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British Industrial History

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1902 Cycle Shows (Stanley and National)

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See also 1902 Cycle Show (Stanley).


THE two annual cycle shows - the Stanley and the National — have usually some marked characteristic in common. This year the predominant feature is the same which called for remark last year, but is more emphasised. It is the application of the petrol motor to the bicycle, a combination which, although it does not meet with unmixed approval, has evidently "come to stay."

Ten years ago such a wide application of the internal combustion engine would scarcely have been anticipated. We have had the "free wheel" year, the spring frame year, and in smaller degree the "chainless" year. Of these devices, only the free wheel has left a definite impression, and except for racing purposes scarcely any bicycles are now built without this labour-saving device. In addition to the motor bicycle variable speed gears seem to be receiving a good deal of attention, and there is much to be said in favour of the movement.

The Stanley Show at the Agricultural Hall, Islington, this year reaches its twenty-sixth anniversary, and shows small signs of waning interest. If the number of cycles is fewer than on some occasions the reason is not far to seek. It is owing to the perceptible thinning which has taken place in the ranks of the larger makers, many of whom have obtained the seclusion which is derived from "winding up" orders. Quality of material and workmanship have happily not suffered with the general fall in prices, which reached their lowest limits a year or two ago.

In the application of the petrol engine to the bicycle it is satisfactory to note a marked Improvement in the design of the vehicle itself, whereby greater homogeneity of the whole is produced. Last year we remarked upon the tendency of the builders to clamp the motor to some convenient tube, irrespective of its sufficiency of strength to withstand the extra stress involved, or of the correct application of the power to the road wheels. The motor is now considered in designing the frame of the machine, which is built to fit it. There is, however, not much that calls for notice in the motor bicycle. The driven front wheel has rightly disappeared, and for driving the tendency seems to be in favour of a three-ply V-shaped leather belt, which runs on pulleys having a correspondingly shaped groove. The belt is riveted at short intervals with copper pills to prevent, or rather minimise, stretching.

The Singer Cycle Company, Limited, shows, amongst other exhibits at the Crystal Palace, a new type of chain-driven motor bicycle. The spokes on one side of the rear wheel are entirely dispensed with, leaving the engine easily accessible. The engine pinion drives a larger wheel on a hollow axle, which serves as a countershaft running through the bottom bracket; at the other end of this shaft another chain pinion drives back to the road wheel. The hollow shaft referred to is mounted upon roller bearings, through which the crank axle proper passes, and is provided with a gear on the crypto principle for pedalling purposes. To reduce the stress upon the chain caused by the impulses of the engine a spring buffer chain wheel is fitted to the road wheel. The machine has a free engine for coasting or wheeling. By removing one chain the engine is entirely disconnected for pedalling. A special form of carburetter is used, which is fed direct from the tank carried on the frame.

The Singer Company uses a novel kind of finish on its machines, consisting of a mixture of aluminium and celluloid painted and stoved at a low heat, It is claimed that this mixture neither cracks nor scratches.

The Whippet Motor and Cycle Manufacturing Company, Clapham Junction, exhibits at the Palace its two-speed gear applied to the safety bicycle. There are two chain wheels on the back hub, and the chain, of peculiar design, can removed from one to the other at the rider's will by simply moving a small lover whilst riding along. These two chain pinions give the two gears, high and low. The chain always finds its own line on the front sprocket wheel automatically. A small pulley is provided to take up the slack of the chain when on the high gear.

Amongst the novelties at the shows this year, the most remarkable is the Craven cycle, which the inventor claims will revolutionise existing methods of cycle construction. Without going into a full description of the machine, our readers will he able to form some idea of the real value of the invention when it is stated that the "new method of propulsion utilises the weight of rider's body on a moving saddle which rises and falls by means of an excentric operated by the natural (sic) motion of the machine." The inventor does not state that the rider first imparts motion to the bicycle, and therefore raises his own weight before it is utilised.

A new form of three-speed gear contained within the hub of the wheel is shown for the first time at the Stanley Show. It is the joint invention of Messrs. Sturmey and Archer, and is manufactured by the Raleigh Cycle Company, Limited. It consists briefly of a neat system of clutches and epicyclic gearing, operated from the handle-bar by means of a Bowden wire.

The Paradox gear, to which we alluded last year, has been further developed in the meantime. The principle on which this ingenious device is based is one well known in mechanics, viz., that the speed ratio between any two given wheels in gear, no matter how connected, is a simple function of their respective diameters, and not the numbers of teeth which they contain. The inventor has therefore devised a method whereby the circumference of the sprocket wheel can he increased within a fixed limit without increasing the number of teeth, and without disturbing the operation of the chain gearing.

Unlike all other change gears, there is no "switching in," so cessation of the drive while changing, and so no "missing the change." A lever conveniently placed is pressed, the two slotted discs or plates carrying the rim which carries the sprocket wheel teeth are passed a little way over each other, and the rim is enlarged or contracted as the rider wishes, giving the effect as though seven gear wheels were carried, An automatic free wheel is permitted at every gear.

The exhibits of motor cars do not call for much comment. With the exception of those shown by a German firm, the Nurnberger Motorfahrzeuge-Fabrik, there is nothing of particular novelty. In the cars shown by this firm the makers have adapted a pure friction drive, as used in certain machine tools. The petrol motor, placed at the front of the car as usual, has a short shaft running longitudinally with the centre line of the car. On the and of this shaft is placed a large disc, which also acts as a fly-wheel. On the first motion shaft, arranged at right angles to the engine shaft, are placed two friction discs, one of which can be moved along its axle by the driver, so that the speed of the said shaft, and hence that of the car, is regulated according to the distance from the centre of the fly-wheel disc, with which it is caused to frictionally engage. There are no gear wheels except those in the differential box, and it is claimed that the friction drive, while giving the desired elasticity, can be relied upon to propel the carria

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