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Triplex History. I IDDEN away amongst the multitude of wordy clauses in the much-discussed Regulations concerning the Construction and Use of Motor
Vehicles, issued in January, is one which makes safetyglass compulsory. Motorists may be forgiven if they have not noticed
the clause, because for several years now Triplex has been a commonplace on private cars and to-day the phrase “Triplex all round “is a sine qua non of even the cheapest motorcar specification.
The story behind this state of affairs is an exceptionally interesting one. It was in 1912 that Mr. Reginald Delpech introduced safety-glass to this country and founded the Triplex.Safety Glass Company. Then came the War, and the demand for Triplex for
the Navy, Army, Air Force and even ammunition factories, was enormous. By 1918 the output had risen to an annual rate of approximately 120,000 square feet, but after the Armistice it naturally declined. The growth of the closed type of car augured well for the future, but recovery was confessedly slow. Then, on March 31st, 1927, Mr. Henry Ford had a motor accident. Mr. Delpech cabled him in hospital, as follows : “Regret to hear of your accident. Trust you have not been cut by broken glass. Fit Triplex and be safe.” Now, Mr. Henry Ford has never been slow to appre
ciate the possibilities of a new proposition. Seven months later he signed a contract for the standardisation of Triplex on all Ford cars in America. Within a few months it was obtainable as a standard extra on many of the more important British makes. The tide had turned. Other manufacturers followed suit, and the result
was soon such a demand for Triplex that the old works at Willesden were unable to cope with it and great new works at King’s Norton were purchased and equipped. To-day there is hardly a make of car on the market that has not “Triplex all round” in the standard specification. In 1930 the output was approximately 2,000,000 square feet.
The purpose of the mascot has changed since the days of the Pagan, when its sole value was to be found in its protective qualities against impending misfortune. Now, while some of us still fill our waistcoat pockets with beans, brass buttons and bones, the adornments which grace our radiator caps are there, not as a result of superstition, but to finish off the car’s appearance.
This mascot business is on the increase, and it is the exception rather than the rule to find a car without some sort of decorative figure on the ” rad.” Amongst those which seem to be extremely popular are the ” Red-Ashay ” mascots, which are moulded in specially hardened glass. I recently inspected a number of these, and I must say that here the art of the designer and the skill of the experienced glass worker have combined to produce an accessory of real attraction and distinction. This is added to by a system of internal illumination ; and an elaboration of the idea has just
been introduced by the makers (Messrs. H. G. Ascher, Ltd., of 40-44, Holborn Viaduct, London, E.C.1.) in which the different coloured lights are changed constantly by the use of an airscrew which, when turning through the motion of the car, rotates a distributor. The effect at night is, of course, most striking.