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Got Motor Mechanics?

Posted By chtrout 4 Years Ago
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chtrout
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Bruce,

Harleigh Holmes' first job of record (age 18) was as a simple "helper" at the F.M. Davis Iron Works at 8th & Larimer in Denver in 1898, but it is not known how much he may have actually gleaned from this very brief employment as an unskilled teenager.

As "Harl" came of age, he dabbled in his father's real estate and land development business, and then together, they worked on earthen dam and irrigation schemes in support of their land development operations.

The reason Harleigh became interested in developing front-wheel-drive was that when he was riding his motorcycle in the rain & mud on various trails up to one of his earthen dam sites west of Carbondale (circa March, 1912), his rear wheel kept "kicking out" and fish-tailing. Harleigh intuitively reasoned that "pulling" a wheel through the oozing mud, rather than trying to "push" it, would be more effective, his experiments with a homemade front-wheel-drive began, and the rest is history.

Harleigh is not known to have had any mechanical training whatsoever, and we have no way of knowing how much he had heard/read about other patents or experiments already in progress during that initial 1912-1913 development period (Carbondale was a very small Colorado mountain town). However, he would sketch out his very raw ideas on paper, and local Carbondale blacksmith Hugh C. Pattison would then build working models for him out of scrap iron. Harleigh would experiment, then go back and forth to the blacksmith for continuing tweaks and modifications as needed.

The takeaway is that with no known mechanical training, Harleigh did not know what the "engineering rules" were, had no prior "baggage," and simply created his own extremely innovative and truly unique "power yoke" that eventually "spanked" all competition (FWD, the Militor, and others) in formal military testing at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in 1925. Art Herrington, Chief Engineer for the US Army Quartermaster Corps, was so deeply impressed, that he left the Army and came to work for Coleman by 1926, before eventually leaving in about 1930 to co-found Marmon-Herrington, using much of what he had learned. 

- - -

In response to another post, Harleigh Holmes began his first discussions with the US Army in June of 1917, and then in August 1917, shipped one of his conversions to the Quartermasters Department, Southern Headquarters, at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, for field testing. It is assumed this was a Model-T Ford Truck with a Holmes Front Drive (HFD) conversion, but it is not known what became of these field trials, and what other trucks were also invited. Does anyone else know?

- - -

Back to my original question... Still looking for the Aug 1916 edition of "Motor Mechanics" if anyone has access to one.

Craig H. Trout
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Researching Holmes / Plains / Coleman / American Coleman Trucks
and selected production partners, such as Columbian Steel Tank, Quick Way Truck Shovel, Howe-Coleman, International Harvester, Marmon-Herrington, and SnowBlast

Bruce Ohnstad
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Wasn't the FWD and Oshkosh developer Otto ....  developing 4wd around 1909?   Plus other earlier attempts? 

Was Holmes in the blacksmith/metal working trade before his 4wd developments?  There's a 4wd Duplex in Colorado, circa 1916, likely there it's entire life.  Holmes may have heard of other attempts?

This is some interesting history.  Model T and A had an common modification of adding an idler axle and using a belt track.  With skis it was effective in snow.  I do not know if front wheels with track was practical on soil.

Bruce

Bill White
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http://forums.justoldtrucks.com/uploads/images/0bef23e6-6227-45bd-8ff2-00eb.jpghttp://forums.justoldtrucks.com/uploads/images/45fe7f49-65ff-4b38-9b0a-b38f.jpg



1917 Model T driving around in several feet of snow. This Model T has an accessory Livingood four-wheel-drive attachment, otherwise it is stock. It is dressed up to look like a WWI vehicle. Jesse Livingood is sometimes credited with inventing 4WD. His first patent was issued in 1912. He started selling conversion units in 1914.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmHoUKq0sC8



1953 White WC24, 1949 IH KBS11
Jeff Lakaszcyck
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Craig, Jesse Livingood was also developing four wheel drive for the Model T about this same time in Iowa. Another totally separate invention to achieve the same means. I find it interesting the U.S. Military was not aware of either of these light weight 4x4's. In the 1920's the Army was experimenting with a stripped down Model T with large balloon tires as a cross country car. A four wheel drive version of this Model T could have changed history. It would have been 15 or so years before the first Jeep was built. 

http://www.fourwheeler.com/project-vehicles/129-0205-1915-ford-model-t-speedster-4wd/




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chtrout
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Yes, Bruce, inventor Harleigh Holmes first experimented with a home-made front wheel drive on his Henderson motorcycle in about 1913-1914, but that caused all sorts of balance and handling problems.

Next, he tried a three-wheeled arrangement, then by 1916 progressed to installing front-wheel drive on an existing Model-T Ford truck chassis, but with a dummy rear axle. I have photos of him "romping around" on very steep hills with it.

The next logical step was to work out a transfer case, and then full four-wheel-drive, which he test-installed on a number of Model-T Ford trucks, and at least one Model-T Ford touring car. That 4x4 rag top touring car became his "personal" drive-to-work  and family vehicle for the next few years! 

By 1919, he had worked everything out to the point of building his first "Holmes Truck" mockup from scratch, ground up, and after field testing it in Carbondale, Colorado, then produced his first "pilot model" Holmes Truck to be used when actual manufacturing started in late 1920. The company was re-branded as "Coleman Motors" in 1924.

What truly fascinates me is that Harleigh Holmes did all this "in a vacuum" in the mountains of Colorado, presumably with no knowledge whatsoever of what companies like FWD, Jeffrey-Quad and others were doing elsewhere.  Interesting stuff...

Craig H. Trout
ATHS Life Member

Researching Holmes / Plains / Coleman / American Coleman Trucks
and selected production partners, such as Columbian Steel Tank, Quick Way Truck Shovel, Howe-Coleman, International Harvester, Marmon-Herrington, and SnowBlast

Bruce Ohnstad
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that would be a gas, a 4 wheel drive model T, go anywhere!
Bruce
Jeff Lakaszcyck
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Craig, your pm box is full, I can't respond to the one you sent me.

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Have you tried the paper peddlers in Hemmings mag ?

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PROGRESS WAS ALRIGHT ONCE, BUT IT HAS GONE ON TOO LONG


chtrout
Question Posted 4 Years Ago
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Got Mechanics?

Back issues "Motor Mechanics Magazine," that is?

http://forums.justoldtrucks.com/uploads/images/93e27b9a-eb53-412f-a0ab-bef4.jpg


I am looking for the August 1916 edition, which reportedly has a full front cover photo of a very early Holmes Front Drive (HFD) conversion of a Ford Model-T Truck, and I assume a supporting article.

•    I would like to purchase the August 1916 edition, or in the alternative, request a good quality scan of the cover and any supporting article.

•    As background, 1916 was the year that Harleigh R. Holmes patented his first "fore-wheel-drive" axle, as he liked to call it, and "Holmes Motors" began full production in Littleton, Colorado in late 1920. The company was later re-branded as "Coleman Motors in 1924."

Can any kind-hearted souls out there help me out or have any suggestions?


Craig H. Trout
ATHS Life Member

Researching Holmes / Plains / Coleman / American Coleman Trucks
and selected production partners, such as Columbian Steel Tank, Quick Way Truck Shovel, Howe-Coleman, International Harvester, Marmon-Herrington, and SnowBlast



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