View Full Version : Jules Verne's "Tigers and Traitors"-Questions
09-04-2011, 08:26 AM
I can't locate this old classic in my library-or any branch libraries in the system.
At any rate-the steam powere elephant that drew thge carriage (with the heroe's party)-how was it fueled?
It looked like a really cool innovation-did anybody actually build one?
09-04-2011, 07:05 PM
"Tigers and Traitors" was the English title of the second volume. The first was the Demon of Cawnpore. Together, the two volumes are called the Steam House, referring to the steam-powered elephant plus the passenger cars it dragged. For some treason, the Classics Illustrated version used the title "Tigers and Traitors" for the whole story.
The book is availble online (as are many of Verne's, although the translation may be questionable*):
According to Wikipedia:
In fact, Steam cars of various types an designs were actually being built at the time of writing, though none in the shape of en elephant is known
The entire Classics Illustrated version has been available online, but I hesitate to link to any copies. Look it up via search engine.
As for what powers the steam engine, I can't recall if they even say. Wood, I'd assume, since it travels through forests. I'll have to check.
*The ARCO edition, published by ACE in paperback in two volumes, deletes an entire chapter of The Demon of Cawnpore. Fortunately, I have other editions.
09-04-2011, 09:53 PM
By the way, Verne was probably inspired , possibly indirectly, by Edwin Ellis' 1868 "dime novel' the Steam Man of the Prairies. This was, in turn, the inspiration for Luis Senarens' 1876 novel Frank Reade and his Steam Man of the Plains (Frank Reade was Tom Swift before there was a Tom Swift)
Here's a picture frokm Ellis' book:
Here's a picture from the Frank Reade book:
"Frank Reade" pretty obviously copied Ellis. Note that in both cases, you've got a steam engine in the form of a biological creature, pulling a cart with people, just as in Verne's book. The Steam House came out in 1880, after both of these examples.
I don't know if Verne knew about Ellis. He was familiar with Frank Reade, and I believe he corresponded with the author. His Robur the Conqueror reportedly owes a debt to one of the Reade books.
Verne's contemporaries aren't as well known as he is, and we temnd to overlook other influences of the era in consequence. Many of the ideas in the novels of Verne and of H.G. Wells had been written about earlier by others.
09-04-2011, 11:04 PM
I've just flipped through my paperback edition, and it says directly that
...Nothing could be better arranged in that way, for in the furnace any kind of fuel may be burnt, either wood or coal...
That's pretty much what you'd expect of a steam engine -- the fuel for the fire isn't important, as long as it boils the water to make steam. And the engine is compared many times to that of a steam locomotive,so you'd expect it to burn coal or wood. Nevertheless, without regular coaling stations (as along a railway), I'd expect to burn wood in the jungles of India, and not count on finding coal.
(That's from page 44 of The Demon of Cawnpore, edited by I.O. Evans, Ace Books, copyright 1959, although the paperback edition came out about ten years later. No translator given. )
As for Elephant-shaped vehicles, Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri evidently has a ride called Elephant March, which features rider-controlled mechanical elephants. The pictures don't look too sexy, though:
It's basically the same as Disney's Dumbo ride, and rider control is limited to "up" and "down"
To commemorate the hundredth anniversary of Jules Verne's death in 2005, a mechanical elephant called "The Sultan's Elephant" was buil6t:
Here's axstory about mechanical elephants in 1950s Britain:
Here's Peter Sellers on a British mechanical elephant:
More mechanical elephants:
I don't see any huge, practical steam-engine elephants, though. Or even a gasoline or diesel-powered one.
09-05-2011, 05:25 PM
Thanks for the info-I always liked the idea of a steam-powered elephant pulling a car..nice to see that some inventors have tackled it.
Reminds me of the movie "Wild West"-that huge steam powered spyder was cool!
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