No. 2. Professor A. M. Low
Those whose eminence entitles them to a place amongst motoring celebrities, or to whom the title of motoring sportsmen may be applied, consist by no means only of people who actually race or drive in competitions.
There are some whose technical or administrative ability affords them ample scope for sportsmanship in the highest sense of the term, and without whose enthusiasm in less exciting fields than actual competition driving, the whole movement would be the poorer. Such a one is Professor A. M. Low, a personality whose name is now familiar to the great majority of British motorists.
I know so much about Professor Low that I hesitate what to say about him. (” No,” as a certain famous comedian might remark, “this is not intended to be rude “). What I mean is that the Professor has done so much and has so many interests that in endeavouring to review his activities, these simply tumble about .one. Shall one write of him as a wireless expert, a television specialist, an evolver of weird measuring instruments, a forecaster of matrimonial order in the year 2024, or merely as a motorist?
Obviously the last association has the prior claim upon the interests of my present readers, although it is a pretty big merely that must qualify the motoring associations of the worthy Doctor ! Actually, of course, Professor Low is first and foremost a scientist. That he has applied quite a lot of his scientific knowledge to the improvement of motoring is a fact of which all motorists should be glad.
Realising that the scientist (like the more humble journalist), must specialise if he is to make real headway, he has devoted years of his life to making motor vehicles more efficient and motoring more useful and pleasant. Exactly how he has done this would take many pages of the BROOKLANDS GAZETTE to tell, and remembering the uses of that :blue pencil which I wield against unoffending contnbutors so remorselessly, I must resist the inclination to write at length about those Low inventions Which have already made we motorists more happy people.
Those whose interests lie chiefly in the competition sides of motoring will mostly be already familiar with them. The audiometer, that ingenious measurer of sound (whose efficiency I once had the pleasure of demonstrating to the Bromley Bench), the various appliances to record springing effect, that efficient dissolved acetylene plant, the ” wireless ” apparatus that causes one’s garage door to open at a shout or the switching on of one’s headlights, and various other highly practical devices.
These are material results of Dr. Low’s labours, they can be seen and handled. Of that wider influence which his work has had upon motor sport and motoring in general, it is not so easy to write. One has to know the man to appreciate how he is for ever scheming here, there and everywhere to make cars and motor cycles a better job, to render the motorist of to-morrow a more satisfied person than the motorist of to-day.
One goes into his office at Victoria Street and falls over a tangle of wires, batteries, and gauges. Emerging from somewhere in the collection, Dr. Low demonstrates how his latest apparatus is revealing the utter inefficiency of that pet car which one had thought the last word in revs., braking, or suspension !
He is always doing something like this. He does it with a certain wizardly glee, not because he delights in showing our trade friends that their goods are not the goods, but because be realises that there really is still quite a long way to go before cars and motor cycles become perfect. At his laboratory at Feltham and even in his residence at Bedford Park, much the same thing happens.
He is constantly pulling down castles that more worthy ones may be raised. I do not suggest that every experiment Professor Low does bears fruit for we motorists—as a true scientist, to say nothing of a modest sportsman, he would be the last to claim this himself. But he has, I think, the spirit of the true investigator, and coupled to a very sound application of scientific knowledge, this has led him to be substantially helpful to many car and motor cycle designers and manufacturers.
During the war (at this anniversary period perhaps one may appropriately recall such things) he did much confidential work for the flying services, and was gazetted both as a Lieut.-Commander and a Major. He has written a standard work on two-stroke engines, and important monographs on such subjects as the oscillographic averometer and the photography of sound.
He carried out high speed cinematography for the study of scientific problems over a dozen years ago. Dr. Low’s favourite hobby (apart, I assume, from those things directly comprised by the synonymous word Brooklands !) is the study of atomic motion.
He shares with other scientists (who know not Brooklands) the belief that atomic motion may be responsible for the existence of everything in the world, including life itself. Breaking occasionally into that prophetic licence which is granted to all scientists, he proclaims that as time goes on we shall lose much of the use of our bodies and probably live underground. (What about motoring then, Professor?).
To come back to earth, as it were, I need hardly recall Dr. Low’s long and fruitful work as an administrator on Auto-Cycle Union Committees, his services as a judge on A.C.U trials, and at Brooklands, and his popular presidency of several leading motoring clubs.
Amongst his technical connections are that he is a member of the Institution of Automobile Engineers, Fellow and Vice-President of the Radio Association, Fellow of the Chemical Society, and Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.
Professor Low has Socialistic tendencies, but they are tempered by the excellent record that he seldom attacks anybody. Perhaps the chief point of contention that people in general may find with him is his rooted conviction that ” women never stop to think—because they cannot.”
But no lady motorist, who meets the Professor at Brooklands or elsewhere, need hesitate to ask his advice on the most elementary question concerning the running of her car, for he is certainly amongst the most courteous of men. A keen owner-driver who covers a big mileage each year, the Professor’s present mounts are a 10 h.p. Wolseley light car, a 16-50 h.p. Sunbeam touring car, a 3.5 h.p. two-stroke Dunelt motor cycle, and 1.75 h.p. Excelsior lightweight motor cycle.
O. E. S.