[Photo at bottom of page]

Snow Cruiser Seen as Boon on Byrd Trip

Thomas C. Poulter of Chicago is Hopeful of Results on New Trip
To Cruise Long Way

Seattle, Wash. Oct. 19. UP Dr. Thomas C. Poulter of Chicago, hero of the rescue in 1934 of Admiral Richard E. Byrd from his lonely observation hut in the Antarctic, is hopeful of results from an invention which may revolutionize expeditions.

He has perfected an Antarctic snow cruiser which will enable the forthcoming Byrd expedition to the south pole to explore new lands by air at heretofore impossible speeds.

The cruiser itself is a huge motor vehicle, insulated against cold and equipped to carry four men and supplies in addition to fuel for 5,000 cruising miles. It will carry a five-passenger cabin plane equipped with skis.

"We will halt at intervals and the plane will go aloft on observation flights," Poulter said.
The invention was a direct outgrowth of his bitter experiences in the rescue of Byrd, when it took more than 70 hours to travel the 123 miles from Little America to the admiral's hut.

Warsaw Daily Times Oct. 19, 1939

Snow Cruiser Here Monday

Byrd's Craft Coming Down U.S. 30 About 8:30 A.M.
Indianapolis, Ind. Oct. 21 UP-- Admiral Richard Byrd's huge snow cruiser will start across Indiana Monday on its trip from Chicago to Boston where it will be placed aboard ship for use on the United States Antarctic expedition this summer.

Four state policemen will accompany the machine and all highways over which it passes will be closed. The state highway commission is co-operating with state police in giving it clear passage across the state.

The cruiser will enter Indiana on U. S. 6 about 7 a.m., and will journey east to U. S. 31, where it will turn south to Plymouth. There it will take U. S. 30 to the state line. The first overnight stop is scheduled to be made in Fort Wayne.

It is 19 feet wide, 55 feet long and weighs several tons. It carries its own generating plant for lights and its own machine shop for repairs. It was constructed in Chicago especially for Admiral Byrd's Antarctic expedition.

Warsaw Daily Times Saturday, Oct. 21, 1939

Trip to Start on Wednesday

Big Snow Cruiser Will Go Through Warsaw Over Road 30

Plans now call for the giant snow cruiser of the Admiral Byrd expedition to be used in connection with his South Pole expedition, to leave Chicago for the east at 8 o'clock Wednesday morning. The snow cruiser was designed and built by the Armour Institute of Technology Research Foundation. The cruiser is going over land on its power to Boston where it will be put aboard the ship of the Antarctic expedition. The ship travels at an average rate of 25 miles an hour and by being routed from Chicago so as to make a demonstration in the sand dunes, the distance to be covered between Warsaw and Chicago will approximate 180 miles, state highway officials said Tuesday. With time off at the dunes for a demonstration, it is doubtful if the cruiser will pass through Warsaw before late Wednesday afternoon.

As soon as word is received in Warsaw of the time the cruiser will arrive, bulletins will be posted at once at The Times office. When the cruiser is sighted the Warsaw fire siren will sound two blasts.

The itinerary as announced from Chicago, for Wednesday, follows: Leave Chicago with police escort over U. S. highway No. 6 to Gary city limits, thence on the same road to LaPaz; from LaPaz on U. S. highway 31 to Plymouth, and thence on No. 30 through Warsaw to Fort Wayne for an overnight stop. Thursday the cruiser will follow No. 30 to the Ohio state line and thence eastward to Boston, its final destination overland.

Warsaw Daily Times Tuesday, Oct. 24, 1939

Snow Cruiser Meets Delay

Bedded Down in Auto Parking Lot Pending Checkup

Chicago. Oct. 25 UP The giant Antarctic snow cruiser designed to carry members of Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd's new Antarctic expedition over polar wastes in comfort was bedded down today in an automobile parking lot.

Traveling under its own power it will begin a cross-country trek Thursday for Boston, embarkation point of the expedition, with a stop-over for a "shakedown" on the Indiana sand dunes.

