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THE PUZZLE OF CHOOSING A CAR.
It is little wonder that the man about to buy a machine is perplexed and confused when one considers the great numbers of cars that are offered for sale and the fact that each of them is catalogued as "the best." At the last automobile exposition there were 311 different models shown, of which 219 were gasoline cars, 36 electrics, and 9 steam machines, and all of them pleasure vehicles. The remainder were commercial vehicles. One hundred and fifty of the cars exhibited were American designed and built, and from these models thousands of machines were sold. Many of them were bought by people who had already owned cars, but the majority went to new users of horseless vehicles, men who had been waiting until the practicability of the automobile had been established beyond the possibility of a doubt.
The country physician and the owner of a country home, in fact almost every suburbanite of any means, has been investigating the automobile question with a view to securing a machine that can be economically operated and at the same time be reliable enough to be depended upon in as full a sense as a horse could. Hundreds in this class are using motor vehicles to their profit and advantage, and there are thousands of others who would like to own automobiles but are hesitating because they do not know exactly what sort of a car to buy, and have no means of ascertaining how much the cost of operation would be after the car had been purchased.
The prospective owner must be guided by the sort of country he lives in, the hills to be negotiated and the condition of the roads, as well as the climate and weather conditions, all of which bear materially on the serviceability of an automobile.
Physicians differ materially in their views of just the sort of a car they want, some favoring a light runabout carrying but two passengers, while others want a convertible car for either two or four passengers, which can be used for pleasure as well as business. There is no doubt of the fact, however, that if the car is to be used for cusiness purposes only the light runabout is the only machine, for the saving in the tire expense, gasoline consumption, and general cost of running will be radical. A physician would not buy a racing horse to pull his runabout (or a truck horse either), and he has no right to
expect that the automobile which succeeds his nag will combine these qualities.
The car should not be overpowered,—that is to say, a 16 or 20 horsepower motor should meet all the needs of a physician, or, in fact, of any man who is sensibly willing to content himself with moderate speed and a correspondingly greater hill-climbing ability. From $1200 to $1800 ought to buy it fully equipped.
GASOLINE, STEAM, OR ELECTRIC ?
The steam machine has these advantages: Little jar or noise, ease of control, and simplicity in operation, inasmuch as a single throttle controls all speeds, and thus a more elastic power is secured. Gears are eliminated and so is the possibility of putting the car out of commission by stripping them. The steam car, with its direct drive, makes possible greater simplicity of construction and a reduction of repair bills in the absence of ignition systems and their troubles, as well as the further absence of overheating" and' the troubles due to carbonization of lubricating oils in gas engines. Steam is a known power and is more generally understood and more easily repaired when out of order. The bugaboo of burned-out boilers and other boiler troubles has been eliminated by the use of the flash boiler, and all adjustments and regulations are now automatic, depending only on varying temperature and pressure. In a steam car wear and tear on the machinery is saved by the fact that the engine never races and does not run when the car is standing still. The engine has greater elasticity, inasmuch as it is possible to increase steam pressure and the consequent power enormously when bad hills or roads are met with, giving a valuable reserve power. The absence of smoky exhausts, of " back firing" of dirty motors, and the noises of worn ones are claimed as advantages for the steam car, as is the fact that the cost of .fuel consumption is proportionate to the power- developed. As a final clincher the cheapness in first cost is added.
On the other hand, the steam machine requires time to be got ready for road work in waiting to get up pressure. The need of extinguishing the fire when the car is stopped for any length of time and relighting it again is quoted against the steam car, but this to a great extent has been overcome by improved burners and pilot lights. The limited water and fuel capacity, increased gasoline consumption, and the trouble from clogging of
valves or failure of pumps are also considered disadvantages, and it is further maintained that the results of neglect are more serious in a steam car, and that the necessity of using soft water at times causes annoyance, as does the freezing of pipes in cold weather. Last but not least, many people are influenced by the greater danger of the destruction of the car by fire in case of accident. This is in reality the greatest argument against the steam machine, for if the car is involved in a smash-up or is ditched the gasoline feed pipe is apt to be broken and then the gasoline ignites from the burner.
