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Sampath Gunasekera

Historic Images Of Old Ceylon - Automotive And Otherwise

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Power Station , Engine Room and Car House for Trams in Colombo - 1901

Original Link :

http://www.rawsonplace.esmartdesign.com/notebook/307/notebook.htm

Ceylon -THE ELECTRIC TRAMWAY IN COLOMBO
By H. S. MORRISON
Reprinted from Street Railway Journal, November, 1901

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The Colombo Electric Tramway has been in running order but little more than three years, but in that time it has proved so satisfactory and has been so generously patronized by the native population, that several extensions of the line are planned, and will soon be constructed. The city of Colombo has a well-earned reputation for enterprise among the cities of the East, and the electric railway was an assured success almost from the very beginning. None could tell in advance how the native Singhalese would welcome the new departure, but they have proved appreciative patrons, and almost every car which the writer noticed on a recent visit was well filled with dark-skinned men and women. Like other people of the Far East, the natives of Ceylon vastly prefer riding to walking, and as the fares on the railway are very low, they are able to gratify their natural inclination.


The line at present in operation consists of two divisions, each 3½ miles long, and extending through various streets of the business section, and out into the residence neighborhoods. As the streets are generally wide and well paved, the company had no difficulty in choosing thoroughfares through which the road could be constructed at a minimum of cost. "The Ceylon Planters' Company," as the corporation is styled, obtained a concession from the British Colonial office for twenty-six years, with the privilege of renewal under certain conditions. When the franchise was obtained the company engaged the well-known English firm of Kincaid, Waller & Manville to construct the line and plan the various buildings to be use as a plant, and no reasonable expense was spared to make the equipment all that could be desired for the maintenance of an efficient service.


One difficulty was encountered in the very beginning and that was to find suitable ground for the erection of the power station and engine room. Some lots were finally purchased near the geographical center of the city limits, and several thousand 35-ft. piles were driven until the foundation was considered secure. An engine room 118 ft x 44 ft. was erected, and adjoining it a boiler room of the same length and 39 ft. wide. Galvanized iron was used for both walls and roofing, and the ends of the boiler room were left open, as there is but little change of season in Colombo, and no danger of injury to the apparatus from rough weather. At one end of the boiler room, and several feet distant, was erected a stack 141 ft. high and 4 ft. 4 ins. in diameter. The engine room is large and roomy, and there is ample space for the installation of new machinery when extensions of the line are made.


At present five engines of the horizontal tandem type are in use, three of them McIntosh & Seymour and two Ball & Wood. The generators were purchased from the General Electric Company. There are three Blake-Knowles pumps. The switchboard and its appliances were supplied by the British Thompson-Houston Company, and is furnished with Kelvin voltmeters and ammeters.


The boiler room is supplied with four Babcock boilers. Green economizers are used, and there is a separator for each battery of boilers. The piping is duplicated through-out. There is no coal handling machinery used, for coolie labor in Ceylon is too cheap to make it necessary. There are four firemen and seven coolies constantly at work, and the wages of the latter amount to scarcely what it would cost to have one coal shoveler in America.


There are no times when the Colombo Tramway finds it necessary to add extra cars to its service, for the working hours in shops and factories vary greatly, and there is no morning and evening peak, as in American cities. There are ordinarily twenty-two cars in operation, and about 4300 kw-hours a day are used. About 16 tons of coal are burned each day. It comes from India, and the average price is $5 a ton, delivered. About 20,000 gallons of feed-water are used in a day. The average car-mileage is 2600, and the station expenses are about 3½ cents per mile.


The trolley wire is No. 00 S. W. G., with rail return installed under Board of Trade regulations. So far the company has had no trouble with electrolysis in Colombo, but the engineer said that he had not as yet found any type of overhead materials which give satisfactory insulating results in the Ceylon climate. In view of the fact that many electric railways are now being constructed in the tropics, he thought it would pay the supply companies to give this matter some attention.


Most of the streets through which the railway passes are wide, and there is a double track throughout its entire length. The maximum grade is 8.3 per cent, and 400 yards long, and the minimum curve radius is of 50 ft., so it will be seen that the route offered few obstacles to the constructing engineers. Both sections of the line terminate at the landing jetty in the business section, or "Fort," as it is called, and from there they extend through the native quarters and out into the shady roads, where the bungalow residences of Europeans are found. For 2 cents or 4 cents one can ride almost anywhere, and the vast majority are 2-cent fares. The rails weigh 90 lbs. per yard, and are laid upon iron ties. There are two Chicago copper bonds to each of the joints, which are laid opposite. The sub-construction consists of 6 ins. of concrete, and the company expects that it will last for a long time to come.

