« 이전계속 »
he has 100,000 men in his manufactories, he could not fill his orders in ten-hour days. Many of the makers in this country are also working night and day. The output, however, is behind the demand, and a contract for the early delivery of an automobile can now be sold for a premium. That is particularly the case where the contract calls for the delivery of the carriage in France or England. The public in these countries is more generally interested than it is here at present, and consequently the demand is greater. Moreover, though American manufacturers were slow to go into the business, American designs are recognized as superior. The carriages are neater, lighter, and altogether more ship-shape. Whether they are also faster and stronger is a matter which has not yet been determined; but these qualities are to be tested very soon, as, in the road races between automobiles in France, and in this country too, perhaps, all the various makes
will sooner or later be tested against one another.
The American makers maintain that over our wretched roads the French machines cannot compete against the American, even though they are heavier. They say that, at the great rate of speed used over the splendid French roads, a French automobile on our roads would tear itself to pieces. It seems, on a casual glance, that it is paradoxical to maintain that a heavy French vehicle would be racked to pieces on bad roads, and at the same time that American vehicles must not be much lessened in weight, because of the bad roads. But there is not really a conflict of theory in this position. The vehicles should be neither too heavy nor too light, but just heavy enough to carry the motor itself and the load of passengers without dangerous vibration or overstraining. The American machines generally meet these requirements, and conservative builders :;re not likely to make them lighter until they can drive them with lighter motors. It is the old question of light and heavy bicycles over again. It took several years of experience for the public to realize that the weight of the rider should determine the weight of the bicycle. As the chief motor vehicle builders are also bicycle-makers, this lesson does not have to be learned over again.
As at present constructed, a storage battery for an electric vehicle will weigh from 500 to 1,500 pounds, while the vehicles range in total weight from 900 to 4,000 pounds. It would be a very light motor vehicle, however, that would weigh 900 pounds, and it would be adapted only for a one-passenger carriage. A phaeton built for two persons will have a battery that weighs 900 pounds, and the whole carriage will weigh something like 2,000 pounds. Such a vehicle will have a speed of twentyfive miles an hour, and will climb a hill with a rise of twenty feet in a hundred feet. At top speed, however, such a vehicle would not run more than an hour, as then the storage battery would be exhausted and would need to be recharged or replaced. A careless driver, however, will get much less than the maximum endurance from
such a vehicle. The personal equation enters into motor driving, as into pretty nearly everything else in life. A good driver can get fifty miles a day out oi a horse, where a poor driver would " do up" the animal in twenty-five; a careful man can wear a suit of clothes two years, while his careless brother would be shabby in two months. This matter of care also applies to the wear and tear on the vehicles themselves. It would be quite unsafe to warrant the life of an automobile in the hands of a careless owner or driver. One man will damage his almost inappreciably, another will wear his completely out and get no more use of it. One manufacturer says that his carriage and driving machinery are " fool proof," but I am inclined to believe his assertion merely a picturesque way of saying that he believes it to be very superior in its simplicity of construction and operation. A little while ago a young man in Newport tried to make his automobile show all its paces at once, that is, go forward and backward at the same time. His fate was like to that of the tenderfoot when first introduced to a bucking mustang. The automobile, however, was more broken up than the driver.
