Big Bertha

Big Bertha
Circa 1940, on the streets of Rochester New York, Bertha does her work.
"I don't make hell for nobody. I'm only the instrument of a laughing providence. Sometimes I don't like it myself, but I couldn't help it if I was born smart."

1st Sgt. Milton Anthony Warden.
"From here to Eternity"

Paul Valery

"You are in love with intelligence, until it frightens you. For your ideas are terrifying and your hearts are faint. Your acts of pity and cruelty are absurd, committed with no calm, as if they were irresistible. Finally, you fear blood more and more. Blood and time."

The Wisdom of the Ages

"When a young man, I read somewhere the following: God the Almighty said, 'All that is too complex is unnecessary, and it is simple that is needed',"

Mikhail Kalashnikov
"Here lies the bravest soldier I've seen since my mirror got grease on it."

Zapp Brannigan

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Random Wheelage

Vehicles with odd numbers of wheels (Mostly three). Just to get it out of my system and 'cause it's kind of on the subject, here's a shout-out to the Harley Davidson trike.
I think the things are silly but I can see their place.
Now, concerning the guy pictured:  He's a concerned, American Teabagger and former Wisconsin legislator...
And the ride we'll briefly talk about is not the one pictured.
His regular trike is in the shop and he's in a (losing) pissing match with Harley Davidson over his warranty.
Seems he burned out his clutch by driving several thousand miles while flying as many as seven flags - some as large as three by five feet - at freeway speeds.
He asked Harley to fix his clutch under warranty and you can guess what they said.
Corporate weight was thrown. Stupid, bearded folk droned... Dumbass ate his own clutch.
Fucking Obama!!

"It's just my way of serving the Lord with prayer, flags and Harleys,"

I'll leave it at that and move on...  quickly.
The Wayback Machine has been set to 1913 and the red beast above. It's missing its cowling so you can better see the cooling system.
On the subject of that: That gigantic bundle of copper tubing with the brass tank on top is the radiator.
A very well-cooled engine, methinks so, depending on clutch, you could probably fly butt-loads of flags from this thing.
Okay, unfortunate magazine query but the answer should be obvious.
I'd venture to say that it's neither.
It's not a motorcycle because it's got a steering wheel and side-by-side seating - and two retractable outriggers each with two wheels apiece. It's not a car 'cause - look at the thing.
This is the one-and-only, Scripps-Booth, Bi-Auto-Go, a one-off put together by dilletante heir to the Scripps publishing fortune and sometime engineer, James Scripps Booth.
It was powered by a 45-horsepower V8 which also happened to be the first ever V8 produced in Detroit.
So there.
For the sake of perspective: Those wooden wheels are thirty-seven inches high and this monster weighed 3200 pounds.

Here's something contemporary to it - but different.
How about a chain-drive, tricycle log-truck?
Ever wonder where the term tractor/trailer originated? 
Its origins are right here.
Introducing the Martin-Knox tractor.
While we're on the subject let me just say that what you see above is one rockin' fifth-wheel.
Okay, that was lame.


















 These folks, the Martin Rocking Fifth-Wheel Co. pioneered the way big loads are carried - at least in this country.
The partnered up with the Knox Automobile Co. to produce the power unit, "The Tugboat of Land Commerce" .
The things you find on the internet.
Did you know that there was a '90's emo band from Denver named "Christie Front Drive"?
Did you know '90's emo band' was a thing?














They ripped off the name. This is a Christie Front Drive tractor, a two-wheeled vehicle designed to ease the transition from this:













To something you could take to a fire without harnessing, feeding and cleaning up after it.
Those two photos are from roughly the same period. The lower was taken in 1913 I believe, in New York City.
The Christie Front Drive was taken in Boston.
J. Walter Christie was a bright guy with lots of fingers in lots of pies. He made half-track conversions for Mack AC's and the 4X4 track conversion used by a Latil TAR artillery tractor in this post was also designed by him.
And he cooked-up the whole front-wheel-drive, transverse-mounted engine scheme for a race car that actually got to compete in the Vanderbilt Cup. A car powered by a 19 liter V-4.
It didn't go well so he scaled the design up and got rid of the rear axle and the Christie Front Drive was born.
There's a problem with producing a product whose sole purpose is to prolong the useful life of an already archaic technology - the steam-pumper fire engine. That is: You'll have no return customers. When you replace your steam pumper with whatever comes next, what do you do with a two-wheeled tractor?
Sad.
To finish up; a pathetic plea for someone of means and/or substance to buy one of these for me: Morgan 3 Wheeler. You can pick colors and all that.
Thanking you in advance...



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