Monthly Archives: January 2018

Federals Have Won * By Costing Less To Run


1948 Federal Truck Model 16M

The Federal Motor Truck Company started as Bailey Motor Truck in 1910. It’s final truck was sold in the United States in 1959.

In all, over 160,000 Federals were manufactured. As of 2004, there are 183 known survivors.


1948 Sales literature for the M16 Federal truck


Friendly Neighborhood Moose


The Big Q: II

Comic credit: Nuggets by Jamie Smith


1912 C-T 4WD Electric Truck


A 1912 Commercial Truck Model A 10

The Commercial Truck Company of Philadelphia produced large electric trucks between 1908-1927. The Curtis Publishing Company bought 22 of the C-T Model A 10’s. These trucks worked nearly 24 hours a day in shifts, running bulk paper to the plant, and finished newspapers and magazines to the Post Office and to customers. Some units also hauled coal to run the huge boilers at the publishing plant.


The truck hauling bulk rolls of blank paper

45 lead acid batteries were used to power the four GE electric motors, for a top speed of 12mph empty. Keep in mind that the trucks were purchased to replace draft horses pulling carts, and the speed limit at the time was 10mph. The trucks could haul a max load of 10 tons at 8mph.

A truck could operate 22 hours on a charge, and was recharged after 2 hours. Today, five 12v batteries would operate the truck at full power, but one battery will move the vehicle. Curtis Publishing operated the 22 vehicles between the years of 1912 and 1964. Of those original 22, 15 are known to still exist. The steering column had two wheels, one to turn the front tires and the second to control forward and reverse as well as the throttle.

The 15,700 pound truck has a 132″ wheelbase, and each wheel gets power from its own GE 85-volt, 10-amp motor. The tires were solid rubber.


An advert for Atlantic’s electric truck



Revisiting the Old Normal


That’s a lot of purple

The forecast is calling for a return to the deep freeze for Interior Alaska. The low tonight should be around -26F, with a high of -24F on Sunday. Not much of a solar warm up, is it? The high temps for the next week are all in the negative twenties, and the lows mostly in the negative thirties.

We really haven’t seen a decent cold snap for some time, so it’s hard to get too anxious over this one. Today, I filled the wood bin in the cabin and brought in a little extra firewood for good measure. I also had a temperature sensitive job on the docket, that I knocked out on Saturday. Might as well get that off the books now, since I wouldn’t be able/willing to do it in the next week.

Let the dropping of the mercury begin.


Snow Day!

One of the perks to being self-employed in Alaska, is that we can blame suppliers for being late, when we just want to head out into the woods… or streams… or lakes…

We’ve had a little bit of everything this week, as far as weather goes. Warm temps, freezing rain, followed by a nice dumping of very wet snow. A solid eight inches at my cabin. I could have wrapped up the job, but there was no rush, as I’m already ahead of schedule, and the only thing remaining was replacing a special order light fixture. Besides, it was obvious that the snowshoes were being neglected.

I laced up the mukluks, and strapped on the Faber snowshoes, and headed out into the back four hundred for an afternoon in the fresh snow.

The only sound I heard came from the crunching of my steps. When I stopped moving, silence hung in the air. Not a brooding silence, but a peaceful, all is right in the world kind of silence, as long as one leaves the TV off.

There is very little to report on my romp. No people, no dog teams, and only one moose. A young one has been clinging to the cabin area, and I have yet to see the mother. It’s a small moose, probably one of last year’s calves. Which is highly unusual to not see signs of the cow, but even the small hoof prints on the trail are missing any adult moose tracks alongside. With this latest snowfall, the calf’s legs are not long enough to keep its belly out of the snow, when it goes off trail. I could tell, by the way it was staring, that the moose was jealous of my snowshoes.