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The President and Other Polios Become Their Own Chauffeurs
ONE of the most delightful "shots" of Franklin D. Roosevelt shows him at the wheel of an old open Ford. He looks so much at home as the driver of this plebeian conveyance, that it is not surprising to learn that he prefers to drive himself and that he likes the small cars. At various times in the last few years he has driven each of four low-priced makes.
In his self-chauffeuring he must use an auxiliary control, but it is of the simplest design. The appliance on the Ford was one of the first and also one of the most primitive hand controls used. The same principle is used in the control of his present car, but the design has been improved. Drawings of this type appeared in the January, 1933, POLIO CHRONICLE.
Mr. Roosevelt's determination to return to his old activities, in spite of infantile paralysis, has been contagious. Many others who have visited Warm Springs have caught the idea of taking up auto driving and other such symbols of independence. This has naturally led to the evolution of special types of automotive controls. The formula, is:
Limited Physical Efficiency + Special Mechanical Aids = 100% Driving Efficiency
The Architectural and Mechanical Hints Group of the National Patients' Committee is insistent on the 100% figure. "If the equation doesn't give a one hundred per cent answer," says R. V. Edwards, Jr., Chairman, "the mechanical aid must be increased. That is merely an engineering problem to be solved."
The simplest hand control uses a hand lever to operate the clutch pedal. By means of an overlapping bar, the brake pedal is also depressed. The brake action may be arranged to be delayed somewhat from the clutch action so that the clutch may be partially disengaged before braking action begins.
There is an obvious weakness in this and in all the hand controls we have seen. They do not allow use of the brake without clutch release. On grades where engine compression can take the major braking strain, but cannot quite hold the car to a safe speed, it is impossible to use the brakes for the additional control. When the brake is applied, the clutch is disengaged and the whole load is thrust on the brake drums. It may be pointed out that this weakness is present to some extent in all automotive drives using free wheeling or the automatic clutch.
Conversely, to the able-bodied driver who wants pedal operation, these simplest controls prevent or restrict use of the clutch pedal without at the same time applying the brake.
To eliminate this disadvantage both for himself and for the able-bodied person who may be driving his car, Arthur Carpenter, of Warm Springs, uses a simple arrangement whereby the driver using the hand control may depress either the clutch pedal alone, or by pushing a button, the clutch and brake together. That there is no interference with conventional pedal operation may be seen from the diagram. A new difficulty arises in this plan. If the hand control driver has need of the brake at an instant when he has the clutch pedal alone depressed, he must return the lever to starting position before he can start brake action. "Whenever quick stopping may be necessary," says Mr. Carpenter, "I make assurance doubly sure by using the combined action for shifting gears."
Richard McFeeley of Pennsylvania has a different way of achieving a selection between clutch and clutch-brake action. Either his arrangement or Mr. Carpenter's, it will be noticed, can be rigged up by any good mechanic.
Dr. C. C. DelMarcelle, of Green Bay, Wisconsin, has installed on his car a most ingenious contrivance to allow quick change from hand to conventional pedal operation. He says, "I think mechanical driving aids should be designed to allow ordinary pedal operation. They should supplement rather than replace the pedal equipment." Mr. Edwards agrees with Dr. DelMarcelle. "Our Architectural and Mechanical Hints Group is developing a design to combine the advantages, of the Carpenter and DelMarcelle controls with an improved feature," he states. The ideal in a hand control, according to Mr. Edwards, is one which allows operation of clutch alone, without interfering with conventional pedal operation.