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The car house is built within the same enclosure with the power station, and is also of galvanized iron. It is 162 ft. long by 70 ft. wide, and can shelter about thirty-eight cars. There is one motor transfer table. The motor cars are nearly all from the J. G. Brill Company, of Philadelphia. Their average length is 26 ft. 4 ins., and the wheel base is 6 ft. They have first-class and second-class seats, and weigh about 8 tons. The trucks were supplied partly by the Brill Company and partly by the Peckham Manufacturing Company, and the motors were furnished by the British Thomson-Houston Company. The average life of the pinions used is from twenty-five days to thirty days, that of the gears four months, that of the trolley wheels from three to five weeks.


The car wheels are 30 ins. in diameter, and weigh 350 lbs. They usually last from four to six months. Both hand and electric brakes are used. The cars are furnished with "Providence" fenders, which are very necessary in Colombo, as the natives swarm in certain streets, and refuse to heed the warning gong.


There are no registers, each collector being furnished with a punch, which he wears about his neck. The passengers are given receipts for fares paid, which are the same kind as used on many of the European railways, and are shown to the company's inspector upon demand. The speed of the cars is not regulated by law, but they ordinarily run slowly, and make frequent stops.


The repair shops are very completely fitted out with American and English lathes and other machinery necessary for keeping the cars in good condition. The company is entirely dependent upon its own resources for making repairs, as there is no shop in Colombo with facilities for doing the sort of work required.


The Colombo Tramway is exceedingly fortunate in the matter of cheap labor. The Singhalese partake to some extent of the prejudice of the Malays against doing ordinary manual labor, but they also share their delight in anything which has to do with the manipulation of machinery, and the company found it an easy matter to train the natives to become expert motormen and conductors. The wages paid vary from $3 to $14 a month, and as there are but 110 motormen and conductors altogether, the monthly wage list in this department is not very high. In the power station and repair shop the wages are also very low; and the Singhalese make no complaint about working twelve and fourteen hours a day. The company treats them with consideration, however, and they are said to be well contented with their positions.


Since the electric tramway has proved successful in the city of Colombo, it is expected that the system will be introduced into other cities of Ceylon and the neighboring region of Southern India. It is evident that there is a great opening for such roads in far Eastern cities, for it has been demonstrated that they are always well patronized by the natives, when the fares are reasonably cheap. It seems to me that one is very much needed in Singapore, and when I again make a circle of the globe I hope to be able to go about in all these interesting cities in a comfortable way, instead of being jolted and shaken up in a jinrikisha. The English and German electrical concerns are already awakening to their opportunities in this part of the world, and certainly the Americans should not be the last to realize that Oriental cities must soon be supplied with a service of electric street railways.

Reprinted from Street Railway Journal, November, 1901

Edited by Sampath Gunasekera
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"Honda Civic" & "Honda Accord" Advertisement -

The Sunday Times - 31st March 1996

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Edited by Sampath Gunasekera

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Old Advertisement - Ford Popular - (I guess it is between 1953 -1962)

Original Source: Facebook-Old Ceylon

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Popular

fordr.jpg

Good one.

I love the language style in old Sinhala newspaper articles and ads. So humble, sincere and direct to the point.

And of course the inadvertant humor embedded in the first attempts to coin our own words to english terms. "Universal Joint" was "Sarwa loka poottuwa" in Sinhala those days. Clever attempts to create our own identity I should say, though we ended up using english terms for most technical things for conveneince.

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A document signed by the 'First British Governor, Frederick North' (1798–1805)

(At least 207 years old)

Following document is the oldest document in my old documents collection.

It is some kind of appointment letter issued to an ancestor in my family and signed by the first British Governor, Frederick North (1798–1805).

Unfortunately the portion where the date mention is damaged and unable to read properly. However as, Frederick North served as the First British Governor between 1798 and 1805, this document belongs to that period. Therefore, at least it is 207 years old.

This document was handed over generation to generation in my family and when my father received it, it had been separated to eight pieces. However 6 – 7 years ago, on my father’s request, Department of National Archives preserved this document nicely .

Interesting points: (Describes at the end of the post)

  1. Wax stamp
  2. Currency type : Rix -Dollar

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The First British Governor, Frederick North (1798–1805)

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Wax Stamp - (Click on photo to enlarge)

Even after 207 years, wax stamp is in good condition.

