When Early 1900′s Puck Clutch Technology Is FTW!

In the early 1900′s automotive engineers were trying some crazy stuff.  That is one of the reasons that I love older cars so much.  These guys didn’t really have a “norm” to start with, so they attempted to create it.  Cars in general were in their infancy and each manufacturer was completely different than the next.

The other day I spotted an engine that still had an old clutch assembly attached.  It was something that I had never seen before so I snapped off a few quick pics.  Judging by the planetary gears on the back of the clutch, it was probably from a tractor or some piece of farm equipment, but it was cool looking & genius design nonetheless.   It vaguely resembled a modern puck clutch with it’s multi-pad design.  From what I am told, you could swap those friction pads out without pulling the transmission.  Now that is a good idea!  Just imagine how much cheaper clutch jobs would be if the transmission didn’t need to come out.  Even if clutches didn’t last as long, it could be a 30K mile service that is 1 hour of labor, and likely ~ $50 in friction material.  What am I missing here?  Why was this design lost in history?  Why doesn’t somebody reinvent this for ultimate profit?  What the heck?

Exedy? You listening?