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"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

Thursday, August 21, 2014

"One-Hundred Percent Traction!"


Interpretations of the legend painted on the bumper are welcome.

This doesn't look good.
What I can gather from this photo, when held up to my extensive experience in the construction trades along with my most-perfect knowledge of "fucking-up-at-work"  and the look worn by one recently having done so is this: Hawkeye Lumber and Coal Co's delivery guy has dropped the ass-end of one of the company rigs right into the top of a buried cistern or cesspool and is now waiting for someone else from Hawkeye to come pull him out - along with his, yet to be unloaded, delivery. I can see it now. "I'll just back up onto this bit of ground here so I can get turned around... "
But, based on the source material, the home office may have had another rig that could come to the rescue.
It seems the Hawkeye Lumber and Coal Co. ran Nash Quads (Likely Great War surplus) so I'm sure this hapless putz  was pulled out and on his way in no time. He likely went on to off-load his lumber and head back to the shop; no doubt eagerly anticipating being reminded of this at every company function for the rest of his tenure at Hawkeye.
He may have been thinking about a career move as he sat there.
The reason I bring this picture around is that it provides a nice view of the ring-and-internal-gear drive that was utilized by the Jeffry Quad (Later Nash) and Walter trucks.
You may recall that, in adddition to those others, the under-appreciated star of this post was likewise powered.
As you can see above, the Nash has a differential/transfer case mounted above the front axle - and one over the rear one as well.
Each of these drives a pair of shafts; each of which ends with a spur-gear which in turn drives the wheel via an internally-toothed gear around the circumference of the rim.

Like this helpful drawing which has gone so far as to illustrate where the pistons and crankshaft fit into this whole scheme - in case anyone was unclear on that.
But, this is a Walter drive-train. The same thing only different but that's who I'm leading up to anyway so...
Start with some back story: From here


"William Walter, a Swiss immigrant, came to the U.S.A. in 1883 and established himself as a manufacturer of candy and confectionery machinery. He built himself a passenger car in 1898 and from 1904 to 1909 made high­quality cars, at first in New York City and later at Trenton, N.J. Truck production began in 1909 a t the New York factory on West 66th Street, and in 1911 the first 4-wheel­drive trucks appeared, which were to become the staple product of the company. Based on the French Latil and of similar appearance with radiator behind engine, they were made in sizes from 1 ½ to 7 tons. Conventional rear wheel drive and also front wheel drive trucks were also made, all with internal gear drive to the wheels..."

She's a bit pricey but check out the color options!
I don't recall the vintage of the above advert but, based on a tentative date of 1915, our friends at the Inflation Calculator figure that, in today's bucks, the modest six-ton listed would be close to $140,000.
They weren't giving them away but I doubt you could get a six-ton 4X4 nowadays for any less.
I don't even know where you'd ask.
 
 The Walter trucks had an edge in the traction business that the others hadn't.
"100% Traction" and "Four-Point, Positive Drive". They weren't just slogans.
Sounds right gimmicky, don't it?
This next advertises the "Walter Snowfighter" circa 1932.
Now, the Quad had fore-and-aft, locking differentials - and four-wheel steering available as an option.
1959 Walter. The "V" of that plow is six-feet high at the front.
 Even so, the hapless Hawkeye employee in the top photo was stuck.
Even if he'd had a Walter his shit was ragged. His frame was on the ground. He could spin all four wheels all day long and all he'd be doing is throwing dirt around and even that wouldn't last long.
But we can't leave it at that with the Nash.
This next Nash is hardly an incompetent rig.
It's right in the shit, doin' the duty, carryin' the freight; making sure those "Solar Lamps" (TM) and products of the Badger Brass Co. get to wherever they were needed on this snowy-ass day.
Very pretty scene although the driver seems to be missing the aesthetics.
Blind to joy I guess. Sourpuss.
Back on topic; if you'll go back to the rather garish Walter ad above, in the text, you'll read: "Automatic Locking Differential".
What the hell was that?
The same '59.
 A digression: The secret was: The worm-drive.
A worm-and-gear is a very cool thing in that, depending on the pitch of the screw on the "worm", it has the option of allowing the transmission of power in only one direction.