THE GASOLINE CAR.
In looking for the advantages of the gasoline car one finds first the practically unlimited radius of operation. Gasoline cars have been run over 1000 miles without stopping, as against 100 miles for steam cars, and 50 miles or less for electrics. Greater speed and endurance, rareness of total disablement and the possibility of patching things up to get home, availability of fuel, economy of fuel owing to the fact that but little is used when the car is running light and absolutely none when the machine is standing still, ease of starting after extended stops, ability to stop the motor and start from the seat after short stops, perfect control by excellent throttling system and change speed gears, 20 per cent. more efficiency than the steam engine, reliability in winter as a result of the use of aircooled engines or nonfreezing solution in water cooled ones, simplicity of mechanism, and greater ease of operation with less chance of the operator getting mixed up and causing an accident, are some of the important advantages of this, the most used, type of car. Nothing to watch but the road, adaptability to any kind of service. The advocate of steam naturally has his objections to the gasoline car and states among them the multiplicity of reciprocating parts and bearings, and the consequently greater attention demanded; greater cost of operation and for repairs, the racking of the car by overspeeding or racing of the motor, ignition and cooling troubles, greater noise, and less constant
THE ELECTRIC MACHINE.
This type of car is in a class by itself in
purposes. This is due to the fact that the long-promised 100 or 150 mile storage battery has not as yet put in its appearance. At present the car has to be taken to a station to be recharged every 30 or 40 miles, which is all right in the city, but generally impracticable in the country. The advocates of the electric car make these claims: Minimum care required for maximum service, noiseless running, clean lines, compactness, safety, and freedom from vibration. Electrics have no reciprocating parts, permitting the use of antifriction bearings throughout, and thus one gets greater results from smaller horsepower. There is nothing to freeze, burn, or explode; one can start at a second's notice; there is no waste of material when not running; a single lever controls the power and another steers. The electric car is the easiest for a lady to drive, and there is increased durability resulting from the absence of machinery working at high speed.
The disadvantages of the electric lie in the fact that its mileage is painfully limited; it is likely to be put out of business and beyond temporary repair by the touching of two wires in a short circuit; it requires too much time to recharge batteries. There is no doubting the fact, however, that if a battery is ever perfected that will give a radius of 100 miles or more, the electric will come to be not only one of the most popular types of horseless vehicles, but "the" most popular one. And even at present, it should be added, if one can afford the considerable expense of one's own charging plant, the electric has delightful possibilities within a moderate radius from home.
Having considered all these matters carefully, the problem is to select that car and type of machine that contains most of the features desired in the owner's particular circumstances. He will probably be unable to find a car that contains all of them, but his careful study should be rewarded by the possession of a car that will give the fewest disadvantages and that will be a great resource of pleasure, utility, and health. I say health, because one of the finest results of the enormous vogue of the automobile is the increase in tonic, open-air recreation that it has brought for men, women, and children. Especially as a relief from nervous strain, as a sleep inducer, nothing can excel the swift ride with
A YEAR'S ACTIVITY OF LABOR UNIONISM.
BY VICTOR S. YARROS.
LA AST summer a leading financial journal described the middle of the year 1906 as a strikeless era." The summer and fall, in truth, were singularly quiet and peaceful, industrially speaking. New York, Chicago, the mining centers east and west, the building trades, all were remarkably free from disturbances and disputes. The Great Lakes furnished no strike, and transportation suffered no interruption.
This pleasant condition has continued to the end of the year, although in the railroad industry there was, during October and November, much talk of possible and probable tie-ups and suspensions as a means of enforcing demands for wage advances. As several great railroad systems, employing several hundred thousand men, increased wages 10 per cent., the threatened strikes were happily averted. In November, it may be added, the operatives in the cotton mills of Fall River obtained a 5 per cent. increase in their wages, -the second in a period of six months,-and another great strike was thus prevented.
These wage advances, as the public is aware, were but part of a general upward movement in the remuneration of labor. The steel combination, among other manufacturing concerns, has announced a 10 per cent. advance in wages, to take effect on January 1.
