A quick heads up to a fascinating post of Japanese scientific romance and the Imperialist adventure stories of Shunro Oshikawa full of patriotric fervour and giant flying submarines with giant screws on the front over at Voyages Extraordinaires. A real shame that these were never translated into English. I better start learning Japanese then…
Now, steampunk purists will balk at this post as the subject hails from the 1920s (it should proabably be classed as dieselpunk, but lets not go there right now.)
Inventor Frederick R. Burch filed the patent for the Snow Motor vehicle on 27 November 1920. Six years later the January edition of Time magazine that the design had been taken up by Snow Motors Inc, a new subsidery of Detroit Motors. The machine, which could reach speeds of between six to eight miles per hour, was said to be able to handle the deepest snowdrifts thanks to a Fordson tractor power-plant mounted of two revolving cylinders instead of wheels.
The following silent demonstration film, found via intonarumori, shows the beast in action.
Over time, the vehicle became known as the Snow Devil and visitors can see an example at the Hays Antique Truck Museum in Woodland, California (shown right – picture courtesy of Wikipedia). This particular example used to battle the snow of the the Truckee area of the California Sierra Nevada Mountains to make sure that the US mail got through.
If you fancy building your own, Burch’s original patent can be found here.