Group Captain Seamus O'Keogh Van Der Piste (Retd.) writes: "Sir, I write regarding a piece of ancillary equipment that I recently discovered whilst renovating the stables of my late uncle, Lord Grassmere Van Der Piste, and feel you may be able to help me identify it. He was once the proud owner of a 1934 Hurley-Pugh Wildebeeste, but sadly, after his death by firing squad in Nicaragua in 1985, the partly-dismantled machine became neglected. I have since rescued and renovated those elements of best use to my own fine H-P steed.
The piece in question is a large drum-like device, with dimensions similar to those of a lady's hat box, constructed from blossomed nasturtium and pewter, with what appears to be some sort of hollow drive shaft emerging from one side. Two threaded rods, engraved with ogham-vernier markings, are screwed into opposite sides of the circumference. I can make out the letters '...ace Gove...' embossed into the side, but the casing has been damaged rendering the rest of the inscription unreadable. Can you help me with this conundrum?"
Good Gracious. You've stumbled across an original Pugh Patented Harrington-Cringe "Touring Pace Governor". Well done! Few remain in existence for reasons that will become apparent. I personally haven't seen one since I was a lad. This mechanical marvel was first introduced in 1929 as a top-of-the-line extra on the touring Wildebeeste - an early form of what Americans would now call "Cruise Control", though it was good solid British mechanical engineering, rather than unreliable oriental "electrickery"!
The case you describe contains a rotating dual-ball governor of the type that was commonly seen used on those marvellous nineteenth-century steam locomotives. The centreshaft is driven by the engine crankshaft via the nearside thrunging sprocket assembly, causing the two five-pound balls to contra-rotate in a vertical plane, parallel to the machine, attached via sliding arms, and the sliding linkages controlled by the spinning balls connect to a contra-contra rotating clutch and thence the controlling drag is fed back via the rotating hollow centre of the thrunging sprocket. The rider simply sets the desired touring velocity by means of the threaded rods you describe - the Speed Limiter Adjusters - which must be properly synchronised if amputation is to be avoided. If you fit the Governor, I suggest checking the alignment more often than stated in the manual - every 350 yards or so should do it. The last surviving Gentleman's Wildebeeste Countryman Grand Tour (a rare model - only one was ever made) cartwheeled to destruction at over a reported thirty seven miles per hour after the Adjusters were mis-aligned by "helpful" children while the owner was enjoying a refreshing libation at a hostelry in Penge. Unusually, the rider was only slightly injured.
However, the addition of a large counter-rotating mass on the left requires suitable balancing, and this was provided by a polished bronze flywheel on the right hand side, driven from the off-side thrunging sprocket. Do you have this other essential component? If not, the HPEC can provide an authentic, fully-HPEC-authorised reproduction flywheel for a mere £771.68. Care must be taken in mounting this, as mis-alignment can result in violent oscillation and failure of the thrunging sprockets on both sides of the engine and main bearings. Note that the centre of the three arrows on the inside edge is intended to match up with the "R" mark painted on the top of the right-hand thrunging sprocket casing (this may not be visible any more).
G. Onan-Carbolia writes: "My wife, the maidservant, the chauffeur and I have tried the combined position illustrated on page 47 of your magazine (enclosed) and have been completely unable to achieve satisfaction. Is this position actually practical?"
Well, I'm a bit at a loss with your query. It seems entirely possible that you are addressing this question to the wrong publication. All I can say is that you may find some material to shed light onyour problem in Volume 7 of the Personal Memoirs of Captain Eric "Killer" Steerforth MC, Iron Cross (2nd Class), where you will find a somewhat tangential reference to a similar predicament.
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