We have given illustrations of several of the horseless vehicles which took part in the Times-Herald motocycle race on November 28, and we now present an engraving of the De la Vergne Refrigerating Machine Companys motor drag, one of which also took part in the race. The De la Vergne machine won the fifth prize in the Paris-Bordeaux race of last June, so that it would undoubtedly have made an excellent showing in the Thanksgiving Day contest, if the rubber tires had not slipped, so that the race was abandoned at Sixteenth Street, Chicago. The horseless carriages of the De la Vergne Company are of two kinds, the hunting traps which are built to accommodate four people and the drags which accommodate six people. These carriages are not on the market at present. The drag which we illustrate weighs about 1,800 pounds and has three seats. The frame is of iron. Around this the carriage maker has constructed the vehicle. In the drags two gasoline motors, of four horse power each, are used, each motor being distinct. The engines weigh about 375 pounds each. The two cylinders are balanced so that the vibration is, noticeable only when standing still. The tank for gasoline is under the front seat, and the carbureter, which is used to prepare the gas, is in the extreme rear of the vehicle. The gasoline tank holds enough for a three days run. The motor is a modification of the well known Benz motor. The explosion is produced by a spark. the battery being also in the front of the vehicle. The cylinders are cooled by means of water jackets connected with a tank having s, capacity of 250 pounds of water, which is sufficient for a run of six hours. The noise of the exhaust is stifled by a muffler, in which is also placed a condenser, which condenses the unburned gas and products of combustion which are expelled at the bottom of the vehicle, thus preventing disagreeable odors. The power from the motors is transmitted tothedriving wheels through the medium of belts and chains and sprocket wheels. The power is transmitted to the rear wheels by means of chains and sprocket wheels. Part of the spokes are secured directly to the large sprocket wheels, thus giving great strength. In the smaller vehicle the motocycle is stopped and started by shiftin g of the belts, which run to a countershaft. In the larger motocycles a friction clutch is used, which also controls the speed. The motor can be stopped, if necessary, by simply turning a lever, and the wagon can be reversed without stopping the engine. The limit of speed is said to be from 3 to 25 miles an hour. A powerful brake of the ordinary kind is provided. The steering wheels are pivoted at the hub, the ordinary fifth wheel is also used ; the steering rod runs up to the seat. Equalizing springs serve to hold the steering connections in place and keep the lever steady. The wheels are respectively 36 and 48 inches in diameter . and are fitted with solid rubber tires of the Rubber Tire Wheel Company. In the improved machine the lamps wiil be lighted by electricity, which is generated by the motor. James F. Bate, the umpire on the De la Vergne Refrigerating Machine Companys gasoline motor wagon on the day of the race, made the following report : Half a gallon of gasoline was used in the trip of the De la Vergne wagon from the starting point to the testing room, at 1557 Wabash Avenue. The start was made at 8:56 oclock, but the wagon had not gone far before the wheels began to stick in the snow. The stretch from the starting point to Fifty-fifth Street and Michigan Boulevard was especially rough, and several times the Benz motor was unable to drive the wheels forward. The rubber tires slipped in the snow, and before Cottage Grove Avenue was reached Frederick C. Haas, who was operating the machine, decided not to attempt the race. Then the wagon was pushed over the bad stretch of snow-laden road. When the motocycle reached Michigan A venue, it went along smoothly, but not at a great rate of speed. At sixteenth Street Mr. Haas turned the vehicle from the course and stored it at the testing room. The run was made in one hour and abaJ.f. The De la Vergne Company, of New York City, in addition to making their large refrigerating plants, are now also making the H rnsby-Akroyd oil engine. They regard their motor carriages as experimental at present. --?-- Destruction of Forests in California. In the University of Ca lifornia Magazine Mr. Charles H. Shinn, in writing of the lavish way in which the best parts of the California forests h a v e bee n cleared away, s tate s that in the Comstock mines a Ion e enough timber has been used to build all the houses needed for a city of 50,000 inhabitants. He has seen the bottom of a canon crowded for miles with the trunks of pines from each one of w hie h a few flume blocks or a log of butt timber had been cut, while the rest was left to decay. Not to mention the thousands of acres of the most magnificent coniferous timber known to man destroyed by fires which have burned out the soil itself into great pits, it is stated that the waste of timber in the redwood districts has been even more appalling than it has been in the Sierras. More than once the worlds record for the number of feet cut in a day has been broken by some one of the sawmills of the coast redwoods. So much lumber is still produced by rival mill men that it has not paid for cutting, and some of the large California firms of lumbermen have become bankrupt. Enormous trees that represent from 800 to 1,000 years of symmetrical growth have been sawed up with no profit, or with actual loss, when, if they had been left to stand a few decades longer, the profit might have been a thousand dollars an acre. At the time of the American occupation of California the forests covered, perhaps, 50,000 square miles. Half of this has been cut over or is inaccessible or consists of species of less value than those which have heretofore been cut. It is often asserted that California still has twenty millions of magnificent forest land, but the truth is that there is left hardly fifteen million acres, and much of this has been cut away. Gelatin—Its Saline Digestion. Gelatin is transformable into a kindred substance, gelatose or protogelatose. characterized by want of the property of forming a jelly and of being precipitated by a standard solution of sodium chloride. In cultures of liquefactive microbia it is observed in the first moments that the gelatin is changed into gelatose. Gelatin loses the property of jellifying if left in contact with an alkaline chloride or iodide. With the fluorides, the transformation is only partial. The change may be named saline digestion.—A. Dastre and N. Floresco.
This article was originally published with the title "The De La Vergne Motor Drag" in Scientific American 73, 24, 377 (December 1895)