Torque Converter Developments 1927
NO MORE SHIFTING GEARS
At a recent meeting of the Royal Society of Arts, in London, Mr. George Constantinesco delivered, by invitation of the Society, a lecture describing recent developments of his remarkable device called the “torque converter,” replacing the usual gear-shift systems of automobiles and similar machines. Says Dr. E. E. Free, in his Week’s Science (New York):
This device is described by some engineers as being the most remarkable innovation in the science of mechanics since the invention of the steam-engine. One of the problems encountered in many applications of power is the problem of varying the speed of a moving machine without changing the speed of the engine which drives it. In gasoline automobiles, for example, it is necessary to provide some gear-shift arrangement, by which the driver can operate his car rapidly or slowly, the speed of the engine changing much less than does the speed of the rear wheels. The Constantinesco device does away with this necessity.
Small automobiles equipped with it are now being built in England and have no gears at all. The driver needs to pay attention only to the throttle and to the steering-wheel.
The principle of the device is one essentially new in mechanics. Mr. Constantinesco declares that he worked it out mathematically and philosophically before any model of it was built. The trick is in the use of an oscillating weight, which vibrates back and forth like the pendulum of a clock. The mechanical principles involved are far more complicated, however, than are those of a simple pendulum.