Category Archives: Trucks, buses and equipment photos
We usually like to bring you something a little different for weekend entertainment and today we have plenty of water on the boil for your morning coffee or tea. The Erie Type “A” in our first video is one of the smallest shovels of the type that ruled to roost from the late 19th century and into the 20th after which simpler and more efficient diesel shovels began to replace them. These steamers required two men to operate; one to tend the boiler and the other to do the digging. Two engines were also required. A swing engine rotated the machine and a boom mounted thrusting engine operated the shovel itself.
We confess to never having heard of the Bryan Steam Tractor before coming across this video. What struck us was its similar appearance to period gasoline-powered equipment and its much smaller size than most traction engines we’ve seen. Still, we found the hiss of its safety valve, clanking of the valve gear and the groan of its straight cut gears to be most entertaining and hope you will, too. An interesting article about the history of the company and the restoration of one example can be found here. You’ll find many more pages of steam-powered posts here on The Old Motor.
The first snub nose transit buses hit the streets of the U.S. in 1931, but these were heavy, flat-faced, low speed affairs that didn’t need to take aerodynamics into account. Looking perhaps more like something out of Jules Verne than GM, our photos today show an example of the first generation aerodynamic intercity buses built by Gar Wood Industries based on the aircraft construction principles William Stout applied to his Scarab automobiles. Gar Wood is perhaps best known for his successful introduction of the world’s first hydraulic dump body hoist in 1915 and his beautiful wooden speed boats. When Wood could find no takers to mass produce Stout’s unusual design, he decided to do so himself.
The smooth front end of improved airflow at highway speeds and this, combined with a relatively light weight, reduced fuel consumption. Running costs were thus cut significantly, literally the bottom line in a fleet operation of any kind. Wood eventually sold off his bus operation to the General American Transportation Company of Chicago but not before building about 175 units in a few different versions between 1934 and 1939. You can find out more about William B. Stout on The Old Motor. Images from the May 11, 1935 issue of Automotive Industries.
The name Cummins is synonymous with diesel truck power today. But the instinctive engineer had to travel a long and winding road before his engines became economically viable. It was only through dogged persistence and substantial bankrolling by benefactor W.G. Irwin that Clessie Cummins was able earn his place in automotive history. His experiments began as early as 1912, but it was only after producing literally thousands of prototype fuel injectors in the 1920′s and injections of large amounts of cash from Irwin that he was able to achieve his goal of building a reliable powerplant for motor vehicles.
- Cummins’ run is described in detail in this article from the December 17, 1932 issue of Automotive Industries.
To prove his engines, he embarked on a number of promotional events beginning in 1925. High speed cross country reliability runs were not unique in the 20′s and 30′s, but attempting one in a ten ton bus certainly was. Achieving an average speed of almost forty miles per hour on the two lane roads of the day in such a substantial vehicle was quite an accomplishment, but the fuel economy numbers were equally impressive. It was this performance and a similar one in a medium duty Indiana truck in 1931 that got the attention of the trucking industry, so much so that by 1934, 70 per cent of the diesel trucks in the U.S. used Cummins power. You’ll find other posts about Clessie Cummins’ diesel drives and more unusual trucks, buses and equipment on The Old Motor.