A large loading platform on wooden wheels with an internal combustion engine ”- this is how a German truck manufacturer describes a truck.
The tonnage of the car, manufactured by Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (DMG), is 1.25 tons. Although it is not impressive today, more than a hundred years ago it was a huge achievement.
Equipped with a 1.527cc twin-cylinder engine, the truck produces 4.1 kW (5.6 hp) at 720 rpm.
The maximum speed that a vehicle can travel without a load is 12 km/h. However, the car was designed for transportation, and breweries were an early customer of DMG. Daimler Motor-Lastwagen can move a dozen barrels of about 60 liters.
We should not forget that in 1898 the sight of combustion cars on the streets was extremely rare. Horse-drawn carriages were still used to transport people and goods over short distances. Ships or railways were used for transportation over longer distances. In these conditions, Daimler Motor-Lastwagen debuted on the road.
The purchase paid off for the transporter because it was cheaper to maintain a truck than a stable full of horses. In addition, it allowed to expand the delivery area since a fully loaded truck was faster than a similar horse-drawn cart”, writes the German manufacturer.
He adds that while the car is only two years smaller than the first truck, its “technology has been greatly advanced and the basic features of some key details remain unchanged to this day.”
The engine was located in front of the driver’s seat and the car was steered not by chains, but by the steering gear. The engine was cooled by an exhaust pipe, which was a very “advanced” solution for that time. The car was also equipped with three brakes that “operate on both the rear wheels and the pulley. Brakes on the rear axle only have been common for many years,” adds Daimler.
What may come as a surprise today is the fact that the focus in the car is not on driver comfort, but on transporting the load itself. In the absence of a cabin, the driver was exposed to wind and rain. However, this was not a major inconvenience at the time, because the carriages also did not have cabins to protect them. They covered themselves with blankets and a robe.
Daimler concludes that the world’s oldest truck was a technologically advanced product at that time.
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