Sir, I have been a regular reader of your journal since its ” Brooklands Gazette” days, and although never keen on notoriety, I have been associated with some of the best-known designers, and have built, and caused to be built, some very excellent special cars, including one outstanding example incorporating a fourspeed and reverse epicyclic gear with dogclutch engagement, a special six-cylinder
Burt-McCollum S.S.V. engine with the Identical sleeve-drive now used in the Bristol “Perseus ” engines, and a laminated plywood bullet (leaden) proof body, and this was completed in 1923.
The article in your June issue, page 243, under “Matters of Moment” and entitled “Excitement over Steamers,” has been very adversely criticised, and several of my friends have asked me to write you because, although I still drive fast I.C. engined cars after over thirty years’ experience, I also still believe in the very great possibilities of the steam powered car, airplane, heavy road vehicle, locomotive, and ship.
Your reference to “dogs have to be muzzled at periods, so steam enthusiasts let off steam, etc., etc. ” is both feeble and futile, and so was the article in “The Aeroplane ” to which you referred. It is obvious that you are unaware of the many developments which are taking place in steam-powered road vehicles, locomotives and seacraft, and the complete reversal of policy in favour of steam power, and more especially in the case of the C.I. engine, and I enclose a few details for your information. May I also suggest that you investigate the remarkable results obtained in Germany with the Henschel and Sohn flash steam vehicle ; the Huettner steam turbine, and the Strohschein steam turbine and vapour-pressure generator for aircraft in
the U.S.A. In the latter instance Mr. Stanley Yale Brach, Aeronautical Editor of “The Scientific American,” may be of use to you. It is not possible to deal with the very many mechanical advantages of the modern flash steam unit in a letter, but I would like to state that there are many people in this country whose enthusiasm is not only due to the known and proved advantages of flash steam power, but on an even safer and surer foundation, viz.— National.—The proper development of ‘ the coal and oil resources of their country to make it less dependent upon imported fuel. Health.—Elimination of poisonous and
foul exhaust fumes, and noise. Safely.—At least partial elimination of the fire hazard, and simplification of controls.
But even the greatest flash steam enthusiast would not suggest that the I.C. and C.I. engine should necessarily be eliminated. I have personally both seen and heard more absurd claims made for I.C. and C.I. engines than have ever been made for flash steam units, and have recently had ample proof of incredible results obtained from a certain flash steam unit, which, when published, will put even the best results obtained from I.C. and C.I. engines in the ” also ran” class, so please do not muzzle the steam enthusiasts, but allow them to let ” off steam,” and during one of those “fairly regularly defined cycles ” to which you referred you will sit up in amazement and ” read, mark, learn and inwardly digest.” There are indications that this particular ” cycle ” is approaching, but it is neither “
regular” nor even ” defined.” I am, Yours etc.,
G. J. A. HOWARTH.
Sunday Express, July 4th, 1937. LOCOMOTIVES Argentina Goes Back to Steam
Buenos Aires Great Southern and Buenos Aires Western Railways have recently placed large orders for steam locomotives in this country, which represents a complete reversal of policy. Less than three years ago the chairman of these two railways said : “There is such a large margin of economy attainable between burning coal or oil in the firebox of a steam locomotive and exploding oil in the cylinder of a Diesel locomotive that I have no doubt we shall find that it will pay us well to replace over a series of years all our steam locomotives with Diesels. It is therefore unlikely that the Great Southern will again ship a steam locomotive to Argentina.”
Subsequent experience with Diesels showed the management that there was nothing like steam. This is now admitted. Sunday Express. July 1/th, 1937. STEAM LORRIES RETURN Steam lorries are returning to the roads. Several idle, unregistered machines are going back on the roads after overhaul
at the Sentinel works. Already new vehicles are appearing on the roads. Sentinel has supplied a fleet of steam wagons to South Africa, obtained a gold medal for another from the Turkish Minister of Economics (and orders), and is now sending a wagon out to Russia for trial.
Daily Mail. July 14th, 1937. STEAM LORRY NOW COMPETING WITH PETROL VEHICLE
The steam wagon in open competition with the petrol driven vehicle has a great advantage in pulling power and in speed with heavy loads, but for years has been almost driven from the roads by the Transport Ministry’s restrictions on weight.
One of the biggest users of road lorries in the country, the Gas Light and Coke Company, has, I hear, so far demonstrated its confidence in the steam vehicle under the new conditions as to order fifteen from the Sentinel Waggon Works. [At least we have been fair and published Mr. Howarth’s views in full. But we are still unconvinced that any existing steam-cars are a match for the better petrol-cars on the divers counts by which motor-cars are judged. If so, we would like a personal demonstration, say, a 1920 steamer against a” 30/98″ Vauxhall of the same age. Nor can we yet visualise a 14 cwt. steam-car able to beat an E.R.A. in a 290 mile race—and by racing is carefficiency gauged. Whatever the future may hold, it is difficult to see how steam enthusiasts will compete against vested interests. Finally, we are at least proud to share our futility with so respected a journal as ” The Aeroplane.”—Ed.]