‘Dust Bowl’ Truck Has Air-Conditioned Cab (Dec, 1936)

‘Dust Bowl’ Truck Has Air-Conditioned Cab

Not only the drivers but the Diesel engine itself breathes conditioned air in a truck built for travel through the “dust bowl” of Kansas and Colorado. Since comfort for the drivers during stifling dust storms was essential, a mechanical air conditioner was installed in the cab. A gasoline engine drives a two-cylinder compressor, and a tank holds fuel for a thousand-mile trip. The cooling element, sulphur gas, flows through coils in the cab, keeping its temperature at seventy- four degrees. The copilot’s seat is convertible into a comfortable seven-foot bunk extending under the hood. The seat is made in three sections which slide on rails. To insure efficient operation of the Diesel motor, even through dust storms, three specially designed wet-air cleaners attached to the intake manifold filter the air thoroughly. On the dashboard, in clear view of the driver, are an air-brake dial and a tachometer which shows the pilot what his engine is doing regardless of miles per hour. This aids in obtaining the most efficient engine operation. There is a separate red hand on the tachometer which points to the highest engine speed attained during a trip and can be reset only by a special key belonging to the truck owner.

6 comments
  1. experiment 626 says: January 4, 20134:57 pm

    Why would the tach have a lock feature for when it redlines? Were diesels so pricey back then that if it redlined at all the driver had punishment? Is there any more info on this truck?

  2. Toronto says: January 4, 201310:44 pm

    Lots of tachs used to have ‘tell tales.’ I recall bumping the needle on an aero engine once and having a stern “talking to” from the mechanic. My ears were ringing for some time after.

  3. quadibloc says: January 5, 20137:49 am

    I knew that before Freon (the now-banned CFC) ammonia was used as a working fluid for refrigeration. I was wondering if “sulphur gas” meant the deadly hydrogen sulphide, but a search turns up sulphur dioxide as a possible working fluid for refrigeration.

  4. experiment 626 says: January 5, 20138:25 am

    @Toronto It makes me wonder though, why did they stop? Also I ponder the redline of a early diesel since my dad has a 2000 Chevy and it redlined at a rather calm 3,500 rpm so I can’t imagine the redline or the powerband on those ones.

  5. Toronto says: January 6, 20134:01 pm

    @experiment – why did they stop putting tell-tales on tachs? They didn’t, actually. (eg: https://www.pegasusauto…).

    They probably stopped putting them on tachs on instrument panels for (a) treduced cost (b) reduced confusion, as it looks like a settable redline to some people. Besides, they stick tachs in all sorts of vehicles that don’t really need them these days, like cars with 6 speed automatics. (I’ll admit it can be fun to try to get the revs below 1800 on a rental car at highway speed.

  6. experiment 626 says: January 7, 20138:05 pm

    @Toronto Great Scott I”ll be dammed!! One thing I was told that at one point a tach was optinal on pickups for the longest time and when my parents got thier first new car [1993 K2500 Suburban] it had a tach although I wonder if you could have passed on one on a Burb? Anyways I’m so used to them I’m terrified of not knowing my rpms. A few years ago my parents bought a small rv on a ford and it has no tach and flooring it scares me since it sounds like the motor is going to blow up!

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