Now a days, on certificates, we see red circle or red point stars with embossed seal and I think it represents wax stamp in early days.

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Currency Type : Rix –Dollar

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Language on Coins and currency of Lanka – By Dr. Kavan Ratnathunga

http://coins.lakdiva.org/notes/language.html

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Edited by Sampath Gunasekera
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Fiat Car Advertisement (82 years old)

'Silumina' – 30th March 1930, Sunday - Page 12

Fiat 514 – Rs. 3,200/= :rolleyes:

Fiat 521C – Rs. 4,750/=

What a feature list...???? :sport-smiley-004:

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Fiat 514

Fiat_514_Sedan_1929.jpg

Fiat 521C

Fiat_521_Weymann-Sedan_1928.jpg

Fiat 521 Weymann-Sedan 1928

Fiat_521_C_Coupe-Spider_1928.jpgFiat 521 C Coupe-Spider 1928

Edited by Sampath Gunasekera

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First Car Accident in Colombo (Year unknown)
Source: "Kandulu Salana Paaradisaya" Author: Victor Ivan Page No.: 88

Vehicle Registration Numbers:

Lorry/Bus: A-889

Car : K-507

colombofirstaccident.jpg

Edited by Sampath Gunasekera
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"Centenary Volume of the Colombo Municipal Council 1865-1965" - (September 1965)

By Mr. H.A.J. Hulugalle
Full information on Old Colombo

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History of The Fire Brigade , Colombo Municipal Council
Horse drawn fire engines ......
Horse drawn Ambulances.....
Fire calls and estimated losses from 1915 -1963 (Estimated in 1965)

Page 1

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Page 2

Page 3

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Page 5

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Edited by Sampath Gunasekera

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wow from where do you unearth these gems Sampath

do you work in the national archives?

btw,do any of these type of Fiats still exist in Sri Lanka now?

Fiat Car Advertisement (82 years old)

'Silumina' 30th March 1930, Sunday - Page 12

Fiat 514 Rs. 3,200/= :rolleyes:

Fiat 521C Rs. 4,750/=

What a feature list...???? :sport-smiley-004:

26380803.jpg

Fiat 514

Fiat_514_Sedan_1929.jpg

Fiat 521C

Fiat_521_Weymann-Sedan_1928.jpg

Fiat 521 Weymann-Sedan 1928

Fiat_521_C_Coupe-Spider_1928.jpgFiat 521 C Coupe-Spider 1928

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wow from where do you unearth these gems Sampath

do you work in the national archives?

btw,do any of these type of Fiats still exist in Sri Lanka now?

Ha Ha Ha , I am not working in national archives. I am in a totally different field. This is one of my hobbies only. :)

And those paper cuttings from 1st ‘Silumina’ news paper published on 30th March 1930.

When ‘Silumina’ celebrates its 60th anniversary in 1990, Lakehouse re-printed this paper and sold with normal Silumina paper and charged additional Rs.5/= for the reprinted copy. So I bought one copy and kept safely.

There are many interesting articles and will post them in future when time permits me.

Hope MD or any other expert on vintage cars can answer for the second question.

For those who are interested in reading about History of Sri Lanka with photographs & illustrations , my suggestions are followings.

1. Sri Lanka Reflections of History – An Illustrated Presentation

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Editor: Saroja Wettasinghe, Director of National Archives

Published by the Department of National Archives, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Year: 2012

ISBN No.: 978-955-9016-22-9

No. of Pages: 315 (most of them are colored pages)

Price: Rs. 2000/=

Even though I have the book, unable to post anything from the book as it is legally restricted and need to get written permission from the publisher.

2. Kandulu Salana Paradisaya

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By Victor Ivan (September 2008)

ISBNNo.: – 978-955-1468-17-0

No. Pages: 200 (All black & white photos)

Price: Rs.1000/=

Edited by Sampath Gunasekera

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does anyone have old advertisments from Daily news or other papers for Lancer flat light/lancer Box and Lancer GLX C12 cars if so please be kind enough to scan and post those

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btw,do any of these type of Fiats still exist in Sri Lanka now?

Yes! There is one in Moratuwa I beleive it is a 514 , blue and white "X" reg and is seen quite often on sundays at Holy Emmanuel Church Moratuwa.

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I'm guessing this must be Galle Road somewhere in the mid 1970s? I can't for the life of me figure out exactly where this is, and yet it all looks so familiar...especially those two phillips signs...any ideas? I didn't check the FB group yet.

