1917 Berna Open Motor-lorry
Early Commercial Vehicles1868-1919
Development of mechanically propelled vehicles in Britain the latter part of the 19th century was retarded by government restrictions. Development in Europe was more rapid. In Switzerland Adolph Saurer built a vehicle in 1898. In 1902 his son Hippolyte started production of the commercial vehicles that became famous throughout Europe. Herr Wyss was a blacksmith and built his first car in 1902. The earliest cars were based on this original model. In 1906 the firm became ‘Motorwerke BERNA A.G. Herr Wyss foresaw a demand for heavy commercial vehicles and began producing lorries. The new firm faced financial difficulty and Joseph Wyss retired. The company was forced into liquidation, but an English company provided funds to restart and by 1912 the firm as producing commercial vehicles. The first was a lorry with a 4-cylinder petrol engine which developed 35 hp at 1,200 rpm. Hollow steel sections were used for the main chassis members with semi-elliptic spring suspension. The front wheels were of spoked cast steel and the rear wheels of twin cast steel discs, all shod with ‘Continental Elastic’ solid tyres. A handbrake operated on the rear wheels and a footbrake on the differential. The crankshaft was set in three ball-race bearings in a cast aluminium crankcase, and a four-speed drive operated through a leather-lined cone clutch and crash gear-box. Oil side-lights and acetylene head-lamps were fitted as standard equipment. The lorry is now exhibited in the Swiss Transport Museum, Lucerne.
|Dimensions||48 × 35.7 cm|