This tendency is ascribed to the prosperity of the agricultural and manufacturing industries on the one hand,-it being considered natural that employers should share their gains with the employees, and to the constantly rising prices of the necessaries and comforts of life on the other, the latter explanation implying that it is impossible for the workmen to live on the wages that were sufficient two or three years ago.
The Pennsylvania Railroad, in announcing its voluntary advance in the wages of all employees receiving less than $200 a month, explicitly stated that the increased cost of living, as well as the growth of traffic and the earnings of the system, had prompted its decision, which, it may be added, followed a formal resolution raising the dividend rate. At the same time other statements, credited to influential railroad presidents, appeared in New York and Chicago newspapers, in which
a general increase of railroad men's wages was declared to be natural, proper, and necessary. The only apprehension expressed by some was this: that while the existing prosperity of the carriers abundantly warranted such an increase, difficulty might arise in the future, under less favorable trade conditions, should the managers find it necessary to suggest reductions. Manifestly, this argument, if weighty at one time, would be weighty at any other time, indeed, at all times, and the fear of depression or "lean years" would always prevent wage advances under sound and healthy business conditions. It was too fallacious to receive any serious attention. At any rate, the higher-wages movement was not checked by misgivings of this character.
No doubt several causes contributed to the upward tendency, but, at any rate, many controversies that seemed to presage considerable trouble and business paralysis in many directions were satisfactorily adjusted without a single notable addition to the year's strike record. And, accounts from every part of the country unite in declaring, the record is an unusually favorable one.
Of course, in a country so vast and so active as the United States there is really no strikeless era," even under the best of conditions. We learn from the report submitted to the Minneapolis convention of the American Federation of Labor that the organizers, agents, and correspondents of that organization reported to headquarters no fewer than 887 strikes during the year, involving directly over 91,000 working men and women, and costing the employees nearly $4,000,000. We learn also that 64,000 wage-workers were benefited by the strikes. referred to. But most of these disputes were purely local and failed to attract national attention. By a "strikeless era" is meant simply an era of few serious and general industrial disorders, the effects of which are widely felt by capital, labor, and the consuming public.
STRIKES OF THE COAL MINERS AND THE PRINTERS.
Of the few formidable and important strikes that the year witnessed we may mention the bituminous miners' and the printers'
strikes. The former began on the last day of March and was not brought to a close until the first days of July. The operators were forced to restore the scale of 1903, which meant an increase of nearly 6 per cent. in the wages of over 300,000 men, as compared with the scale of the years 1904-05. The miners, on their part, also made material concessions, the most significant of which, from the viewpoint of industrial peace, was the acceptance of a stipulation that work should not be interrupted on account of grievances while the agreement was in effect.
This strike extended over eight or ten States, but it was marked by no violence and almost no disorder. In the anthracite field the agreement of 1902 was renewed after protracted negotiations and a "suspension" of work for a short period.
nized that labor had its own vital interests and needs, and that it was not at all improper for it to seek direct representation in the legislatures and in Congress. The extraordinary success of the Labor party in England in the general election of last year had impressed not only the American unionists, but many impartial observers. The usefulness and dignity of the English "Laborites" in the Commons are cheerfully testified to by all the party leaders, and what was so desirable and beneficial in England, it was argued, could not be detrimental and demoralizing in the United States.
The origin of the new policy may be briefly set forth. The unionist leaders complained. of the hostility and absolute indifference of Congress to the labor bills repeatedly introduced by friendly Representatives. The disappointment was particularly keen in the case of the Eight-Hour bill, intended to extend and strengthen the Eight-Hour law already on the statute books, and of the bill to limit injunctions in industrial controver
As regards the union printers, the strike for an eight-hour day, begun in September, 1905, is not entirely over yet. Originally about 8000 men were involved; at this juncture, according to official statements, only sies and secure trial by jury for strikers and 1800 are "out," and the Typographical Union considers the struggle substantially won. For a year the printers at work assessed themselves 10 per cent. of their wages to support the strikers; now the assessment is down to 5 per cent.
sympathizers accused of violence or other crimes in connection with such difficulties. These bills have been before several Congresses, but progress on any of them has been exceedingly slow,-especially in recent years. Mr. Gompers, in his latest report to the Federation, puts the case in the following words:
When we contemplate the alacrity with which our Congresses respond to the demands of special interests by the prompt granting of charters, special and class legislation, while any measure franchises, immunities, special privileges and in the interest of the toiling masses progresses as if with leaden heel; that particularly in recent years slower progress has been made than heretreated with indifference and contempt, it is not tofore; that the toilers' appeals and petitions are surprising that the men of labor throughout our country have become impatient and have manifested that impatience..
