Carburettors to Catseyes: A Brief History of Motoring Inventions

By Geoffrey Sneed
April 2012
Book Guild
ISBN: 9781846246609
Distributed by Trans-Atlantic Publications
115 pages, Illustrated
$33.95 Hardcover

Did you know that the origins of the ball bearing date back to classical Greek and Roman times? Or that mediaeval machinery used vegetable oil and animal fats as lubricants, the Dark Ages equivalent of our modern-day engine oil? Or how about the fact that 17th-century pistons were made of hard oak? Or that an early 20th-century motor spirit – MOVRIL – was contested as a valid trademark by a well-known meat essence manufacturer? Or that up until 1896, in England, the national road speed limit was only 4 mph (and 2 mph in town); furthermore, that it was illegal to drive your vehicle without a man walking in front of you waving a red flag! In this collection of fascinating articles on the history of British motoring and automobile engineering (first published in the British Made Car Club magazine between 2006 and 2011) writer Dr G.C. Sneed enlightens us with facts, figures, anecdotes and ephemera about all things four-wheeled. With all the relish of the committed enthusiast and the know-how of the confirmed expert, Sneed creates a compelling and often quirky narrative on the evolution of man’s true best friend – his car!


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