Including Details of the Tuscan Gyro-Stabilized, Half-Track, Trail Bike
Several people have written to me in recent months about the Gyro-X project, adding their knowledge and observations, for which I am very grateful. I have edited their comments for presentation purposes, so that they can be shared with others who are interested in this subject.
Tuscan -- Gyro-Stabilized, Half-Track, Trail Bike
We learned about this fascinating off-shoot of the Gyro-X project from Richard R Fuller of Jacksonville, Florida. Richard's father was one of the founding associates with Gyro Transport Systems (GTS). His name was Richard H. Fuller and he was the purchasing analyst for them. The younger Richard Fuller contacted us while searching the web for material on GTS which until very recently he thought was called Tuscan something. He was only 14 when the company started in Salt Lake City, Utah. He reports that within two years the company was disolved, ending hopes of moving to Ponce, Puerto Rico to build the manufacturing plant.
However, during that time, when the company was located in Northridge,
he met Alex Tremulys, Tom Summers, Al Crane, and Ed Davis. When the company
dissolved, Richard's father was offered a job at American Airlines and
the family moved to Tulsa. But the younger Richard kept a lot of materials,
including an 8x10 glossy of the Gyronaut X-1 signed by Alex Tremulus to
his father, and the product brochure for the Tuscan. Richard kindly scanned
the brochure for display on the web.
The Hellfire Connection
A considerable amount of very useful background information was supplied to me by Jerry Goldstein, who also filled in some details of the Gyro Hawk kit car. Here's what Jerry told me:
"What happened to the Gyro-X was relayed to me by Tom Summers when I tracked him down in 1991, after realizing the need for a small, enclosed and stabilized motorcycle. An old timer had seen the Science & Mechanics article and I researched it. I found Alex Tremulus just before he passed away and through his wife was able to get in touch with Tom Summers. I visited Tom and we talked about the article.
"Tom had his own gyroscope company in the fifties, and contracted with the US Forest service to build several prototype mechanical mules for carrying ore from copper mines located on US forest preserves that were remote and inaccessible except by pack mules. The idea was to build a mono-trak vehicle that could access the mine through the wilderness without having to build roads through the prime forest. Tom developed several testbeds, generating considerable interest and attracting Alex Tremulus and a group of investors from the University of Utah who wanted to build a prototype passenger car using Toms designs.
"An investment group was formed and a prototype built. The car was built in Los Angeles. The body design is by Alex Tremulus who also styled the Ford Thunderbird and the Ford Gyron (note: we plan to add more about the 2-wheeled Gyron soon).
"The car prototype actually used the powerplant from one of the ore mules which belonged to the US government. Tom maintains that the investment group attempted to steal his patented designs and go ahead on the project without compensating him. He sued the group and effectively killed the project, but it left him ruined financially.
"He was retired from Tally Corporation in 1988 when it was acquired by Hughes after old man Tally died. The new owners found Tom " wandering the halls" and put him out to pasture, not realizing he was the foremost inertial guidance engineer of the post WWII era. Toms design of the Hellfire missile guidance system is still in use today. Tom tried unsuccessfully to bring the gyrocar to reality several times over the period from 1968 until his patents expired some twenty odd years later."
Jerry feels that Tom is something of a national treasure, and an unsung
hero. "He invented the vertical sensing device that became the key
to the success of the Norton bombsite in WWII. The Germans tried to entice
him into sharing his information with them but the U.S. Gov't put Tom
to better use here. Tom had his own gyroscope company in the '50s and
was a pioneer in the field of inertial guidance. He held over 100 patents.
Tom worked for Tally corporation in the '70s, perfecting the guidance
system of the Hellfire missile for which Tally was a prime contractor.
His effort to produce the gyro vehicle began with the ore carrying "mules"
that provided the powerplant and gyro for the car that appeared in Science
and Mechanic in 1968."
Check out the Tuscan Brochure
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