Friday, 23 January 2009

Corkscrewing, Style, Panache, Revisited.

More toys for boys, more snow transport machinery.
-Some time ago, I posted a video showing a helical screw-propelled vehicle developed by Zil in Russia, which provided transport on snow, ice, marsh and scrubland, and appeared to be pretty invincible, yet did not seem to have been developed further. Some years ago, a british team attempted to cross the Bering Straits with a similar vehicle, and competitors on Britain's Channel 4's "Scrapheap Challenge" built one as a tugboat.

Scrapheap Challenge Machine

Here, without apology, is the Zil 29061 again.

However, I just recently came across an earlier incidence of a similar machine, built by Armistead in Michigan, filmed in 1924, here, it's a longish clip but worth watching especially for the car conversion toward the end:

Armstead Snow Motors from Seeking Michigan on Vimeo.

I saw this elsewhere being touted as a russian invention of the nineteen thirties, there are some pictures of a similar device in deep snow. Also, elsewhere, you might find a nineteen thirties claim that an Austrian invented it. However, perusal of the Austrian video shows something remarkably like an Armstead, It's quite possible, of course that great minds think alike. Yet these things seem to have hit an evolutionary dead end. Given the evidence in the video, they seem to work pretty convincingly. Why then did they not thrive? what hidden flaw or achilles heel did they have?
Anybody who knows, please enlighten me.