OT - Old Photos - “Big Bertha” – Admiral Byrd’s Amazing Snow Cruiser

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2014: OT - Old Photos - “Big Bertha” – Admiral Byrd’s Amazing Snow Cruiser
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Greenlees on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 09:35 am:



This is later than the Model "T" days but being fellow 'motorheads' I thought many of you would enjoy this feature: Perhaps the best-known American
Antarctic adventurer was Admiral Richard E. Byrd. Today's feature is this unique vehicle built for his third voyage in 1939. When completed, it was 55
feet 8 inches long, 19 feet 10.5 inches wide and 16 feet high and weighed 75,000 pounds. On The Old Motor today we have a dozen excellent photos,
a video of it in action and the story of its creation. See it all @ http://theoldmotor.com/?p=111903


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Greenlees on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 09:41 am:



More photos of the "Monster" when it arrived in Boston after being driven there from Chicago.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jerry Kramer on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 09:43 am:

I wouldn't think those smooth tires would provide much traction in the snow. Who would pull you out when you got stuck?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Nicholas Lingg - Tarboro, NC on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 09:46 am:

It's still there "let's go get Her"


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By James A. Mahaffey on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 10:02 am:

A most interesting thing about the Snow Cruiser was that it was the only 4-wheel vehicle I know of that had a machine shop on board. It was very similar to a submarine machine shop, having a 6-inch Atlas lathe and an Atlas vertical mill.

Jim


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jon Crane on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 10:07 am:

First picture looks like it was taken at the overpass of Rotunda at Schaeffer, just north of the Rouge. I just completed a project at the bridge intersection.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Greenlees on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 10:28 am:

All of the photos used in the post were taken in Boston, MA, after it arrived following a cross-country trip from Chicago. All the B & W photos are courtesy of the Leslie Jones Collection at the Boston Public Library.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jay - In Northern California on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 10:52 am:

David, Nothing like shamelessly pimping your web site here for your for profit site. I enjoy your posts but pimping your site here on a regular basis to boost traffic and advertising dollars on it has you as a commercial poster here on this NON-commercial Club forum. Post for the good of the hobby here, not your personal gain. Sorry but someone needed to say this here.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Roger Karlsson, southern Sweden on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 10:56 am:

Amazing indeed.. Looks like those responsible for the engineering of this giant failure never tried to drive in deep snow with any motorized vehicle before spending $150,000 in 1939 dollars on this.. :?

From the wiki article:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antarctic_Snow_Cruiser
"The large, smooth, tread-less tires were originally designed for a large swamp vehicle; they spun freely and provided very little forward movement, sinking as much a 3 feet (0.91 m) into the snow. The crew attached the two spare tires to the front wheels of the vehicle and installed chains on the rear wheels, but were unable to overcome the lack of traction. The crew later found that the tires produced more traction when driven backwards. The longest trek was 92 miles (148 km) -- driven completely in reverse."


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Henry Petrino in Modesto, CA on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 11:06 am:

From The Old Motor article:
"The Polar Explorer never made it very far; it only travelled about 12 miles before it became hopelessly mired in the snow."

So, at a cost of $150,000 that's $12,500 per mile, not counting the cost of fuel, crew, transport to Antarctica, and so on. Wow.

Really cool (pardon the pun) piece of history. Thanks for posting it, David!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Henry Petrino in Modesto, CA on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 11:12 am:

Jay,
Please forgive my ignorance, but I don't understand your "pimping" post. What's going on that I don't know? What commercial interests?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jay - In Northern California on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 11:25 am:

Getting people to click to your website increases advertising revenue which means profit and personal gain. The more people view a site the more the site makes and the more they can ask in advertising fees.

As far as "Pimping" goes get out your Webster's dictionary and you will get the drift.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Henry Petrino in Modesto, CA on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 11:26 am:

Oh. I didn't know that The Old Motor is his website.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Greenlees on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 11:29 am:

"David, Nothing like shamelessly pimping your web site here for your for profit site. I enjoy your posts but pimping your site here on a regular basis to boost traffic and advertising dollars on it has you as a commercial poster here on this NON-commercial Club forum. Post for the good of the hobby here, not your personal gain. Sorry but someone needed to say this here."

Jay, Well this certainly isn't the first time you have. Again Jay looks can be deceiving. My site may look impressive but if you knew the real story behind it and the amount of work and funding we give to old car charities you would not be complaining about it. It is the old, you can't always judge a book by it's cover.

You mention "Post for the good of the hobby here, not your personal gain" Well take a look at the many posts I have put on here that have no links at all to my site.

You can also take a look here http://theoldmotor.com/?s=MTFCA to see that I am promoting the MTFCA and sending a lot of traffic back here to this site.

