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Questions of General Interest (January 11, 1919)

One of the recurring sections in Frank Leslie’s Weekly was Questions of General Interest, a column in which the newspaper staff would answer questions submitted by readers. These are a few of the questions from 100 years ago this week – the all have a motor or mechanical theme:

Removal of Truck Restrictions

D. F. D.: “I understand that the restrictions on passenger-car output has been lifted considerably so that 75% of production during the same period as a year ago is now permitted. What regulations cover the truck output?”

Truck makers, through a recent order of the War Industries Board, may return to a production of 100% of their output of a year ago. Of course, the truck industry was not so seriously curtailed as was the passenger-car business, and therefore about the same proportion of return to normal can be expected in each case.

Frank Leslie’s Weekly, published from 1855 to 1922, was an American illustrated news publication started by publisher and illustrator Frank Leslie. While only 30 copies of the first edition were printed, by 1897 its circulation had grown to an estimated 65,000 copies.

Airplane Engine Weight

K. F. S.: “What is the usual weight of an airplane engine in relation to the power which it develops? Is there a limit which our airplane designers feel cannot be exceeded?”

The Naval Consulting Board, which passes upon all matters submitted to it regarding instruments of warfare, has announced that the weight of an airplane engine which should not be exceeded is 2.4 pounds per horsepower. This includes the engine as a complete power unit and covers the weight of the propeller, the shaft and the reduction gear and starter, if used. The weight without this equipment should not exceed 1.7 lbs. per h. p.

Leaks and Freezing

R. O. F.: “I have repaired my radiator with one of the well-known preparations on the market, and this has seemed to stop several small leaks which had occurred. Can you tell me if any of the anti-freezing solutions will affect this repair?”

This will depend largely upon the kind of radiator cement which you have used, and the type of anti-freezing preparation employed. As a rule alcohol or kerosene will not affect repairs made by the radiator cements in question. Some manufacturers of radiator cements also prepare an anti-freezing mixture which is especially designed to neutralize any action which its ingredients may have upon a repair made by the radiator cement of the same brand. It is better that you get in touch with the manufacturer of the radiator cement which you have used and ask for his views.

Short and Long-Run Mileage

T. F. L.: “Why is it that an automobile universally shows better gasoline economy when on a long run than if the same distance is covered in a series of intermittent short runs? It seems that the power required to cover this distance should be the same.”

You are in error in supposing the power required is the same. Much greater power is required to lift a heavy mass from a standstill to a speed of, say, twenty-five miles an hour, than is necessary to maintain that mass moving at that continuous speed. In other words, every start necessitates a waste of power. Furthermore, the gasoline which we now obtain requires heat to vaporize it thoroughly, and in lieu of that heat on a cold engine we must use a very rich mixture. This mixture must be so rich, in fact, that a cold engine may run for the first few minutes at the rate of two or three miles per gallon, whereas when it is warm and driven at constant speed, it may deliver fifteen or sixteen miles per gallon.

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