Maintaining a De Dion Bouton in 1903
Jul 19 2021
The first purchase of a motor car in the early 1900s was not for the faint hearted, given the challenges of the poor roads, lack of signage, and issues around fuel, spares and repairs. For the man of means, there was the additional challenge of extending the skills of his coachman to include the newly acquired motorised transport. Craig Horner has written about this in the most recent edition of the Aspects of Motoring History, the journal published by the Society of Automotive Historians in Britain (Issue 17, 2021, pp.89-98). For those who had perhaps acquired their first machine second hand, and who had neither the support of domestic staff or recourse to the servicing resources of the original supplier, help was at hand. The Irishman, R.J. Mecredy, champion cyclist, journalist and, fortuitously, an early Dunlop shareholder, produced nine editions of a book entitled “De Dion Bouton Motor Carriages, their mechanism and how to drive them”.
The motoring journals, purchased for a few pennies, were another important source of information, and editors could rely upon a substantial traffic of correspondence on all manner of queries from anxious owners wanting to improve the performance of their machinery. The Automotor and Horseless Vehicle Journal, The Autocar, The Motor Car Journal, and The Motor, were amongst the most popular sources of information. The two items included here are taken from the March 1906 issue of The Motor (Gear lubrication), and the March 1902 copy of the Motor Car Journal (Gear adjustment).