The cruiser, 55 feet long, designed by the research foundation of the Armour Institute, was driven from the factory to the parking lot last night. Byrd has said that Nov. 1 is the deadline for departure of the explorers, due to approaching winter in the Antarctic.

The motor-driven craft is 15 feet wide and 15 feet high, and a special rout has to be charted for its journey to Boston. Even so, in many places it will have clearance of only a few inches.

It is designed to travel across snow and ice fields and span a 15-foot crevasse without danger. It can cruise 5,000 miles with one year's supplies for four men and will carry a five-passenger plane on top. It is equipped with machine shop, generating plant, radio, and meteorological recording equipment. It had been scheduled to leave for the sand dunes today but departure was postponed for a last-minute checkup.

Anxious Warsawans must wait at least another day before arrival of the giant snow-cruiser built for Admiral Richard Byrd's Antarctic expedition, according to R. F. Emmons, Standard Oil representative here. The large cruiser, originally scheduled to leave Chicago, traveling east, Wednesday morning, will not leave until 2 o'clock Thursday morning.

Reason for the delay is that the mammoth machine required two hours in which to negotiate one corner in Chicago this morning.

Mr. Emmons told The Times today that he did not expect the cruiser before Thursday and possibly not until Friday.

Two blasts of the Warsaw fire siren will be sounded when the cruiser nears Warsaw. Advance bulletins will be placed in The Daily Times windows announcing definitely the time of arrival as soon as it can be determined with any degree of certainty.

Warsaw Daily Times Oct. 25, 1939

Snow Cruiser on Way Here

Machine to be Used by Byrd Due in Warsaw After 4 P.M.

South Pole Explorer Admiral Byrd's huge snow cruiser with thousands of Kosciusko county school children and elders anxiously awaiting its long delayed passage through Warsaw east on U. S. 30 was expected to leave Plymouth at 3:30 this afternoon and reach Warsaw some time after 4:30 o'clock. The schedule included a stop at Walkerton at 2:00 p.m. another at LaPaz at 2:45 and arrival in Plymouth around 3:30. No stop in Plymouth was expected. Warsaw was liable to see the largest land vehicle anytime after 4 p.m. barring delays, possibly much later.

Earl Kessler, Claypool, who drove north beyond Valparaiso on road 6 told us he saw the big cruiser there at noon today, making but 10 mile per hour. At that rate he did not expect the "snow-byrd" to reach Warsaw until late tonight, about 6 to 8 o'clock.

The cruiser left Chicago early Thursday morning as scheduled. Long before the arrival of the snow cruiser in Warsaw and vicinity state police and members of the state hightway department had gathered along the route to clear a passage for the monster machine.

The snow cruiser was designed and built for Admiral Byrd and his Antarctic expedition by the Armour Institute of Technology Research Foundation at Chicago. The overland trip terminates at Boston, where the cruiser will be placed aboard a ship of the expedition to the South Pole.

Warsawan Howard Betz, of 512 North Lake street, played an important part in recent repair of the snow cruiser after it failed to operate properly Monday on its scheduled start through Indiana from Chicago. Former Physics Professor at Valparaiso university Betz was called to Armour Institute, Chicago where the cruiser was built to direct vital repairs and changes to a bearing which had failed to function properly and delayed its start. Betz made the needed repairs in one day.

Tested At Dunes
Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd's huge snow cruiser moved slowly across norther Indiana enroute to Boston today after completing on sun-baked Indiana sand dunes the maneuvers it will take a few months hence on the icy waters of the Antarctic.

State police convoying the grotesque behemoth on its shake-down cruise said the dunes test was completed before noon and the trip resumed along the broad pavement on U. S. road 6 on the first leg of the eight-day trek to Boston. From Plymouth it comes down U.S. 30 to Warsaw.