Moreover, organized labor has complained of deliberate double dealing, obstruction, and chicane on the part of many legislators. They would profess anxiety to deal with the labor bills, but delay would follow delay, hearings would follow hearings, investigations would be undertaken merely to gain time, and in the end absolutely nothing would have been accomplished.
In March the leaders of several national unions, with Mr. Gompers as the chief spokesman, presented a striking petition, or bill of grievances, more accurately, to President Roosevelt, Speaker Cannon, and the
It became necessary to call the roll," to separate friends from enemies, to put candidates for Congress definitely on record." This President Gompers and his associates of the executive committee of the Federation
ument directed attention not merely to the unbroken series of labor-bill failures, but to alleged violations and evasions by government contractors and department officials of the national Eight-Hour act. The President, in a direct and vigorous reply, promised proceeded to do. They addressed circular to inquire at once into the charges of law violation and evasion, that being within his province and duty, but he declined peremptorily to entertain complaints reflecting on the sincerity and good faith of co-ordinate branches of the Government.
letters to Representatives and candidates for
The circular elicited many replies, some direct, some evasive; some favorable and some adverse. The roll was thus ready, the record made up. By that time the Congressional campaign was fairly started, and it became necessary for the leaders of the "independent political" movement of organized labor to convert warning into action.
THE PRESIDENT AND THE EIGHT-HOUR LAW. It may be stated at this point that the President has since ordered the strictest enforcement of the Eight-Hour act, and several prosecutions of contractors have been initiated. Upon some of its doubtful provisions the Department of Justice has given rulings that have not pleased labor, and hence its strenuous demand for an act extending expressly the scope of the present law and rendering it applicable to all work done for the Government by contractors. But the change in the enforcement of the law has been considerable, so considerable that some editors have accused the President of "stretching" the law in order to make political capital among the wage-workers. The truth is that many have for years treated the Eight-Hour law as a joke and farce. Mr. Roosevelt, when shown that the violations of it were really serious and general, perceived it to be his clear duty to put an end to the grotesque spectacle. He is in sympathy with the law, but even if he were not, there would plainly be no reason for making an exception of it in a policy of law enforcement such as Mr. Roosevelt has championed throughout his public career. To revert to the labor "bill of grievances," however: The effect on Congress of the public airing of these grievances was slight and Congressional districts. The most picscarcely noticeable. The Anti-Injunction bill and other measures in the same category made little headway, and the labor leaders felt that the next appeal should be addressed to the working people and the voters of the country. In a vague way such an appeal had been foreshadowed before, but it is doubtful whether the average Congress man had appreciated the significance of the hint.
The appeal to the people meant an appeal for independent political action on the part of all unionists and unionist allies. It meant an appeal for votes. But votes for whom?
CONCENTRATION OF THE FIGHT.
It was impossible to make a fight against every candidate whose attitude was not satisfactory. Such a fight requires machinery, means, men, and the movement was too young and too experimental to supply these. Accordingly, Mr. Gompers and his associates decided to limit the fight to three or four
turesque and interesting fight was made in the Second Maine District, represented by Mr. Charles E. Littlefield, an independent Republican who has not hesitated to vote against his party or to criticise the Administration. Mr. Littlefield had opposed the Anti-Injunction bill as "special legislation," as an attempt to confer a special privilege on union labor and exempt it from liabilities and burdens of citizens generally. He had opposed other labor measures on various grounds, and an effort to retire him was considered the logical beginning of labor's new departure. Like reasons prompted a