Buku Seeds of Wealth by Henry Hobhouse

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Seeds of Wealth by Henry Hobhouse

Author:Henry Hobhouse [Hobhouse, Henry]

Language: eng

Format: epub

ISBN: 9781447231332

Publisher: Pan Books

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Seeds of Wealth by Henry Hobhouse

II

Over the next three decades, 1880–1910, rubber became the most important, most market-sensitive, most sought-after new commodity in the world. Safety bicycles with rubber tyres were selling in their millions before 1895. The ‘safety-cycle’ – ‘safe’ compared with the penny-farthing – sprang almost fully-formed from the imagination of engineers: steel tubes, ball-bearings, variable speed gears, hub and rim brakes, high-quality chains, wheels formed of spokes in tension – all these were available by the late 1890s. Bicycles were originally fitted with solid rubber tyres, which always had the advantage that they did not puncture, a common hazard when nails were routinely shed from horseshoes. The disadvantage of solid rubber tyres, however, was not only an obvious lack of suspension but also difficulty in steering, which became even more marked in early cars which ran on solid tyres. Solid rubber tyres for bicycles were always a far more important market than solid rubber tyres for horse-carriages, though the absence of noise with rubber-tyred carriages was considered an advantage.

The bicycle was a very favourable investment – cars did not appear in comparable numbers until several decades later. An adult could use the same machine for forty to fifty years, the only expense being a few tyres and other spare parts. With the network of railways, as it then was, an Englishman with a bicycle enjoyed a hitherto unknown degree of liberty and mobility, since almost every train would carry his bicycle as well as himself. The bicycle was so much cheaper, so much more efficient than a horse that had to be fed, groomed, saddled or harnessed. But it was only the pneumatic rubber tyre that made mass cycling popular, and cycle-tyres were mass-produced ten years after the safety-cycle by Dunlop in Birmingham, England, Michelin in Clermont-Ferrand, France, and Pirelli in Milan, Italy. Significantly, there was no great cycle-boom in the United States, probably because roads outside metropolitan areas were inadequate and distances too great, and in American cities, public transport was too cheap and potential cyclists too prosperous.12

 

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Seeds of Wealth by Henry Hobhouse

Author:Henry Hobhouse [Hobhouse, Henry] , Date: June 28, 2019

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Author:Henry Hobhouse [Hobhouse, Henry]

Language: eng

Format: epub

ISBN: 9781447231332

Publisher: Pan Books
II

Over the next three decades, 1880–1910, rubber became the most important, most market-sensitive, most sought-after new commodity in the world. Safety bicycles with rubber tyres were selling in their millions before 1895. The ‘safety-cycle’ – ‘safe’ compared with the penny-farthing – sprang almost fully-formed from the imagination of engineers: steel tubes, ball-bearings, variable speed gears, hub and rim brakes, high-quality chains, wheels formed of spokes in tension – all these were available by the late 1890s. Bicycles were originally fitted with solid rubber tyres, which always had the advantage that they did not puncture, a common hazard when nails were routinely shed from horseshoes. The disadvantage of solid rubber tyres, however, was not only an obvious lack of suspension but also difficulty in steering, which became even more marked in early cars which ran on solid tyres. Solid rubber tyres for bicycles were always a far more important market than solid rubber tyres for horse-carriages, though the absence of noise with rubber-tyred carriages was considered an advantage.

The bicycle was a very favourable investment – cars did not appear in comparable numbers until several decades later. An adult could use the same machine for forty to fifty years, the only expense being a few tyres and other spare parts. With the network of railways, as it then was, an Englishman with a bicycle enjoyed a hitherto unknown degree of liberty and mobility, since almost every train would carry his bicycle as well as himself. The bicycle was so much cheaper, so much more efficient than a horse that had to be fed, groomed, saddled or harnessed. But it was only the pneumatic rubber tyre that made mass cycling popular, and cycle-tyres were mass-produced ten years after the safety-cycle by Dunlop in Birmingham, England, Michelin in Clermont-Ferrand, France, and Pirelli in Milan, Italy. Significantly, there was no great cycle-boom in the United States, probably because roads outside metropolitan areas were inadequate and distances too great, and in American cities, public transport was too cheap and potential cyclists too prosperous.12

Nor was the United States in 1895 a great place for cars, but fifteen years later, in 1910, it produced 200,000 cars, more than the whole of the rest of the world put together. In 1920, there were 12 million cars registered in the United States and about 2 million built in that year, and more than half were Model T Fords. In the United Kingdom or France at the same date, there were nearly 60 per cent more motor-bikes than cars, a testimonial to poverty induced by the First World War. In even poorer post-war Germany, rubber was in such short supply due to foreign exchange shortages that many goods vehicles, and even some cars, ran on solid wooden wheels, with steel tyres, as in the last days of the war.

The explosion of numbers of motor vehicles, in favourable circumstances, is illustrated by the bus and taxi position in London. In 1900, there were two ‘experimental’ omnibuses, one steam, one driven by internal combustion.

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