Saturday, March 21, 2020

Blair Trucks

 In 1911 Frank Blair, having invented and patented his direct drive truck, made a pitch to the town of Newark, Ohio about building his truck in their town. The Newark Machine Company agreed and enthusiastically reorganized the company into the Blair Manufacturing Company.
 The truck was unique in that the troublesome universal joints of the time had been eliminated by mounting the engine and rigid drivetrain on a pivot at the front and at the rear axle so the engine and driveline moved with the sprung axle. Another unusual feature was that the engine was located between the seats but this was billed as a feature, the vehicle could be shorter and more maneuverable. Powertrain was bought in, Continental supplied a 4 cylinder engine, 3 speed transmission and worm gear axle.
 The company was successful and although body styles changed, the chassis remained the same from 1911 to 1918. The company had no dealer network so sales were limited but farm machinery and other products kept the company profitable. The success attracted investors and the company was bought out in 1918.


VectorWarbirds said...

I think I read there 'power loosing chains', and I was taught chain drive was one of the most efficient drives there is. You don't see superbikes using 'worm drive'. And just exactly where do they keep these 'worms' when they are not being used anyway? Is that where 'can of worms' came from?

Mister G said...

Actually worm drives are notoriously power-consuming, I read that one brand of 1920s tractor used a worm drive. Located below the seat, it ran so hot the seat was unusable. Let's put it down to early 20th century hyperbole. But I never understood the practise of running the power to an axle and then using chaindrive to the rear axle, like the Mack FJ.

JP said...

A potted history of American-Lafrance fire trucks is desperately needed here... I wonder who could... Oh wait...!