It is 55 feet long, 15 feet wide, weights 35 tons and has wheels 10 feet in diameter, each separately powered. It will carry a five-passenger plane on its roof and combines all the features of a deluxe trailer, machine shop, generating plant, and laboratory, complete with radio and meteorological recording equipment. It will also carry postoffice equipment.

It can cruise 5,000 miles with one year's supplies for a crew of four. It's radical design, including wheels that turn separately and in combination and can be retracted or slipped forward or backward, will enable it to span crevasses as wide as 15 feet.

The cruiser will follow a surveyed route and will make stops at Fort Wayne, Mansfield, O., Akron, Fredonia, N.Y., Auburn, N.Y., Albany, N.Y., Framingham, Mass., and Boston.

Warsaw Daily Times Thurs. October 26, 1929

Snow Cruiser Leaves City for Fort Wayne

Continues on Its way East After Delay
Hub Camps are Removed So Machine Can Cross Bridge West of This City
Crew Fed by C. of C.

Columbia City, Ind., Oct. 27 Admiral Richard E. Byrd's snow cruiser came out loser in its first encounter with a truck Friday. It sideswiped a vehicle driven by Lloyd Bowman, Newcastle, Pa., and a hub cap was torn from the cruiser. The truck escaped serious damage. State police said the cruiser might spend the night in Fort Wayne, 24 hours behind schedule.

The cruiser has developed motor trouble here this afternoon after striking the truck and was being "held up indefinitely." Authorities refused to say whether it would remain here overnight or go on to Fort Wayne. ~~~~~~~~~~~~

Refreshed by a night's rest the crew of the snow cruiser under command of Dr. Thomas Poulter, second in command of the Byrd Antarctic expedition to the South Pole, left the Helvy Standard Oil station at Center and High streets for its trip to Boston at 7:30 o'clock Friday morning. Due to delays the cruiser spent the night in Warsaw.

Accompanied by a detail of state police the cruiser started on its journey which is an average speed of 17 miles an hour, after the motor was turned up and a few minor adjustments were made.

Even with the early start crowds of several hundred people witnessed the snow cruiser wend it way from the Helvy filling station out highway No. 30, East Center street, until it disappeared over the White hill.

A six-hour delay was encountered in Columbia City when a large semi-trailer truck sideswiped the cruiser barged in its side and knocked off a hub cap. The accident occurred while the cruiser was negotiating Columbia City streets at 9:45. The truck owned by a Newcastle, Pa., firm was enroute to Chicago and while damaged somewhat was able to proceed to Chicago.

The first stop is Fort Wayne. Other stops enroute are Mansfield and Akron, Ohio; Fredonia, Auburn, and Albany, New York; Framingham and Boston, Mass. At Boston it will be dismantled and put aboard ship for Little America.

Tired and Weary
Tired and weary to the point of exhaustion, Dr. Thomas Poulter second in command of the expedition and his South Pole bound crew, rested in Warsaw Thursday night, the guests of the Warsaw Junior Chamber of Commerce, while their behemoth of the land, a 37-ton snow cruiser, stood in the midst of a crowd of thousands of curious at the corner of Center and High streets here.

Long delayed by undreamed-of obstacles and traffic troubles generated by its own immense size, the gigantic cruiser slithered and weaved its way into Warsaw at 10 o'clock last night. Throngs of onlookers, who had withstood the onslaught of two hours of steady rain, cheered wildly as the grotesque giant rounded the corner of Lake street on to Center. Three double tiers of state police cars, red lights flashing a warning, led the cruiser and cleared traffic.

Engine, Cruiser Meet.
Ironically enough, as it not beset by already a multitude of troubles, the cruiser met the Winona Railroad's giant Diesel engine on the main street of town, almost within a stone's throw of its stopping place. The train was forced to give way until the snow cruiser had pulled to the curb. Its outside wheels cleared the train only by inches.

The ominous-appearing procession almost met disaster at the Orion and Walnut creek bridges, four miles and one mile west of Warsaw. Local officials had sounded the Warsaw fire siren as the word was flashed that the cruiser had passed through Etna Green. Natives of Kosciusko county, realizing the tightness of the situation which would develop, flocked to the Orion bridge.

