Double Puzzle

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Like any live magazine MOTOR SPORT receives its share of readers’ questions, which we endeavour to answer or refer to other readers. A recent one came from a correspondent in America who knows a lady who possesses a London County Council driving licence issued to a Mr Augustus Leipert in 1904, when the 1903 Motor Car Act was in force, but, more interesting, an Owner’s Certificate for an automobile named as The Ball No 3, issued to the same gentleman rather earlier in 1903, when he was resident in Brooklyn, New York. The certificate was issued by the Office of the Secretary of State, Albany, New York and signed on his behalf, it is No 6690, which may indicate the state of the automotive movement in that State in the summer of 1903. . .

Our correspondent had never heard of a car called the Ball, but reference to the Georgano Encyclopaedia shows it to have been a very luxurious and powerful steam car made by the Miami Cycle and manufacturing Company of Middletown, Ohio, in 1902. Designed by a C A Ball, it is described as one of the most expensive and highly developed steam cars of its time. But here is the double-puzzle, Georgano says that three Balls were laid down but that only one was completed. The New York State Certificate seems to refute this, unless Mr Augustus Leipert never took delivery of his splendid vehicle. If he did, was it brought to England later in 1903, when he went to live in Shepherds Market? The American State Certificate had to be accompanied by a “brief description of the character” of the motor vehicle being registered, but presumably only in so far as this affected the provisions of Section 166 of the Highway Law. W B