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Engineers and Mechanics Encyclopedia 1839: Railways: Gillet of Birmingham

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An American inventor communicated to Mr. Gillet of Birmingham a new modification for a carriage or waggon, for which the great seal was obtained on the 4th of November 1830.

The invention consists in the adaptation of the wheels of carriages to what has been called a perpetual railway. It is formed by a circular rib or rail placed round the interior of the felloe of the wheel, upon which circular rib a small wheel with a grooved periphery is intended to run, which small wheel bearing its portion of the burthen of the carriage, by running upon a smooth even surface, it is presumed will greatly facilitate the progress of the carriage, when the larger or running wheels pass over heavy or uneven ground.

In the annexed cuts are represented by Fig. 1 a side elevation of the large running wheel, and the situation of the smaller one that runs on the inside of its felloe; and Fig. 2 shows a sectional end view of two such wheels, with their little companions, applied to a tram waggon; a-a is a large wheel of a common description, and turning loosely (with considerable play) on the axles b-b, which is made in the form represented to obtain considerable strength, and having strong curved arms which form the axes of the little wheels c-c; these are grooved on their peripheries to fit the circular edge railways d-d, fixes inside the felloes of the large wheels.

The patentee states that "although the running wheels will pass over the ground as in ordinary carriages, yet the weight of the carriage and its burthen is borne by the small wheels, and consequently, through the large running wheels should pass over soft, wet, or uneven ground, the wheels which actually bear the weight, and upon which the carriage travels, move upon a smooth, even perpetual railway on which there is little or no resistance." The patentee, however, omits to notice the obvious fact, that the little wheel does not assist the great wheel out of the mire, but rather tends to sink it deeper by reason of its weight and the heavy encumbrances it entails, to say nothing of the extra-friction caused by an unnecessary increase of rubbing surface in the multiplied axles.

"This contrivance," the patentee adds, is equally applicable to the wheels of any kind of carriage, and is only shown in the drawing as adapted to a tram waggon for the purpose of illustrating its peculiar construction and adaptation."

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