Thousands Watch Crossing
Here in almost utter silence, the crowd seemingly awed by the enormity of the monster facing them, a thousand persons stood in the rain and watched the resourceful cruiser crew solve the problem of crossing a narrow bridge. The cruiser is 19 feet and 6 inches wide. The bridge measures just 20 feet. Dr. Poulter ordered the hub-caps removed to save even those few precious inches. For two hours he caused the "20th century mammoth" to shimmy, shake and twist its way across the narrow span. At times it seemed an impossibility.

After successfully naviagating this bridge, the weary crew spent another hour worming the land-ship through the Walnut creek bridge. At long last, crew and ship reached Warsaw, their haven for the night.

The snow cruiser, when on the Orion bridge extended from rail to rail in width with only inches to spare, and when the front of the cruiser reached the east edge of the bridge, the rear was still only one-quarter of the way across the span. Its enormous size could well be appreciated at that spot.

Crew Fed Here
Junior Chamber of Commerce executives, who had journeyed to Bourbon to extend their invitation, fed Dr. Poulter and his crew and furnished them beds for the night. Honored by the thought of this machine, which will journey to the South Pole to claim the last bit of unclaimed land for the United States, stopping here, the town extended the men a royal welcome.

The strings of colored lights erected only at Christmas and county fair times, were lighted through the city. An air of festivity hung over the streets in spite of the downpour of rain.

City and state police, in conjunction with state highway workers labored through the rainly hours to keep trafic cleared in the town. Observers declared that never had such a press of automobiles and persons beseiged our city before.

Traffic Is Problem
Approach of the cruiser to Warsaw presented the local police department with the hardest trafic problem they have had to face in years. Aided by state highway workers, Policeman Harve Matthews stood in the driving rain and by dint of hard work managed to keep the intersection of Center and Lake streets clear. Officer Judd Pittenger at Buffalo and Center faced a like problem. Police were handicapped by motorists driving their cars up to the intersection and then stopping. They were moved on with difficulty. Streets entering onto North Lake street were hopelessly blocked. Outlying streets were lined with parked cars for blocks and a steady stream of cars that could find no parking space moved by officers Matthews and Pittenger until the cruiser moved onto Center street. Some difficulty was experienced in clearing a lane for traffic that followed the cruiser after it had been parked for the night.

After their few hours of needed rest (the crew of the cruiser had handled it for 20 hours on end) the dauntless group continued on its way early Friday morning. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Warsaw, Ind., Oct. 27 --UP--A giant snow cruiser, built to cross Antarctic wastes undaunted by crevasses 15 feet wide, was unable to buck crowds of curious Hoosiers and bedded down here for the night, some 40 miles short of its first scheduled stop at Fort Wayne.

Fire sirens blasted out to announce its approach to town and a crowd estimated at 10,000 persons jamed its right-of-way as it rolled along at a snail's pace of six miles an hour. Police estimated the crowd exceeded the population of Warsaw by some 3,000 persons.

The Junior Chamber of Commerce hurriedly organized to find some place to house the grotesque behemoth which will take Admiral Richard E. Byrd on his next expedition to Little America.

The other trouble encountered by its crew last evening occurred on a bridge just outside of town. The crew spent an hour and a half figuring out how to get the cruiser across; then finally removed the hub-caps from its ten foot wheels to clear the bridge walls.

A heavy downpour failed to discourage the waiting crowd.

Left Early Thursday
The cruiser left Chicago early yesterday morning and its crew expected to make Fort Wayne, Ind., before nightfall. But they reconed without the curiosity of Hoosiers.

Crowds at Plymouth were so large that additional state police were called to handle the people who lined the right-of-way. The same story faced the cruiser at each suceeding town. In most cases fire sirens and whistles were blown to announce its approach.

