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AUTOMOBILE 'TICKS' FASTER THAN WATCH

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Topics:  Oldsmobile

AUTOMOBILE 'TICKS' FASTER THAN WATCH

Washington Times-Herald
December 31, 1922


Debate on Mechanical Merits Brings Out New Way of Comparison.

Which is more marvelous from a mechanical standpoint, a watch or an automobile?  This question was the subject of an interesting discussion the other day in the office of Robert K. Jack, chief engineer of the Olds Motor Works, Lansing, Mich.  The debates, all attached to the engineering staff, naturally brought up facts and figures prove their respective contentions.

Those who championed the cause of the watch got out their pencils and figured that a watch ticks sixty times a minute, 3,600 times in one hour, 86,400 times in one day, 31,536,000 times a year and 630,720,000 times in twenty years.

Those who were for the motor car admitted that a watch did a wonderful job of work and were a bit skeptical about proving their point until they began to figure what the Oldsmobile Eight has done on a 50,000 mile tour for the Frint Motor Car Company, of Milwaukee, in "ticking" a record.

They too got busy with pencils with this result: While the car is traveling one mile, the engine turns over 3,213 times.  There are 12,852 separate explosions taking place while the car is traveling this distance.  Carrying out this line of thought a little farther it was proved that one explosion takes place for each five inches of car travel and by the time the car has completed its 50,000 mile journey there will have been 642,600,000 explosions in the engine.

"In other word," says Mr. Jack, "since this car was driven the entire 50,000 miles in seven months, there were more explosions in the engine in that time than a watch ticks in twenty years.  This may be a crude way of putting the case of the automobile for endurance, but it is comparable at least with a mechanism familiar to almost everyone.  The comparison is all the more startling when one considers that every explosion in the Oldsmobile engine represents an instantaneous explosive pressure of approximately 300 pounds per square inch."



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