Good old days...

(Source: Facebook-Old Ceylon)

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I'm guessing this must be Galle Road somewhere in the mid 1970s? I can't for the life of me figure out exactly where this is, and yet it all looks so familiar...especially those two phillips signs...any ideas? I didn't check the FB group yet.

I just searched "Tia Building" on Google and it seems like Colombo 03.

I think Three wheelers introduced to Sri Lanka after 1977. (Correct me if I am wrong) Old Ceylon says it is in 1981.

I think these are old Bajaj three wheelers which engine mounted under driver's seat.

Edited by Sampath Gunasekera

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I just searched "Tia Building" on Google and it seems like Colombo 03.

I think Three wheelers introduced to Sri Lanka after 1977. (Correct me if I am wrong) Old Ceylon says it is in 1981.

I think these are old Bajaj three wheelers which engine mounted under driver's seat.

Mr.Sampath Gunasekera,

(1) TIA Building yes is still at Kollupitiya.It was owned by one Mr. Perera,who wanted to sell that building if I am not mistaken this is one of his inherited propitiates.

Most Galle road land was owned by Perera families. 19th lane adjoining Fedex building owned by Late J.M.Perera now owner is Mrs perera mother of Mr. Milinda Mologoda, Juliyana hotel taken over by (UDA) one leading lawyer Mr. Cecil Perera owned same after his death his long served Driver & family was occupying the land, up to Railway line, One Mrs. Perara owned from Carwill pace lands up to 14th lane, TIA show room, National Show room, My self is also Perera Wijesinghe. Can write lot, about history of Kollupitiya.

(2) Yes you are correct by Late President Honorable J.R.Jayardana. Allowed free imports to a Bora merchant Mr. Hebthullaboy. But in few months his three wheel empire fell down, due to our three wheel drivers were mostly Sinhalese drivers. Most Sinhalese people have a jealousy. Morris Minor taxi cab drivers also was against the Three wheelers. Due to they were running below the fair they charged. Later the government intervened and solved the problem for the three wheel drivers to earn and pay they will be the owners of their three wheelers.

(3 ) You are correct they had engines mounted under driver's seat. All those three wheelers were chain driven.No battery, AC current is generated by the flywheel permanent magnets had very funny noise AC frequency horns when the engine speed is high more noise, cannot hear the AC horns noise now days.

Sylvi Wijesinghe.

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Mr.Sampath Gunasekera,

(1) TIA Building yes is still at Kollupitiya.It was owned by one Mr. Perera,who wanted to sell that building if I am not mistaken this is one of his inherited propitiates.

Most Galle road land was owned by Perera families. 19th lane adjoining Fedex building owned by Late J.M.Perera now owner is Mrs perera mother of Mr. Milinda Mologoda, Juliyana hotel taken over by (UDA) one leading lawyer Mr. Cecil Perera owned same after his death his long served Driver & family was occupying the land, up to Railway line, One Mrs. Perara owned from Carwill pace lands up to 14th lane, TIA show room, National Show room, My self is also Perera Wijesinghe. Can write lot, about history of Kollupitiya.

(2) Yes you are correct by Late President Honorable J.R.Jayardana. Allowed free imports to a Bora merchant Mr. Hebthullaboy. But in few months his three wheel empire fell down, due to our three wheel drivers were mostly Sinhalese drivers. Most Sinhalese people have a jealousy. Morris Minor taxi cab drivers also was against the Three wheelers. Due to they were running below the fair they charged. Later the government intervened and solved the problem for the three wheel drivers to earn and pay they will be the owners of their three wheelers.

(3 ) You are correct they had engines mounted under driver's seat. All those three wheelers were chain driven.No battery, AC current is generated by the flywheel permanent magnets had very funny noise AC frequency horns when the engine speed is high more noise, cannot hear the AC horns noise now days.

Sylvi Wijesinghe.

Mr. Silvy, thank you very much for your valuable description.

I searched a lot about beginning of three wheeler service in Sri Lanka and more details on old model three wheelers (chain driven) but failed.

Now a days very difficult to find a good photo of them too.

Would like to hear more details from you on this subject. :)

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Old Colombo – Transport

"Centenary Volume of the Colombo Municipal Council 1865-1965" - (September 1965)

By Mr. H.A.J. Hulugalle

First Mail Coach - 1832

First Train -1865

First Rickshaw -1883

Electric Tramways - 1900

First Car - 1902

First Aeroplane landed - 1935

Page 1

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Page 2

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Page 3

Page 4

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