I do a lot of non-profit work helping old car museums, clubs and have come up with with a plan that will help all of them and the MTFCA. I am not ready to go public with it yet but it will involve youth, the non-profit museums and hopefully MTFCA members as they will be a key part of the plan.

I again offer to anyone at the MTFCA National Headquarters and it's officers to let me know if there is any way T.O.M. can help the club with notices or press releases just ask me.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jay - In Northern California on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 11:30 am:

Getting people to click to your website increases advertising revenue which means profit and personal gain. The more people view a site the more the site makes and the more they can ask in advertising fees.

As far as "Pimping" goes get out your Websters dictionary and you will get the drift.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Greenlees on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 11:42 am:

Jay, Again you are wrong. The amount of traffic we get has nothing to do with advertising revenue received. Ads are paid for monthly.

Jay, We get eight to then thousand visitors a day and the 20-30 that come from this forum on a day when I post something here does not amount to much of anything.

Again take a look right here @ http://theoldmotor.com/?s=MTFCA to see I am sending traffic in return to the MTFCA site to help the club.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tony Bowker on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 11:42 am:

I think Jay is saying the link to the the Old Motor is a commercial for that site. Not as blatant as some links and there are some good pictures on the site, but they do not appear to be T related.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kenneth W DeLong on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 11:48 am:

Well for one i enjoyed the post! Just a part of history that helps us learn from the mistakes of the past! I think later they were using [Cats] and other than being slow and had to be kept running worked at least better? Bud.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Greenlees on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 12:06 pm:




"I think Jay is saying the link to the the Old Motor is a commercial for that site."

Tony I realize that but what is being over looked here is that I am working to also help promote the club. Look here @ http://theoldmotor.com/?s=MTFCA

At the TOP of this box is a chart from our hit counting software that shows how much traffic we also send here in a month to help. I am working to make it a two-way street.

I again offer to anyone at the MTFCA National Headquarters and it's officers to let me know if there is any way T.O.M. can help the club in any way or with with notices or press releases just ask me.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jerry VanOoteghem on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 12:11 pm:

I, for one, enjoy David's contributions. I really fail to see how the time he takes to post interesting items here is netting him "big bucks" in return. Gosh, he must be making at least $0.003 an hour in added website traffic for the time it takes him to post here!

To me, it's more like someone who visits my house, has some interesting stuff to show me, then invites me to their place to see their collection.

Now, who needs some Viagra or Cialis or bituminous roofing tar? Lowest prices in town!!!! Visit my website for super special deals!!!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jerry VanOoteghem on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 12:16 pm:

David,

Now that I, and others, have stood up for you, perhaps you could/should use the following information to make good on your repeated offer to help MTFCA. Just stating it here won't help much.

http://www.mtfca.com/clubpages/contacts.htm


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jay - In Northern California on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 12:16 pm:

David, Advertising dollars just like with TV commercials are based on how viewed the media the Ad's hung on it are viewed.

I don't see a link under your LINKS button on The Old Motor to the MTFCA website or the MTFCI website.

You already get name recognition from the TheOldMotor.com watermark on nearly all the photos you post here. You have to take it one step further now and purposely steer traffic to your site and provide a link to do so.

Don't get me wrong I do enjoy your posts and think you have a great website, however this shouldn't give you license to run commercials here promoting your site.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Greenlees on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 12:17 pm:

Thanks, Jerry, I in fact am trying to help out this club and many others. It is all part of being in the "hobby"


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jerry VanOoteghem on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 12:22 pm:

"Look here @ http://theoldmotor.com/?s=MTFCA "

I just did. I don't see anything linking back to MTFCA.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Greenlees on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 12:26 pm:

"I don't see a link under your LINKS button on The Old Motor to the MTFCA website or the MTFCI website.

Jay they get very little traffic but I will put one there later if it makes you happy.

I have been sending direct traffic here to the MTFCA by posting photos and info from the forum and putting direct links in them to the MTFCA. Please take look here @ http://theoldmotor.com/?s=MTFCA

And please look below to see how much traffic I am sending here in a month.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Greenlees on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 12:32 pm:

""Look here @ http://theoldmotor.com/?s=MTFCA "

I just did. I don't see anything linking back to MTFCA."

Jerry, take a look again as you can see below there is a link at the end of the text in an article I specifically posted to send traffic here.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Gary Schreiber- Santa Isabel Ecuador on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 12:37 pm:

Take a pill Jay. You're starting to get like Royce on the K threads. Your whining gets old


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Greenlees on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 12:40 pm:



Here you go Jay, a new link has been posted to the MTFCA is at the very top of the list.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bob McDonald-Federal Way, Wa. on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 12:45 pm:

Birds 1928-29 trip.


Birds 1933-34.


