The postcard view, printed in France, dates from around 1900. It shows the tram terminus at Passy, which was next to Passy railway station and Town Hall.
The trams are cars 65 and 64 (with the trailer) of the Compagnie Générale des Omnibus, which were built in 1900, and are compressed air trams working on the Mékarski principle. They were painted brown, with white destination boards. They are on the route TJ from Passy to Paris, Hotel de Ville. Between the trams is the compressed air, water, and coke charging point.
The small view (right) is a Paris CGO 1900 series Mékarski car in 1910 on route TAF going from Montrouge to Saint Augustine, from postcard 4013 in a series on Paris transport produced by "N.D.Phot".
Each tram had 8 reservoir cylinders under the floor, in which a charge of compressed air at 80 atmospheres was stored. The air was then supplied via a regulator to two driving cylinders, at about 8-10 atmospheres. Mounted on the front platform near the regulator, was a cylindrical tank known as a "Bouillotte", where a small amount of steam was produced and mixed with the air, hence the need for water and coke at the terminus. The steam raised the pressure by two atmospheres, but more importantly stopped ice (due to decompression) forming in the pipes, and lubricated the driving cylinder walls.
For full details of this unusual type of tram, see Compressed Air Trams.
Also see Postcard of Paris Accumulator Tram
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