Thursday, September 11, 2008

Across Africa by motor car

Lieutenants Graetz and Von Roeder arrived yesterday (in Livingstone) on their motor, by which they intend crossing Africa.
Interviewed, they stated that they had encountered many difficulties, through lack of water, execrable roads, and the alternate swelling and shrinking of the wooden wheels in wet and dry seasons, as a result of which the screws loosened, necessitating interminable repairs.
New wheels were obtained (in Livingstone). Eight tyres have been used so far. Once the travellers availed themselves of the primitive appliances at the service of a native smith.
They leave shortly for Bulawayo and Palapye, crossing the Kalihari (sic) to Swakopmund. Both are in excellent health.

Eastern Province Herald - September 9, 1908

I am constantly amazed at how the modern technologies evolved. Here the guys rode across the desert with wooden tyres in conditions which made the wheels swell and shrink. I wonder if the correspondent wrote about "native smiths" to avoid confusion with the term blacksmith? Quite funny, really. Any comments?

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