My Hemo Trip Taeller: A Danish Mechanical Odometer

A rally odometer that I have that I have not posted anything about it on this website is my Hemo Trip Taeller.  This odometer is completely different from any other rally odometer that I have seen.  It is a mechanical, circular, analogue odometer.  My Hemo Trip Taeller is shown below.

McKelvie Hemo (1)

My Hemo Trip Taeller

The Hemo Trip Taeller is a Danish rally odometer that dates from about 1960. It was produced by Henrik Mortensen in Silkeborg, Denmark.  The odometer has two hands, much like a clock.  The shorter hand works with the more interior scale on the face of the odometer.  The interior scale shows the distance traveled in kilometers.  As you can see from the above photo, one complete circuit represents a total distance of 30 kilometers.

The longer hand works with the outer scale and one complete circuit of the long hand represents a distance of 1 kilometer.  The identified numbers on the outside scale with the larger “ticks” indicates a 0.10 kilometer increment and each of the small dots represents a distance of 0.01 kilometer.

The white screw knob on the right side of the unit is the calibration screw to make the unit’s display match up with the rallymaster’s distance.

The son of the original designer of the Hemo Trip Taeller, Sune Mortensen, competed in the Historique Monte Carlo Rally in 2008, but sadly died in 2009.  Sune was driving a Saab 96 Monte Carlo with co-driver Erik Rasmussen in that rally.


Erik Ramussen & Sune Mortensen At The 2008 Historique Monte Carlo Rally

Nowadays, following the death of Sune Mortensen, Erik Rasmussen has acquired all of the needed tools and spare parts for the Hemo Trip Taeller.  These days Erik competes in a Peugeot 205 GTI together with Niels Gramstrup Mortensen, who the grandson of Henning Mortensen, the designer of the Hemo Trip Taeller.  In addition, Erik Rasmussen participated in this year’s Historique Monte Carlo Rally with Peter Karlsen, but unfortunately they had to withdraw after having completed ZR 5.  The Danish rally community appears to be a close knit group of people.

Karlsen Ramussen RMCH 2015

Peter Karlsen/Erik Rasmussen’s Golf GTI At The 2015 Historique Monte Carlo Rally

Peter Karlsen Erik Ramussen RMCH 2015

Peter Karlsen & Erik Rasmussen In The Rally Tent In Monaco

The sticker on the back of my Hemo Trip Taeller indicates that the unit was refurbished in 2006, so it is in very good condition.  Despite having this odometer for quite a few years now, I have not had the opportunity to use it.  I purchased the unit in order to have a mechanical odometer on hand in case a rally limited the type of odometers allowed to mechanical units only.  I wanted to be able to provide a driver with a mechanical odometer to fit in the car at short notice.

McKelvie Hemo (2)

A View Of The Back Of My Hemo Trip Taeller

The real advantage of the Hemo Trip Taeller is that it is completely adjustable.  At the center of the dial is a round knob that allows the navigator to turn the “big hand” either forward or backward to allow for direct fine tuning of the distance indicated.  Therefore if the odometer reading is off by 0.02 km, then this can be rectified by simply turning the central dial while on the run.  Other mechanical odometers, basically just allow the numbers to be re-zeroed, stopped or run backwards for adjustments.  The black lever at the bottom of the unit allows the Hemo Trip Taeller to be re-zeroed, if needed as well.

When I bought the Hemo from a fellow in Denmark, he sent me a page with some instructions.  That instruction sheet is shown below.

Hemo Trip Taeller Instructions

It is a certain disadvantage to have the display limited to 30.00 kilometers or miles, but this is more of an irritant that a real disadvantage, as most rally stages are shorter than 30 kilometers or miles.  Having an expanded scale would mean that the clarity would be reduced, unless the dial was significantly enlarged.  I would much rather have clarity than capacity.  Keeping a record of the number of complete rotations is not a major task.

The Hemo Trip Taeller is an interesting odometer that I was recently thinking about due to some email exchanges with some Danish rally people who were using the unit as backup in this year’s Historique Monte Carlo Rally.

Note: The rally photos were provided by Jens Gandrup Jorgensen.

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