The date is 14th April, just a normal Tuesday to you and I – however the date is actually the home to a huge number of events and breakthroughs in Motoring. We’ve decided to compile a few of these together for your reading pleasure – grab your pens and pencils, a notepad and pop on your school uniform, your history lesson has begun.
Tuesday 14th April, 1891 – 129 Years Ago
129 years ago to the day, another Day, Joseph Day to be exact, applied for a British patent for his valveless two-stroke engine. The original design had two flap valves – one in the inlet port (this would most likely be where you would find the reed valve on a modern two stroke) and one in the crown of the piston. He didn’t come up with the idea of transfer ports until a couple of years later.
Day, made around 250 of these two-port motors, he tended to fit them to small generating sets – he won a prize at the International Electrical Exhibition in 1892 for his efforts. The very widely used crankcase compression two stroke petrol engine was widely used for small engine appliances such as lawnmowers.
Friday 14th April 1899 – 121 Years Ago
This was the day that the oldest known license plate in existence was issued – it was given to Herr Beissbarth from Munich, Germany – for his Wartburg. This is not expected to be the first license ever but is the oldest around today.
Tuesday 14th April 1914 – 106 Years Ago
On this day 106 years ago – the first ever US patent for a non-skid tyre pattern was issued to one Stacy G Carkhuff of Firestone Rubber Co. Still a huge name in the world of tyres, Firestone was originally based in Akron, Ohio but have since moved their operations to Nashville Tennessee. The non-skid tyre pattern featured oblique edges of raised portions which were moulded onto the tyre to prevent the vehicle skidding in all directions – these were arranged in rows diagonally across the surface of the tyre.
Wednesday 14th April 1926 – 94 Years Ago
94 years ago to the day, the first ever Maserati Tipo 26 racing car was produced. It’s steel ladder frame supported a supercharged inline-8 engine with a three-speed transmission (manual of course, this was long before an automatic transmission) and an aluminium body frame made by Medardo Fantuzzi.
The engine featured a Roots supercharger, twin gear-driven overhead camshafts as well as dry sump lubrication – this was to comply with the 1926 Grand Prix regulations.
Sunday 14th April 1977 – 43 Years Ago
Back in 1977, a Sunday to be exact – Volvo launched its 50th anniversary car, which was a special version of the Volvo 244DL and came in a metallic silver finish with a black and gold decorative trim. Its interior was finished with blue upholstery and featured a silver plaque on the glove compartment which said ‘Volvo 1927-77, Anniversary Car” alongside the President of Volvo, Pehr G Gyllenhammar’s signature. Sadly though, the enamel was of poor quality and the badges quickly deteriorated.
And there you have you history lesson on the history of the 14th April. There were plenty more events that occurred on this day, and if you’re the homework kind, then feel free to dig deeper. Some starting points would be, Henry Ford driving the twentieth million Ford off the production line (1931), the inaugural season of Indy Lites opening in Arizona (1986), Michael Schumacher winning the San Marino Grand Prix (2002) and the Mini Cooper D first went on sale in the UK (2007).