A JOURNEY TO THE OLD WORLD OF TECHNOLOGYIn Zlata Praha on the steep left Bank of the river Vltava, there is a strict gray building. The Czechoslovakian national technical Museum — one of the richest museums of history of technology in the world. This year the Olympics celebrates its 70th anniversary. At first the Museum consisted mainly exhibits private collections: scientific instruments, antique clocks. Then came the first steam engines, cars, airplanes. Particularly active exposure began to grow in the postwar years. Today it contains around a million items, many of which are donated to the Soviet museums.

A variety of topics dedicated to 35 thousand on display in the halls of the exhibits. Of great interest is the collection of antique and modern photos and film technology, astronomical instrumentation, clock, metallurgical equipment Under the Museum made a tunnel length of more than 600 m, where you can find work this mine: here are vintage and modern equipment.
However, the most great fame of the Museum has earned an extensive collection of various means of transport, which we want to tell.
So, leaving the narrow streets of the old town, pass the castle on Svermova the bridge, climb one of the winding coastal paths of the Park, open heavy doors and enter the main hall of the Museum. Due to the special layout of the building we find ourselves at once on the second floor — PA a kind of observation deck. It offers views of the vast hall, the main exhibition of transport equipment from the first vintage cars and locomotives to the layout of the ships of the Phoenicians, and modern submarines. Everywhere drawings, diagrams, old photographs.
As if on parade lined up by ancient vehicles and self-propelled carts, more like the horse-drawn cabs, right at our feet where the bottom rise is narrow and wide, long and short pipes of the great-grandfathers of the current locomotives, ran once on the Railways of Europe; next coach
motorcycles, automotive and aircraft engines, a collection of pipes and wheels, the different parts of machines.
At the far end of the hall a living history of aviation: military and passenger jets, first helicopters, missiles.
And at the top, under the glass ceiling, 20 meters high soar like the first fragile plywood airplanes and gliders, frozen gondola of the airship, slightly swaying Czechoslovak first basket of the balloon.
This immense hall (area 2000 m2!) — the pride of the Museum. Here to update the exhibits displayed about 40 vintage cars, 14 motorcycles, more than 50 engines of several locomotives and carriages, about 20 different aircraft, and almost all in excellent condition. Most cars, for example, up directly from your stand to go outside and take part in the races of vintage cars, which, incidentally, often arranged in Czechoslovakia.
Self-propelled steam carriage, built by Joseph Baucom in 1815.
Self-propelled steam carriage, built by Joseph Baucom in 1815.
The first Czechoslovak car racing (1899).
The first Czechoslovak car racing (1899).
At some of the exhibits already will never leave the walls of the Museum. This is the most valuable historical relics, the “highlights” of the exhibition, the national pride of the country.
To become better acquainted with one of them, fast forward a few minutes on the streets of Prague in 1815. They that serene September day were crowded with enthusiastic citizens who had witnessed the first departure of the self-propelled crew Prague mechanics Joseph Borzecka. For many years he experimented with steam engines in the laboratory of the Prague Polytechnic, the Scots under the guidance of the famous Professor Gerstner. The experiments culminated in the creation of a small steam engine. The inventor has installed it underneath an ordinary cart with high wooden wheels. In the front part of Balea is located a steam boiler and a driver’s seat and rear — double chair dare to make a trip to this ground in Central Europe self-propelled steam carriage. Today a copy of the car emblazoned in plain view of the main hall of the Museum. In the mirror on which it stands, reflects the simple mechanics of the Czechoslovak ancestor of modern cars.
The oldest “live” exhibit from automotive Museum collection — self-propelled carriage 1893 “Victoria” — one of the first cars with internal combustion engine, created by the famous inventor Karl Benz. Beside her car, the “President” — the first domestic self-propelled carriage with a gasoline engine. It was built in 1897 in the small severomoravska town kopřivnice, but the cradle it was the carriage workshop, which has outgrown subsequently in a large automobile plant “Tatra”. How like is this first one for easy carriage. This is no accident: lightweight two-cylinder engine, purchased in Germany,… installed on a conventional cab. Engine power only 5 HP, but the gasoline was used up to 15 l on 100 km On this machine in 1898, was made one of the world’s first large runs — from the family of Koprivnica the car made the way to Vienna and back with a length of 300 km.
At that time — an unprecedented journey, given the state of the roads at that time. The whole journey was done at an average speed of 17 km/h. “It was a heroic ride!” — recorded in the history of the plant.
Until recently this was the only instance in Czechoslovakia, and even a Museum of automobile plant “Tatra” had neither the one original machine that he himself produced some 80 years ago. When I decided to build an exact replica specifically for the factory Museum, it took the labor of more than 600 people. Engineers and workers, artists and wood carvers, restorers and other specialists worked for three years on the machine, which in the late nineteenth century, several engineers were gathered for several months.