The cruiser, which was designed by Dr. Thomas C. Poulter, scientific director of the Armour Research Foundation and a veteran of the second Byrd Antarctic expedition is 55 feet long and 15 feet wide. The entire route of its trip to Boston, where it will be dismantled for shipment to Little America, must be cleared of other traffic to allow its passage.

It has living quarters for its crew of four, a machine shop, generating plant and laboratory complete with radio and meteorological recording equipment and a postoffice. As a crowning touch, a five-passenger airplane will ride on its roof when it begins its official work.

Dr. Poulter put the cruiser through its paces at Chicago before leaving and later yesterday gave it a second shakedown on the Indiana sand dunes where experts said the sand most nearly simulated the snow and ice of the southern polar regions.

Warsaw Daily Times Friday, Oct. 27, 1939

"Snow Cruiser" Nears City for Overnight Stop

Craft Progressing Slowly On Trip From Chicago; to be Here Tonight

With its progress attracting bewildered gazes along the route, the bizarre Antarctic snow cruiser moved laboriously along the highway from Chicago to Fort Wayne today on the first leg of an overland trip to Boston. The enormous steel craft which Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd will use on his expedition to the South Pole rumbled out of Chicago before daybreak today after a series of unforeseen delays.

Fort Wayne, meanwhile, continued to make preparation for an unofficial reception tonight, although it was not ascertained whether the cruiser would arrive early enough for eager thousands to view the strange behemoth. Indiana State Police received the huge "ice buggy" at the state line and started relays of escorts.

The cruiser lumbered out of Gary shortly before 11 a.m. following tests on the Indiana sand dunes. It was reported that due to varying speeds of the cruiser, the time of arrival here could not be accurately estimated. Barring any unforeseen hitches, however, it was expected to reach here "by evening."

Dr. Thomas C. Poulter, scientific director of Armour Institute's research foundation, who is at the controls, asserted that sand tests of the 75,000 pound cruiser he designed for Antarctic exploration proved it was "far beyond our expectations."

The Chicago scientist was elated by the performance of the polar juggernaut in sand fields near Gary. Dr. Poulter said any necessary adjustments or repairs would be made tonight at Fort Wayne.

Progress on the first stages of the journey was slower than anticipated by Dr. Poulter, who was at the controls. At daybreak, shortly before 6 a.m. the cruiser rolled into Hammond, having travelled about 23 miles since it started from Grant Park on the Chicago lake front at 2:45 a.m. On Chicago's outer drive, the cruiser moved rapidly along at a speed of about 20 miles an hour, but for most of the distance to the city limits, the machine traveled at only half that speed because of turns and underpasses.

Approved by Designer
After testing the cruiser, Dr. Poulter jumped gleefully from the cruiser and explained, "It's perfect," according to word received here. He said the machine could reach a speed of 25 miles an hour on straight stretches of road, but probably will only average 10 or 12 miles an hour. Such progress will bring the cruiser into Fort Wayne late tonight for an overnight stay.

It will arrive on U. S. Highway 30, entering the city on St. Mary's Avenue and traveling south to Pape Street. It then will proceed to the Van Buren Street bridge and south on Van Buren to Washington Boulevard which will be followed east to Maumee Avenue and thence to the Bueter Road. The cruiser will be stored for the night in front of the International Harvester plant. Floodlights will be played on the cruiser so that spectators may get a close glimpse of the unusual craft.

Because the interior would not accommodate large crowds and because there would be little to be seen inside, crowds will be permitted to see only the exterior which is 15 feet high, 20 feet wide and 55 feet long. An area will be roped off permitting spectators to approach within 10 feet of the craft.

The state and city police departments will provide escorts through the city and will handle traffic and parking at the Harvester plant. The cruiser is scheduled to leave for Ohio on Road 30 at about 8 a.m. the next morning.

An interesting sight will be the manuevering of wheels to make turns at about 5 locations in the city. Each of the huge 10-foot wheels can be used in steering. Wheels can be turned at a 5-degree angle and the cruiser is capable of turning in a circle within its own length.