Bob


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jerry VanOoteghem on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 12:47 pm:

Thanks David.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jay - In Northern California on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 12:53 pm:

Right On David, Thank You Very Much, that makes things equitable. I am VERY pleased your returning the favor to the MTFCA. You have won my support of your posts here with that move.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Greenlees on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 01:21 pm:

Jay, Thank you.

When I have time and see a great Model "T" photo here, I will repost it on T.O.M. and put a direct link in the text to here as I have been doing. I will get the MTFCA name in front of a lot of our readers and send traffic here that hopefully w/become new members. I any of you see anything you think would help promote the MTFCA please let me know about it @ http://theoldmotor.com/?page_id=103770


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jay - In Northern California on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 02:04 pm:

David, Way to go! Your a credit to the hobby my friend!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dennis Seth - Ohio on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 02:49 pm:

Bob McDonald,

Was the "Snow Bird" Model T snowmobile named after Admiral Bird?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Charlie B actually in Toms River N.J. on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 02:56 pm:

This monstrosity is so typical of spending some one else's money it amazes me. It reminds me of Scott's last polar expedition where he brought along every means of transportation he could think of. (or afford). Ammunsen was worried that the 3 "motor sledges" Scott had would win him the race to the pole but in typical Scott fashion they were un-tested. One got dropped through the ice and sank. The other 2 operated for a while but because of no provisions for the cold and poor to no maintenance they made a total of under 40 miles before breaking down permanently. If you ask me Byrd got lucky by not having this tank with him.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dave Wells on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 03:05 pm:

I bet one day that thing is going to become the king of all barn finds. The hard part of the restoration will be finding tires. Maybe Vietnam will reproduce them. Just think what that vehicle would fetch at Barrett Jackson. It's time to tell Jay Leno to go on a mission.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ted Dumas on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 03:22 pm:

Looks like they could have used aluminum and built a lighter better unit. It would have to have been riveted as TIG welding did not arrive on the commercial scene until WW-II.

As far as "theoldmotor.com", I think those folks have come up with some really interesting stuff. I don't care whether its altruistic or commercial, its pretty neat.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Henry Petrino in Modesto, CA on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 03:40 pm:

Ted,
There's no such thing as altruism. If doing good things provides satisfaction, then by definition it is not altruistic. :-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Clayton Swanson on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 03:50 pm:

david, always enjoy your post here regardless. also, i notice not a 32-34 ford to be seen any where. street rodders already had them all!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bob McDonald-Federal Way, Wa. on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 07:51 pm:

Dennis
No, the first Snow Flyer,(1921) about 25 were built and sold by Mr. Lagenfelt and Mr. Arps but they failed and the two men separately redesigned and manufactured under different names, Mr.Lagenfelt in 1923-24 keeping the Snow Flyer name and Mr Arps chose the name of Snow Bird in 1924-25.
Reg. Trademarks for Cos. P.S. Can't rotate. picture.

Bob


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mike Spaziano, Bellflower, CA. on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 10:10 pm:

I have a "MoToR" magazine from September, 1939 that has a rather extensive article on "Big Bertha".

The large top deck was designed to carry an airplane. As I recall (I haven't looked at it in a number of years) they mentioned that the smooth tires were designed specifically for use on ice and snow. So much for that.

If I remember right, I read an article in Special Interest Autos about 15 years ago, or something like that, that said that the ice formation where Big Bertha was abandoned had split into several smaller pieces and the vehicle had, most likely, sank to the bottom of the ocean.

Good luck finding that. Maybe we'll see it someday on National Geographic.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Aaron Griffey, Hayward Ca. on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 10:58 pm:

I heard about 40 years ago that a small expedition could see it through the ice. They said it was upside down.
They guessed the four big tires tried to float it and it turned over.

I was already two years old when it was finished, If they had asked me I could have told them it would never work in snow too deep for a model T.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mike Garrison_Rice Minnesota on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 11:39 pm:

Hey, where'd all the controversy go. Oh that's right I forgot, we're a kinder, gentler website now. Kumbaya ya'll.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ken Findlay on Thursday, January 16, 2014 - 02:50 am:

David
Thanks for posting this. Very interesting article.
Ken


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Chris Landry, Hudson, NH on Thursday, January 16, 2014 - 01:35 pm:

More Big Bertha info:

http://www.joeld.net/snowcruiser/snowcruiser.html

http://blog.hemmings.com/index.php/2011/01/16/sia-flashback-byrds-big-bertha-the -ultimate-snowmobile/


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Erich Bruckner, Vancouver, WA on Thursday, January 16, 2014 - 02:24 pm:

To bad they didn't spend a few more dollars on fabricating some better chains. But with such relatively little ground clearance, wouldn't have been enough I bet.


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