From: B.Hamilton@irl.cri.nz (Bruce Hamilton)
Subject: Re: Electric cars pollute more?
Date: Sat, 03 Oct 1998 08:27:43 GMT
email@example.com (Mark Thorson) wrote:
>In his autobiography, _Pieces_of_the_Action_, Vannevar Bush
>(one-time Dean of Engineering at MIT, and wartime head of
>the OSRD -- umbrella organization for all of U.S. military
>research during the war) claimed that steam was a viable
>alternative to IC engines for cars.
>He claimed that the real reason gasoline won out over steam
>was the conservatism of the Stanley family, who controlled
>the patents. They only wanted to make small numbers of
>very expensive cars. So the big automakers were forced
>to turn to IC, and once they made a success of it, they
>used their political muscle to get laws passed unfavorable
>to steam. For example, they made it illegal in many places
>to keep the flame burning in the garage overnight.
Actually the history of the IC in the USA has a similar event,
the Selden Patent. Basically, the history goes:-
1879 George Selden seeks a "road locomotive" patent. He was a
Patent Attorney, so he kept revisng the patent, and only
ever built an engine during the subsequent legal proceedings.
1895 Patent granted to Selden ( #549160 )
1899 Selden sells Patent to Albert Pope for $10,000 plus a share
of the royalties. Pope immediately sues Winton Motor Carriage
- the largest producer at the time, wins, and collects back
1900-1907 Pope sells licences to a group of manufacturers who form
the Association of Licensed Automobile Manufacturers, and who
attempt to limit the number of competitors by blackballing
potential new members. Henry Ford asked to join when he first
heard of the group, but they refused. He refused to pay the
1903 Ford starts his third company, and also advertised in a
Detroit Newsletter that he would financially support any dealer
sued by the Association for alleged patent infringement.
1909 Durant ( Founder of GM ) pays $1 million in royalties to the Assn.
1909-11 The Association took Henry Ford to court, and won, he appeals.
1911 Ford mounts an agressive defence, partly based on the fact that
the information was already available, and partly on the failure
to actually build the engine. The appeals court effectively upholds
Ford, saying that the patent could only apply to Brayton design
2-stroke engines, however 4-strokes engines were already the most
popular, and only one minor producer used such engines.
1912 Cadillac introduces the electric starter, which pretty much
wipes out the advantage of the electrics, and steam had already
become stationary ( cable cars ) because of the complaints about
embers, smoke, and soot.