Armstead Snow Motor[edit


Fordson snowmobile at the Hays Antique Truck Museum, Woodland, California. In the 1920s the Armstead Snow Motor was developed. When this was used to convert a Fordson tractor into a screw-propelled vehicle with a single pair of cylinders. A machine used in the Truckee,CA area was referred to by locals as the "Snow Devil" and that name has been erroneously attached to these machines, although no known advertising of the time referred to them as such. A film was made to show the capabilities of the vehicle as well as a Chevrolet car fitted with an Armstead Snow Motor.[6] The film clearly shows that the vehicle copes well in snow. Steering was effected by having each cylinder receive power from a separate clutch which, depending on the position of the steering gear, engages and disengages; this results in a vehicle that is relatively maneuverable. The promotional film shows the Armstead snow motor hauling 20 tons of logs. In January 1926, Time magazine reported:

Having used the motor car for almost every other conceivable purpose, leading Detroit automobile makers have now organized a company entitled "Snow Motors Inc.," to put out a machine which will negotiate the deepest snowdrifts at six to eight miles an hour. The new car will consist of a Ford tractor power-plant mounted on two revolving cylinders instead of wheels—something on the order of a steam roller. The machine has already proved its usefulness in deep snow previously unnavigable. One such machine has done the work which formerly required three teams. In Oregon a stage line uses a snow motor in its two daily round trips over the Mackenzie Pass between Eugene and Bend. Orders are already in hand from Canada, Norway, Sweden, and Alaska. The Hudson Bay Co. has ordered a supply to maintain communications with its most northern fur-trading stations. The Royal Northwest Mounted Police have also gone into the market for snow motors, and may cease to be horsemen and become chauffeurs, to the deep regret of cinema people. A number of prominent motor makers have also been interested in the proposition from the angle of adapting the snow motors equipment to their ordinary models. Hudson, Dodge and Chevrolet are mentioned especially as interested in practical possibilities along this line.[7]

but in October 1941. The scheme became Project Plough and many high-level conferences were dedicated to it. Louis Mountbatten became Chief of Combined Operations and Pyke's ideas received a more sympathetic hearing. He proposed the development of a screw-propelled vehicle based on the Armstead snow motor. fell out with various individuals on the project and the Americans moved on to design a more conventional tracked vehicle. However.An extant example is in the collection of the Hays Antique Truck Museum in Woodland.[11] In 1944.[10] The problem of developing a suitable vehicle was passed to the Americans. Pyke's ideas were initially rejected. The damage and casualties that a small force could inflict might be slight.[8] The Second World War period[edit] A screw-propelled prototype of the Weasel (probably a Fordson Snow Devil with a lightweight drivers cabin) The M29 Weasel eventually produced M29 Weasel. the quixotic Geoffrey Pyke considered the problem of transporting soldiers rapidly over snow. Mountbatten became convinced that Pyke's plan was worthwhile and adopted it. but they would oblige the enemy to keep many men stationed in Norway in order to guard against every possible point of attack. Johannes Raedel. the M29 Weasel. a soldier of the German Army and veteran of the Eastern Front invented his schraubenantrieb schneemaschine (screw-propelled snow machine). Raedel had seen the problems of operating tracked vehicles in the deep snows of Russia where a tank would . This particular vehicle is said to have been used to haul mail from Truckee to North Lake Tahoe.[9] Pyke envisaged that the vehicles would be used by a small force of highly mobile soldiers. With the occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany in World War II. and Pyke went to the USA to oversee the development. who could be very inflexible. Pyke. California.

designed by the Chrysler Corporation. but he did not want his fishing time to be constrained by the vagaries of the tide. 1.dig out the snow under the tracks leaving the tank stuck on the snow compressed under the hull.7 km/h) and crossing dykes proved difficult – the vehicle would get stuck. The Amphirol was able to convey him over the sticky clay revealed by the outgoing tide and to swim in water at high tide. reaching only 3.. the Riverine Utility Craft (RUC) for the Navy in 1969. Being lightweight.[17][18] . he built a working prototype during the period of 10 February 1944 to 28 April 1944.[13][14] The counter rotating screws ". It was tested extensively. The average maximum speed attained on test lanes was a meagre 1. The RUC achieved impressive speeds of 15.propelled the vehicle through water and marsh terrain adequately. Johann in Tyrol. the cylinders may conveniently serve as floats and the arrangement may be used in the design of an amphibious vehicle.6 miles per hour (2. but it could pull one ton.6 km/h. Again. At that time.[12] According to Siegfried Raedel. specifically for the challenging task of recovering cosmonauts who landed in inaccessible areas. Joseph Jean de Bakker was the busy owner of the De Bakker machine factory in Hulst in the southwest of the Netherlands. In the 1960s.. He was also a keen fisherman. the ZIL-2906.1 km/h) on water and nearly 25 knots (46 km/h) on marsh.[16] The Soviets built a screw-propelled vehicle. It would penetrate about 30cm into the snow.[12] ” Amphibians[edit] The threaded cylinders are necessarily large to ensure a substantial area of contact and buoyancy. He convinced the OKH in Berlin to allow him to make a prototype of his concept machine. Raedel's machine never went into production. The RUC travelled on two aluminium rotors.6 knots (6. His solution was the Amphirol. It was very slow. 39 inches (991 mm) in diameter. the American Waterways Experiment Station (WES) tested the Marsh Screw Amphibian.7 knots (29. a screw-propelled vehicle superficially similar to the Marsh Screw Amphibian. especially sand. During the Vietnam War. but failed miserably on soil surfaces. It also possessed good climbing capabilities. Chrysler produced a much larger vehicle. speeds on firm soils proved disappointing. however. also employing a screw type of compression. son of Johannes: “ The vehicle idea evolved while looking at a meat mincer. but no more.4 kn). Austria was annexed to Germany already and he was dispatched to the Austrian Alpine Vehicle Test Center at St. Using whatever materials were available."[15] Despite such disappointing results.

The advantage of these machines to tailings densification is by way of providing a means to allow water or process liquor to run off without repulping the profile.4 knots) in water. for grooving the surface of newly drained polders to assist drying. the lighter.[20] . this made possible the significant innovation that the flanged cylinders could be deliberately driven in the same direction so that the vehicle could crab sideways on dry land at the alarming speed of 30 km/h (16 knots). Amphirols are used for ground surveying.5 knots) on mud and 10 km/h (5. and to carry soil-drilling teams.De Bakker's Amphirol had a top speed of 12 km/h (6. However. when moving sideways. steering is effected by shifting the front of the cylinders so that they are no longer parallel – giving a large minimum turning radius. The process of using these machines specifically for tailings and dredge spoil densification is commonly termed "mud farming" in the mining industry. perform specialised tasks such as compacting tailings from industrial processes. modern vehicles widely known as amphirols. faster machines are better suited to marginal terrain access. Also.[19] Today. This approach subsequently largely negates the impact of rainfall on densification and dewatering. but not densification due to repulping and their limited penetration depth. It was powered by two modified DAF 44/55 variomatic transmission units.