Sub-digression: The sole advantage that worm-drive Skilsaws offer is this: When sawing nasty, unpredictable material - like reinforced concrete, any shock the blade happens to run across is stopped at the worm and therefore isn't passed-on to the motor bearings.
Makita's "Hypoid Saw" ("Lighter, no nasty gear-oil!") doesn't have a worm and gear so... if you have one of these all you've done is that you've bought yourself a heavy saw with the blade on the wrong side.
Sorry. Sore-headed rant from a carpentering geezer who's sick to death of the hype surrounding the "Worm-drive Skilsaw" and its dragon-slaying capabilities.
Another in a succession of Walter Snowfighter porn.

 Back - again - to the topic at hand.
The Jeffry/Nash above had locking differentials  fore-and-aft which are way cool. Therefore it should have been able to get itself out of most difficulties it was likely to run across.
Problem: You've got no steering when the differentials are locked. Straight-ahead is the only way you go.
 Off-road racers and drift cars will have welded differentials but that's only because they're able to get enough speed to drift through turns. Hard to pull off with a five-ton truck.

1920's NYC Department of keeping horseshit wind-rowed until it can be picked up - oh, and snow in the winter. Front and belly-mounted grader blades.

The Nash could get itself unstuck as well as any but - unsticking accomplished - it was going to be moving in a straight line until those axles were unlocked.
Walter's sloganeering wasn't bullshit by any means - except for that "Speed" part of the "Traction, Power, Speed" line. These top-ended at around thirty-five.
Now for the secret: If you understand how a differential works, congratulations. I have to relearn it constantly.
If you need a refresher,  here's a cool video that spells it out clearly - with Tinkertoys! You'll have to just power through the first couple minutes. It really isn't just about motorcycle... ballet or whatever they call it.
What Walter did was to substitute worm-gears for spider-gears which, through some pitch-of-the-helix voodoo, resulted in a truck where all four wheels were powered no matter what and traction and power remained constant no matter what sort of grip each wheel could manage.
Short version: Take a "four-point-positive-drive" Walter. Then jack it up so that all but one wheel is off the ground.
All the plow-related stuff spoils the look, don't you think?

if you then put it in gear, that one wheel will pull the whole truck off the jacks, stands - whatever.
It's beyond my pathetic ken to understand but the Walter, positive-drive system is with us still in the aftermarket drive train products offered by R.T. Quaife Engineering, Ltd. of Britain.
Anyway, as you may have gathered, the niche the Walter Motor Truck Co. ended up occupying - at least in the New England area was snowplow trucks.
I grew up in Montana and so I thought we'd invented winter.
Back home, a big snowplow would be the same county, five-ton dump that they'd use to haul crushed-rock fill potholes and other dump-truck type activities during the summer. And they were, largely equal to the task.
Upstate New York is a whole 'nother kettle of fish I gather.
Likewise Wisconsin.
Above the Mid-West take on the problem, a rotary plow from the Winther Company of Kenosha.
The badass rig pictured: Its snout sported a giant Waukesha, straight-six engine of around 1000 cubic-inch displacement... and it just powered the blower.
This massive powerplant was only detailed to chew up snow - and toss it to the side.
To move it around,this thing ran some sort of conventional truck engine.
That engine is located at the other end and, if you squint your eyes just right, this thing looks like it was a giant snow-blower grafted onto the ass-end of a 4X4 truck - with spiked wheels.
That's about what it was. Of course all the controls and drive elements were turned around. A rear-engine Mad-Max-mobile.
Now, I'll randomly salt some Snowfighter porn which can be found... around. Randomly.







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