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English   From landau to low-frame bus: passenger transportation from 1885 to 1926
22.06.2010 von admin

Gottlieb Daimler quickly drew conclusions from this experience. For instance, he replaced the belt drive with a four-speed gear-only transmission. “The Daimler motorbus is built in various sizes, and depending on the local conditions it is equipped with engines of different outputs. For level roads the weaker engines suffice, whereas for routes with hills the vehicles must be fitted with the more powerful engines.” These were the words used by Daimler-Motorengesellschaft to describe its new type of vehicle in 1898, with particular praise for the engine: “The motive power is furnished by the new Daimler ‘Phoenix’ engine, whose practical design is specifically calculated for powering vehicles and is unrivalled in every respect.”

The establishment of a great many bus lines in Germany and abroad followed. The big breakthrough for the bus in Germany came when the Württemberg and Bavarian postal services began ordering motor vehicles in grand style, both to carry parcel post and, a little later, to transport passengers. Up until the outbreak of the First World War, Daimler-Motoren­gesellschaft delivered around 350 buses to customers. The biggest buyer was the Royal Bavarian Postal Administration, which took a total of 250 units. Daimler was market leader with a 43 percent market share. Benz was Number 2 with 18 percent market share; Büssing ranked third with twelve percent.

Daimler Postbus the Royal Bavarian Post of 1905 (Model)

England again played a crucial role. As early as in April 1898 a British customer, the Motor Car Company, got its first bus from Cannstatt, which traveled the long distance to London under its own power and made a strong impression on the big-city dwellers on its inaugural run from the port town of Gravesend to London: “Every man, every woman and every child in Long Acre and along Picadilly stopped in their tracks and stared at the vehicle as it thundered past and resolutely and steadily went its way,” an eye-witness reported.

The next year this first Daimler bus was followed by two more. The buyer this time was the London-based company Motor Traction Co., which likewise used the two buses for scheduled service in London. The success of this early double-decker probably prompted Daimler to offer a complete bus range already in May.

On the other hand, the premiere of a first bus in Stockholm was less of a success. Hardly had the iron-tired vehicle begun plying Stockholm’s Drottninggatan in 1899 – this thoroughfare was not surfaced with asphalt, but with cobblestones – the ground began to shake and the violent rumbling provoked furious protest from house owners and tenants. The bus was taken out of service and converted to operate as a truck. “Around a quarter of a century” it provided faithful service at Liljeholmen’s sugar mill, as chronicler John Néren notes, adding: “Towards the end, however, it mostly served as a backup.”

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