The first cost of an electric carriage varies very much. Buggies and runabouts are advertised from $750 to $1,500; phaetons and stanhopes at from $2,000 to $3,000; omnibuses at from $3,000 to $4,000. The first cost, it will be seen, is greater or less than carriages with horses, according to the value of the horses. There is an idea that horses are now going begging in the market, and that fine animals can be purchased for little or nothing. This is very erroneous. A fine horse is as valuable in the market as ever he was; it is only the very common horse that does not command a good price. A man, therefore, can pay as much as he pleases for a good horse, but he cannot get one for a song. If, therefore, a good driving horse is worth $250 and a pair worth $500, we see that a turnout with a horse or a pair of horses does not cost so
very much less than a motor vehicle. The saving is in the keep. A poor horse eats his head off every day, and it costs at least $30 a month to keep and shoe any horse a gentleman would care to drive. The cost of the electricity at a central station for a vehicle that would do the work of two horses, if the horses could work twice as long as is possible, would be only $25 a month. There is where the saving comes in—in the cost of the keep and the amount of work performed. Even when common horses are used and the first cost much reduced, a comparison shows that the electric vehicle is cheaper, though the interest on the investment be computed. A two-horse wagon, with two horses and the harness for them, may be bought for $700; an electric wagon corresponding in carrying capacity may be had for $2,250. Now, to stable, shoe
ALEXANDER WINTO Just before starting on its record trip from Cleveland lo
the horses, and keep the wagon and harness in repair for a year, besides adding the interest on the outlay for such a horse wagon, would amount to about §525. For an electric automobile, where the electricity is purchased at a station, the equivalent cost would be about $425; if the electricity were supplied by a private plant, the cost would be $135. Here is a saving of from twenty to seventy per cent. Figures such as these cannot fail to make those who depend on horse-pulled wagons in their business think seriously. Indeed, many of the stores in New York are adopting motor vehicles for delivery wagons. In these calculations the cost of the driver is not taken into consideration. "Any man with sufficient intelligence to fit him to take charge of a horse can be taught to manage an automobile." This is what the manufacturers say. Far be it from me to indorse the statement; for I am persuaded by long observation that, low though the intelligence of the horse is ranked among domestic animals, quite one-fourth of those in use now do the work and the thinking as well. k The company in New York that oper
ates the electric cabs puts a new man through a course of training before he is intrusted with a cab in the streets. The teacher's cab is very strongly built, with a buffer at each end, so as to lessen the chances of damages either in front or behind. When I saw it, it reminded me of a country exhorter's definition of double entente. "A double entender," he said, without any effort at French pronunciation, " is a mean French thing that goes off in front and kicks in the rear." In this double-ender the instructor, by means of levers, can always take control and so prevent accidents. In France there is a regular training-school for drivers near Paris. On a hillside there are dummy figures to make the course as much like a city street as possible. The driver is considered expert when he can go over the course without toppling over any of these dummy figures. As the law of rightof-way is the same in France for automobiles that it is for ordinary carriages, the dummies on the training course are presumably put there merely to exercise the driver in deftness of guiding, and not \o teach him to respect the lives and limbs of foot-passengers. In this country, however, an automobile driver has no more license to run down a pedestrian than has that of any other vehicle. As most of the vehicles belong to incorporated companies, it is a wise economy to employ only expert drivers, for juries exercise a sympathetic discretion in assessing damages when a corporation is a defendant in a suit at law. And a driver of an electric vehicle has both hands full while both of his feet are employed. With his left hand he manages the power lever, pushing it forward one notch at a time to increase his speed. With his right hand he controls the steering lever. His left heel is on the emergency switch, and his left toes ring the gong. With his right heel he turns the reversing switch, while he can apply the brake with either foot that happens to be disengaged. A man can learn to do all this in a week, big job though it seems. If he has had experience in driving horses in a crowded city, he learns more quickly ; for the automobile requires alertness of eyes, hands, and mind, as well as natural quickness of movement.
As has been suggested, improvements in the future are to be expected in the electric motors, but at this time the gasoline motor, for general use both in the city and country, appears to be the most practical and the most economical. It is lighter and cheaper, and no charging station or charging plant is necessary. Gasoline is cheap and is obtainable everywhere. Gasoline carriages are, however, more subject to vibrations, and the passengers are rarely free from the unpleasant odors of burned gases. The most successful of the French automobiles are of this kind, and the long-distance races on the Continent have generally been won by them. A speed of fifty miles an hour has been maintained for short distances, and thirty miles an hour has been kept up for long distances, but even abroad this is exceptional. Of course such rapid traveling is out of the question in this country in the present condition of our roads. And even in France, where the roads are excellent, and an injured pedestrian is the culprit, such a rate of speed is for sport, and not for business, except