Sunday, March 9, 2008

From the gnome's workshop;

I've been rather busy in my workshop of late working on several vehicle designs I've had in the back of my head, but had no time to get to.

I've been of the opinion that one of those new fangled steam lorries I've heard tell of would be just the thing for acquiring supplies for my garden and keep in Eyre, and it might make delivering finished goods from my shop and garden a wee bit quicker as well. As I was unable to locate such a vehicle that met my needs (or stature) I decided to build one of my own.

I'm particularly proud of the fine red livery and brass boiler. The motive power is a two cylinder, double-acting steam engine acting one the rear wheels through a set of differential gearing. The power plant is also a regenerative condensing type such as is commonly found in marine power plants, but is not commonly found on road going vehicles. Two very advanced features for a machine of this type.

The advantage of a condensing steam system is that one does not constantly have to stop to replenish feed water. Nor does the operator have to plan his or her route around availability of water, thus allowing the most expedient path to be used. Hence making this a most efficient piece of equipment for businesses whose daily affairs include the making of deliveries.

For initial testing I loaded two rather large casks of elven wine aboard and took it out on a spin through Eyre and Regency. It performed the task given it nearly flawlessly, only having a few issues with some uneven pavements. To test its endurance I set out on a cross-Caledon trip to Penzance and back! Cognizant I might need some aid for a journey of such magnitude I called upon my friend Hotspur O'Toole to act as navigator and mechanic. Properly fueled, watered, and equipped with our supply of elven wine and spicy orc rinds we set out.

The test trip was a rousing success (save for a few SIM crossing glitches, such as hair loss)! We reached Penzance in good order and in seemingly no time at all. The return trip to Eyre was similarly uneventful. There was no need to stop for water at all. Indeed, the feed water reserves had barely been touched!

After returning to Eyre and parting ways with HS, I received a message over the aether from Miss Starlight Vandeverre. After telling her the tale of my journey she asked if she might have a ride on this new means of transport. I readily agreed and after she arrived we climbed aboard and set off for her estate in Tanglewood. Now up to this point all testing was done on paved roads and I was interested to see how the lorry would do on less modern pathways. By and large it handled them well, although there was occasional need for me to get out and push. Crossing the railway proved to be particularly troublesome, running through a gully as it does in those parts. But in time I was able to deliver the good Lady to her doorstep without her needing to dirty her feet.

Flush from my success with the steam lorry I decided to attempt another vehicle I had rattling around in my head. Based on the same chassis as the lorry I built an Omnibus. Since steam is a somewhat messy technology and this was to be a passenger vehicle, I decided on a cleaner, less sooty, power source. Electricity!

Being aware that electric vehicles have some limitations, primarily limited range due to battery discharge, I decided to try a more experimental system. The well known and revered inventor Nikola Tesla once demonstrated a system for transmission of electric power through the aether. I thought that that would be a dandy solution for an Omnibus and set to work researching how it might be accomplished.

After many sleepless nights poring over technical arcana I developed a design for a power system I thought might do. I installed it in the now finished chassis and with some trepidation (I do admit it!) climbed aboard for the maiden voyage. To my great delight it set off under its own power with nary a sound, save for a slight hum of the motors in the hubs of the wheels. I have test driven it in all parts of Caledon to verify that the power transmission system operates reliably and have yet to encounter a location where power is not available. But for redundancy I have fitted a reserve storage battery just in case.

I am puzzled by one thing. I designed this vehicle to draw it power from the coil operated by the Caledon Tesla Society down in the Southern end of the realm. However, when I traveled down that way in testing the coil was gone! I'm at a loss to explain where the power comes from but it is my conjecture that the coil has either been moved or someone has another such device in operation in Caledon. Or perhaps it is drawing power from the aetherial waves of the wireless stations of Caledon, such as Radio Riel.

If anyone does have such a coil and has noticed a recent drain in power please contact me to arrange payment for your electricity.

My last project was for the defense of our nation. An armoured, self propelled gun platform I call a Terrapin. I hear that some mainland states have similar weapons they refer to as “Tanks”, though what a container for fluids has to do with such machines eludes me.

The beast (for such it is, being over seven metres in length and over three metres breadth and a weight of some 40 tonnes) is steam powered, with two separate double-acting two stage engines acting independently on the wheels of each side so as to allow for differential steering. The wheels may be coupled together across sides by use of clutches to allow for the full torque of the engines to be utilized to overcome obstacles, or to provide a limp-home capability in the event of engine failure or battle damage.

The main armourment consists of one 4.5” gun, derived from the naval guns of our Middlesea Auxiliary gunboats. This has the advantage of giving the Terrapin substantial striking force while allowing us to only need to manufacture and stock one munitions type, thus saving on cost of operation. Initial tests have shown promise but this is still in the prototype stage of development. Refinements are ongoing and I hope to add its capability to our armed services in a timely manner.

Thank you dear readers for your time and I hope to see you all in Caledon soon,

A. Tinlegs, Gnome


Baron K. Wulfenbach said...

Sir Amplebeak,

Perhaps the lightning tower in the Wellsian Mountains provides your machine's power. With the altitude it is at, it might be providing line-of-sight transmission.


Klaus Wulfenbach, Baron

Hotspur O'Toole said...

Three days later, and I still taste orc-rinds in my mouth.. that's a spicey meatball.