Great Smith footnote

Bought a coffee-table book on Great Cars of the Great Plains by Curt McConnell. It features five notable and fairly successful early autos, including the Great Smith of Topeka. One of them, Moon in St Louis, became a mid-sized company and lasted till 1929. Most auto histories mention the Moon, if only because its factory was forcibly stolen and occupied by corporate pirate Archie Andrews.

McConnell used the same sources I had used in my series on the Great Smith, so there’s no major surprise. He focuses heavily on Terry Stafford, the real inventor of synchromesh. The Smith Brothers hired Stafford and used his work, but didn’t credit him properly. He got disgusted, as many cofounders do, and started his own factory in KCMO. The young Harry Truman owned one of Stafford’s cars.

McConnell emphasizes one of Stafford’s inventions which I had included in my model but didn’t mention in my text. The transmission and driveshaft and rear axle were a solid unit, with the shaft fully enclosed and dustproof. This was similar to the later torque tube, except that the usual torque tube started behind the transmission.

Here’s the Stafford version of the torque tube, in the Smith racer. I pulled this model out a few days ago for a silly Martian picture, so might as well use the same setup again.

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