An exhibition of a spring car motor was given at a recent date at the works of the United States Spring Motor Construction Company, Twelfth Street and Montgomery Avenue. As a practical illustration of the operation of the motor a large platform car, containing a number of invited guests and representatives of the press, was propelled on a track the length of the shop. (This was in 1883.) The engine, if such it may be called, was of the size which is intended to be used on elevated railways. As constructed, the motor combines with a stationary shaft a series of drums, carrying springs, and arranged so that they can be brought into use singly or in pairs. Each spring or section has sufficient capacity to run the car, and thus as one spring is used another is applied. There is a series of clutches by which the drums to which the springs are attached are connected, with a master wheel, which transmits through a train of wheels the power of the springs to the axles, of the truck wheels. The motor will be so constructed that it may be placed on a truck of the width of the cars at present in use, and will be nine feet long, with four traction wheels. It is proposed do away with the two front wheels and platform, so that the front of the car may rest on a spring to the truck.
There will be an engine at each end of the road, which, it is calculated, will wind up the springs in at least two minutes' time.
While the mere construction of such a working motor involved nothing new, the real problem involved consisted of the rolling of a piece of steel 300 feet long, 6 inches wide, and a quarter of an inch thick. Another element was the coiling of this strip of steel preliminary to tempering. To temper it straight was to expose the grain to unnecessary strain when wound in a close coil. To overcome this was the most difficult part of the work. At the exhibition the inventor gave an illustration of the method which has been employed by the company. The strip of steel is slowly passed through a retort heated by the admixture of gas and air at the point of ignition in proportions to produce intense heat. When the strip has been brought to almost a white heat, it is passed between two rollers of the coiling machine. It is then subjected to a powerful blast of compressed air and sprays of water, so that six inches from the machine the steel is cold enough for the hand to be placed on it. After this operation the spring is complete and ready to be placed on the shaft. The use of the springs is said to be beyond estimate. They may be employed to operate passenger elevators, the springs being wound by a hand crank.
It is understood that the French Government has applied for them for running small yachts for harbor service. Among the advantages claimed for this motor are its cheapness in first cost and in operating expenses. It is estimated that an engine of twenty-five horse power will be required at the station to wind the springs. If there be one at each end of the line, the cost for fuel, engineer, and interest will not exceed $100 per week. This will answer for fifty or any additional number of cars. The company claims that by using twelve springs, each 150 feet in length, an ordinary street car can be driven about twenty miles. - Phil. Inquirer.