Diverse Forms of Power in 1894>
Below is a contemporary list of the means of power generation used by the competitors, which has always intrigued me. The order appears illogical but is retained from the original list. I have added a translation to English. Some of the means are clearly impractical, and others are obscure. I have added a few notes on my interpretations.
NUMBER OF ENTRANTS
Moteurs à pétrole:
Moteurs à vapeur:
Moteurs à gazoline:
Electric motors and accumulators
Moteurs à air comprimé:
Moteurs à leviers:
Moteurs à balanciers:
Engines with beams
Moteurs à eau comprimée:
Moteurs à gaz comprimé:
Moteurs à essence minérale:
With mineral oil
Moteurs à pétroles combinés:
With combined petrols
Moteurs à systèmes de leviers multiples:
With systems of multiple levers
Moteurs à liquides combinés:
With combined oils
Moteurs à vapeur combinée:
With combined liquids
Moteurs à électro-pneumatiques:
Moteurs à gaz et pesanteur:
With gas and gravity
Moteurs à pédales:
Even at this early date the petrol-fueled internal combustion engine was the definite favourite.
Why this is a separate category from "petrol" is not clear.
This certainly does not mean automatic transmission, which is not a power source. What it does mean is quite obscure, but it smacks of perpetual motion to me.
Certainly practical (See compressed air vehicles) over short distances, but surely unable to go 79 miles without refilling with compressed air.
This is a real puzzler. "Powered by levers" sounds like some sort of perpetual motion, but there were 13 entrants using this form of power. Possibly it refers to some sort of connecting-rod arrangement in an IC engine?
A hydraulic engine is wholly practical, but it requires a continuous supply of high-pressure water, which is going to be hard to arrange on a moving vehicle. Possibly compressed-air was use to pressurise water that drove a hydraulic engine, buy this is pure speculation.
This can also be translated as "Engines with outriggers" but either way this entry is completely obscure.
This sounds even less practical than the putative hydraulic engine. Water is almost incompressible, and heavy. A big tank of compressed water wouldn't get you very far.
We already have an entry for compressed air, so I would guess this refers to compressed carbon dioxide, or carbonic acid, as it was called then. On the other hand it might have been a gas-engine fueled with a compressed inflammable gas.
Presumably some sort of heavy-oil engine.
Some kind of dual-fuel engine?
What "systems of multiple levers" means is anybody's guess. Smacks of perpetual motion even more than "Powered by levers" to my mind.
Powered by mechanics? Lots of chaps in overalls pedalling hard?
A dual-fuel heavy-oil engine?
Wholly obscure. Something to do with reacting two liquid chemicals together?
Tantalisingly terse, but presumably referring to a compressed-air system topped up by a battery-powered electric motor running a compressor. The energy losses in the air compression make this a hopeless concept, but it was tried again in 1934 in The Boyette compressed-air railcar.
I can only assume this means using a gas-fuelled engine to go up hills and then coasting down them.
You're going to pedal 79 miles to Rouen? That would be quite a feat even with a very light quadracycle. And hardly in the spirit of a motor race.
It is perhaps surprising that nobody tried clockwork.
102 people paid the 10 franc entrance fee, (more than the 87 cars listed above) but only 69 cars started the 50 km (31 mile) intial selection event to determine which entrants would run in the main event, some potential competitors having no doubt discovered that their perpetual motion schemes did not work too well. The entrants ranged from established manufacturers such as Peugeot, Panhard and De Dion to amateurs with one-off vehicles. Of the 69 only 25 were selected for the main race, which shows some pretty ruthless pruning.
The race started from the Porte Maillot in Paris. Count Jules-Albert de Dion reached Rouen first after 6 hours and 48 minutes at an average speed of 19 km/h. He finished 3'30" ahead of Georges Lemaître (Peugeot), followed by Doriot (Peugeot) at 16'30", René Panhard (Panhard) at 33'30'' and Émile Levassor (Panhard) at 55'30". The official winners were Peugeot and Panhard as cars were judged on their speed, handling and safety characteristics, and De Dion's steam car needed a stoker which was apparently forbidden by the rules. It is hard to understand why he was allowed to start at all; perhaps being a Count helped. After De Dion the next 13 finishers were all petrol-IC powered, and the next steam car, driven by Le Blant, came in 15th.