The exposition of the Museum demonstrates what an invaluable contribution to the development of automobile technology has made the designers of the company “Tatra”. They created a car with a Central tubular frame and independent suspension of all wheels and the engine is air cooled. Some of them are installed in the Prague Museum. For example, the car “Tatra-11” 1924 — the first car with the frame-tube and independent suspension of rear wheels, a simple and cheap little car with a 12-horsepower two-cylinder engine of air cooling. It this little machine and became the prototype of the now world-famous layout “tadrowski” cars.
Next to “President” unusual and look a little unfinished without the body. It’s his brother, the first Czechoslovak car racing, which had a two-cylinder engine capacity of 12 HP, it Was built only two such instances, one of them by order of Baron Theodor von Liebig, who allowed himself to indulge in the then fashionable hobby horseless carriages n the car event. Baron participated very successfully on this machine in many European competitions in 1900-1902 years and even reached a record at the time of speed — 112 km/h In 1965, this car, along with Victoria Benz was purchased by the Museum from the heirs of Baron and completely renovated.
Famous racing car
The famous racing car “Bugatti-51” — 1932
The first Czechoslovak car racing — high double crew with open “filling”. It was believed that this design will reduce wind resistance and reduce the weight. Engine working volume of 4.25 l with horizontal cylinders mounted behind the seat of the rider directly on the wooden frame of the machine. Ahead on the tubes of a water cooler stood a single lamp. Perched on the side of a small additional seat mechanics: because 80 years ago to confidently conduct a racing car, only two hands of the driver is not enough. Today, sitting inside a comfortable passenger car, rushing with the same speed, it is difficult to imagine how the rider managed to stay high and uncomfortable carriage, and even put on a dizzying grind time records.
It is impossible to describe all the exhibits in the main hall of the Museum. It is a living automotive history, not only of Czechoslovakia. Many of the cars participated in the biggest international races and runs, or simply carried passengers on the stone pavements; traveled halfway around the world or never left the laboratory. Side by side are the witnesses of the formation of the Czechoslovak automobile industry: the first car “Laurin and Klement”, which was then the brand “Skoda”, primitive utilitarian and comfortable Tatras and at least industrious, “Prague”, are quite rare, the representatives of the Czechoslovak car industry of the past, as cars “Walter” and “wick” car-baby “Aero”. And next to the old machines of other countries: “repo” and “Benz”, “de Dion Bouton” and “Mercedes”, the first American “Oldsmobile station wagon” and steam’s “white”.
A very interesting story of another of the Museum’s “highlights” silver racing car “Bugatti-51”, which looks today as good as new (its top speed reached 230 km/h). But only in 1956 the car, rather only its chassis was found among the “ancient” junk in the barn on the outskirts of Hradec králové. At first I assumed that this “Bugatti-52”, but painstaking research has established that this chassis is one of the rarest cars of the legendary family of the French firm “Bugatti” model “51” edition of 1932.
They were produced only 40 pieces, and each has become an invaluable rarity. Many had to work the restorers: re-have been made not only body, but other parts, controls. The car was reconstructed back inline 8-cylinder engine working volume of 2,6 liters, 180 HP with a turbocharger.
Here, in the exposition, one of the first in the world of motorcycles: three-wheeled “de Dion-Bouton” 1898 and the first two rounds of the Czech car “Laurin n Klement”, next to “Prague”, “Walter”, “pustka”, the first “Java”. The Museum boasts a n that has some of the world’s first motorcycle — the German “Hildebrand and wolfmuller” 1893, with polutoralitrovym engine capacity of 2.5 HP or a motorcycle-the only one “became”, with frame-tube and front wheel suspension on the leaf springs.
Not only the exhibits from the past the history of transport the Museum is proud of. Here you can get acquainted with prototypes and experimental designs of the vehicles created in Czechoslovakia in recent years. In one of the corners of the hall the history of transport modestly added unusual crew, like a fantastic creature with shiny paws-flippers. For several years visitors to the Museum can admire one of the most unusual world of vehicles, invented and built by engineer Julius Mackerle. This is a known “rotoped” (see: “M-K”, 1978, No. 7) — vehicle-all-terrain vehicle on four active wheels unique design, which caused in its time a sensation in the automotive world.
Sometimes the Museum is the “rotoped” of the plant, and he, awkwardly rotating their strange wheels, slowly moving around the room, amazing visitors. But in the wild it can reach the speed of 20 km/h and hill climbing of up to 20°. Really unusual and easy solution wheel mover. No wonder this “highlight” of the Museum is one of the most curious inventions in the automotive industry over the past half century.
E. KOCHNEV, engineer