (Petrol at Tod. per gall.) to cwt. I ton 2 tons 3 tons 5 tons Average weekly mileage . . 400 400 390 350 300 Driver's wages . . 0.84 0.84 t•oo 1.09 1 60 Fuel (petroleum spirit) 0.55 0.77 0.95 1.25 1.67 Oils and grease 0.12 0.12 0.14 0.16 0.24 Rubber tires 0.50 0.75 1.15 I.50 2.60 Repairs (material and wages) 0.55 0.85 1.03 1.17 1.55 Rent, rates and lighting o• 12 0.15 0.25 0.40 0.50 Insurance and claims . 0.12 0.24 0.35 0.42 0.65 Depreciation 0.65 0.90 1.06 1.36 I.6o Interest on capital. 0.15 0.25 0.33 0.47 0.64 Totals 3.6o 4.87 6.26 7.82 II.05 has a virtual monopoly of use in England; above that, it shares the trade with steam. A tabular statement of current working costs of approved petrol vehicles is published herewith. Before proceeding to describe and illustrate representative types of vehicles, tractors and special machines, a brief summary of the outstanding points in the English statutes and orders which apply to heavy motor-cars may well be given. Any motor-car with an unladen weight in excess of 2 tons is held to be a " heavy motor-car," and a " trailer " means a vehicle drawn by a heavy motor-car. The expression " axle weight " means the aggregate weight transmitted to the surface of the road or other base whereon the heavy motor-car or the trailer moves or rests by the several wheels attached to that axle when the heavy motor-car or trailer is loaded. The expression " weight," in relation to a heavy motor-car or trailer when unladen, means the weight exclusive of the weight of any water, fuel or accumulators used for the purpose of propulsion. All hea' y motor-cars have to be registered with a county council, cow ty borough, or other registering authority, and owners haw to declare, on suitable forms, the unladen weight, the axle w Ight of each axle, and the diameter of each wheel. When a i . gistration certificate is issued it bears these data, in additi' n to a statement of the width and the material of the tyre on each wheel, and the highest rate of speed at which the heavy motor-car may be driven. The owner, after registration, must cause to be painted, or otherwise plainly marked, upon some conspicuous part of the offside of the heavy motor-car, the registered weight unladen, and the registered axle weight of each axle, whilst, upon the near side of the heavy motor-car, he must similarly cause to be painted the highest rate of speed at which it may travel. Width of tires, which in no case may be less than 5 in., varies in relation to imposed load and wheel diameter, and a table of these is issued by the Iocal government board. It is specified that " the width shall not be less than that 922 number of half-inches which is equal to the number of units of registered axle weight of the axle to which the wheel is attached." Taking a wheel 3 ft. in diameter as a basis, the unit of registered axle weight is 71 cwt.: this unit increases in the proportion of 1 cwt. per 12 in. increase of diameter, and decreases at the rate of 1 cwt. for every 6 in. reduction in diameter below 3 ft. The speeds at which heavy motor-cars may travel vary from 5 M. an hour to 12 M. an hour. Heavy motor-cars fitted with tires of a soft or elastic material may travel at higher rates of speed than if they were not so fitted. Any motor-car used for trade purposes, but whose unladen weight does not exceed 2 tons, is allowed to travel as fast as 20 M. an hour, and is regarded as an ordinary motor-car. Motor-buses.—The first double-deck motor-bus, of the type of which upwards of r000 are in regular service in London, was licensed by the police authorities in September of 1904. The type of chassis employed is practically identical with those used for loads of 3 tons in the goods-haulage branches of the industry, and the accompanying chart, which is prepared from Number of London Motorbuses "'in Commission: data exclusively collected by the Commercial Motor (London), indicates the growth in the totals since the inception of this departure in the public conveyance of passengers. The growth of motor-bus traffic has resulted in the displacement of some 25,000 horses and 2200 horse omnibuses, during the five years ending the 3oth of June 1910, and it is estimated that there will be practically no horse omnibuses in London, except upon a few suburban routes, by the end of 1911. The inclusive working cost of a London motor-bus, with good management, varies [HEAVY between 9d. and rod. per mile, which figures cover interest, depreciation and administration. Successful provincial motor-bus undertakings, in the United Kingdom, are numerous, and those at Eastbourne, Keighley and Hull may be particularly mentioned of municipal under-takings, whilst the Great Western Railway Company alone has 130 such vehicles at work. Motor-cabs.—Spasmodic efforts to introduce motor-cabs in London were made during the years 1905 and 1906. It was, however, only in the month of March 1907 that the General Motor-cab Company put the first ioo vehicles of its present large fleet into regular service. The growth of motor-cabs is indicated by the following numbers, for which the author is indebted to the Commercial Motor (London), and these are of vehicles licensed at the dates given: December 31, 1905, 19; December 31, 1906, 96; December 31, 1907, 723; December 31, 1908, 2805; April 30, 1909, 3203; April 30, 1910, 4941. It is estimated that, at the 3oth of June 1910, there are only I200 horse-drawn hansoms in regular use, and not more than 2500 horse-drawn four-wheelers, in London. In 1904 London had a total of 11,055 horse-drawn hackney carriages, and two self-propelled hackney carriages. The London hiring rate for motor-cabs fitted with taximeters is: for the first mile or part thereof, 8d., subject to an additional charge at the rate of 2d. per 22 minutes for any waiting time or travelling below the rate of 6 m. per hour; 2d. per additional 440 yds., or 22 minutes of waiting or of travel-ling below 6 m. an hour; with the addition of 2d. per package for any package carried outside, and 6d. for a bicycle and 6d. each for each passenger above two, for any distance. The horse-drawn hansom-cab is rs. for the first 2 m., with 6d. for each additional mile or part of a mile, and with a charge of 8d. per 15 minutes of waiting, after the first 15 minutes completed. Taximeter cabs cannot be engaged by time in London, but horse-drawn cabs may be so engaged at 2S. 6d. per hour for a hansom, and at 2s. per hour for a four-wheeler. The taxicab rates apply throughout the Metropolitan Police area, which in some directions extends as far as 20 M. from Charing Cross, but horse-vehicle rates (except those of time) are doubled for any distance beyond a four-mile radius. Steam Vehicles.—Steam wagons may, generally speaking, now be divided into three distinct types, and these are distinguished chiefly by the particular form of final drive adopted by the designer. 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