Balancing act

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Sir,
I refer to the question you pose in your June issue under “The Things They Say…” regarding a balancing act mentioned in “Rolls on the Rocks”. For the method to balance a brimful glass of water on the bonnet of a Silver Ghost I would direct you to Mr. C. W. Morton’s most interesting book, “The History of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars”.

Mr. Morton takes an extract from The Autocar of February 9th, 1907, which describes how one side of the bonnet “was raised so as to make a level table”. It appears that a plank was then laid on the bonnet and three glasses of different coloured water placed on the plank. The engine was then run for four minutes at 1,150 r.p.m. (the equivalent of about 50 m.p.h. in 4th gear) while a photograph was taken on a prolonged exposure. This later showed “by the sharpness of the outlines of the tumblers that vibration was practically absent”.

Perhaps this is one Rolls-Royce myth which is founded on fact.

M.J. Potts.
Harrow, Middlesex.