Fort Wayne News Sentinel October __ 1939

Snow Cruiser in Speed Mark

Takes Less than Hour and a Half to Pass Fort Wayne

Bulletin Lima, O. Oct. 28 UP The 35-ton snow cruiser which Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd is to take to the Antarctic hit a bridge one-half mile east of Gomer today, turned over on its side and went into Pine Run.

The massive snow cruiser, which has been lumbering toward Boston where it will embark, plunged into the creek when its left front wheel struck part of the bridge and was knocked off. The cruiser went on its left side.

The accident occurred on route 30 about three hours after the big piece of machinery, which has been the marvel to thousands along the route since it left Chicago, left Indiana and entered Ohio. ~~~~~~~~~~~~

Fort Wayne, Ind. Oct. 28 --UP--Admiral Richard E. Byrd's giant 37-ton snow cruiser lumbered into town and out again this morning, some 36 hours behind schedule and still 845 miles short of Boston, where it will embark for Little America.

The cruiser wasted no time here. Taking less than an hour and a half to pass through the city, it set a new mark for speed. Originally the crew had planned to spend last Thursday night here.

The cruiser's crew of four worked until early Saturday morning installing new pressure equipment that controls the steering of the juggernaut. The original apparatus ceased to function properly Friday after the cruiser sideswiped a truck at Columbia City.

They finished the repairs early Saturday and arrived in Fort Wayne 21 miles away, just five hours later.

The cruiser has been slowed all along its route by the crowds of spectators who wanted a look at the gigantic machine and by bridges.

The snow cruiser had its baptismal bath of snow Saturday morning when a flurry blew up at 7:30. Although it lasted only a few minutes, the weather bureau recorded it as the first snow of the year.

Bridges have proved the major hazard. At three so far the crew has been forced to remove the hub caps from its 10-foot wheels exposing the motors that control its movements, to allow precious additional inches of clearance. One bridge took two hours to cross, another an hour. Because of this, the crew would not venture to guess when they will arrive in Boston.

Warsaw Daily Times, Saturday Oct. 28, 1939

Truck Brushes "Snow Boat" at Columbia City

Three-Hour Delay Caused by Damage, Inspection; Will Stay Here Tonight

The monstrous "snow cruiser" designed to take all obstacles of Antarctica in stride today was inching its way toward Fort Wayne between spasmodic breakdowns and unforeseen delays. Scheduled to whisk its way through Fort Wayne this morning on a delayed schedule, the giant, bizarre vehicle was still stranded in Columbia City at noon.

The 75,000-pound "snow boat" emerged loser in its first skirmish with Hoosier traffic this morning and was laid up by the damage and inspection for three hours.

The cruiser sideswiped a semi-trailer truck belonging to Bourman Peebles Company of New Castle, Pa., and driven by Lloyd Bowman at the west edge of Columbia City. The truck escaped without serious damage but the collision took a hubcap off the cruiser. Its crew gave it a thorough going over before picking up the trail to Boston once more. The huge hub caps contain the housing for generators.

The crew removed all the additional hub-caps from its 10-foot wheels so they would be able to clear the walls of a bridge outside of town. They expected to take "about an hour" to cross the bridge.

State police unofficially guesed that the cruiser might spend the night in Fort Wayne, just 24 hours behind schedule.

The monstrous machine was forced to bed down in Warsaw last night when crowds of curious Hoosiers and narrow bridges slowed it to a snail's pace.

The schedule, repeatedly juggled, placed the Fort Wayne arrival time at "sometime in mid-afternoon" if other halts and retarded speed did not hamper the progress. Dr. Thomas C. Poulter, designer of the huge craft, had scheduled an eight-day itinerary on the overland trip from Chicago to Boston, where it would be delivered to Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd for the expedition of Little America. Almost two days of that time will have been used in getting the cruiser across Indiana.

Fort Wayne News-Sentinel Friday, Oct. 27, 1939

Back to YesterYear in Print