Friday, October 31, 2014

The Last Hurricane

Photos from: Paul Gallico, The Hurricane Story; Doubleday and Company 1960
 The last one of 14,583 units built from 1937 to 1944. Lettering under the cockpit reads "The Last of the Many!" This aircraft is still around, now flying with The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight

Steam engine drive wheel nomenclature

Yes, this will be on the test.

Another job you wouldn't want to do: working in a stocking factory, 1950's

1957 Encyclopedia Year Book.  The Story of Our Time.  The Grolier Society Inc.
Looks suspiciously like the typical urinal pose.

London Samson floating crane, 1962

The Port of London.  Official Handbook of the Port of London Authority.  1962
It stayed in operation until 1997, an impressive feat and a tribute to her Dutch builders.  More information at London Sampson floating crane.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Mobilgas Economy Run, 1955

Britool Bihexagon wrenches

8 Apr 1955 Autocar

We used to make things in this country. #169: Robert S. Bickle Company, Woodstock, Ontario

Below, an old fire extinguisher I have hanging in my shop, manufactured by Bickle-Seagrave Limited, Woodstock, Ontario.

The directions above read: 

 "Jerk tube off hook
thus removing the cap
Dash its contents
forcibly with sweeping
motion into the base
of the fire.

A few handfuls thrown
into the opening below
the flame will put out
flue fires."

According to Putting Out Fires and The Bickle Story by Walter M.P. McCall:

Starting in Winnipeg, Manitoba, in 1906, Robert Bickle founded the R.S.Bickle Company, specializing in two-wheeled, horse-drawn chemical carts.  In 1913, they moved to the former home of the defunct Woodstock Automobile Company in Woodstock, Ontario, expanding into the production of motorized fire equipment, including hook-and-ladder trucks.  In 1919, the company became Bickle Fire Engines Limited.  In the 1920's, they succeeded in becoming agents for the Cincinnati-based Ahren-Fox fire engines, manufacturing them entirely in Canada.  (One of these engines, purchased in 1924 by the Kingston Fire Department, still has pride of place in a Kingston firehall.  Years ago, a friend of mine who was a captain with the force and the only person qualified to operate the Ahrens-Fox, invited me to ride along on this vintage firetruck during the Kingston Santa-Claus parade.  It was a hoot!) The company's motto in 1928 was, "Strictly Canadian--Built by Canadians."  They offered four models of their own fire engine:  the "Volunteer," "Chieftain," "Woodstock" and "Canadian."  In 1936, they acquired the rights to sell the American Seagrave apparatus in Canada, becoming Bickle-Seagrave.  In 1945, family ownership was transferred to a Toronto holding company.  In 1954, a Woodstock industrialist bought the company, but financial difficulties forced the company into bankruptcy in 1956, but it was rescued by Vernon B. King, who renamed the company King-Seagrave.  Under various ownership, it prospered for the next few decades, but closed in 1982 and, after a brief reorganization, declared bankruptcy in 1984.

When milk was transported in metal cans

1957 Encyclopedia Year Book.  The Story of Our Time.  The Grolier Society Inc.
Michael J. Piva.  The Condition of the Working Class in Toronto--1900-1921.  University of Ottawa Press, 1979.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Lockheed Constellation

Len Martin, Airliners of the World, Arco Publishing 1966

Before UPS and FED EX

Vanished Tool Makers: Holub Industries Incorporated, Sycamore, Illinois

Above, my Holub Model 18-800 wire stripper and terminal crimping tool.  Apparently, it was advertised as the "Big-7."
Popular Mechanics, June 1969

Bert E. Holub (1904-1976) founded Holub Industries in 1946.  Its product line eventually included wire connectors; plastic straps and clamps; conduit and pipe straps; wiring tools; fuse specialties and testers; screw anchors and toggle bolts; masonry drills; and commutator maintenance products. These were sold under a number of trade names, principally “HI” ("Holub Industries") for the general line of products; “LOK-IT” for wire connector wrenches; “HI-RED” for plastic screw anchors; “WALLY” for screw fasteners; “TRIPLE-FLUTE” for percussion drills; and “TRU-START” for masonry core drills. 

Billboard, January 1953
Holub products found their way into aircraft, electrical appliances, lighting fixtures and even guided missiles. In 1963, with 800 products listed in their catalogue, the company had grown to the point where it could purchase the former Chicago & Northwestern Railroad Depot in Sycamore (now on the National Register of Historic Places), which included the warehouse, railroad siding and an entire block of land to the north.  This was the seventh addition to the original Holub plant since the company's founding.  Also scheduled to share the new space was a Holub subsidiary, Ace-Sycamore, which manufactured industrial blowers and cleaners , dust collectors , fume exhausers , magnetic floor sweepers , magnetic floor sweepers , electric spot welders and live lathe centers.  

Mr. Holub was quoted at the time as saying that that he was very confident of America s industrial future, security and growth. Ah, the 1960's.  

In the 1970's, possibly following Mr. Holub's death, the company became ITT Holub Industries, a division of the International Telephone & Telegraph Corporation. The company seems to have stayed afloat until the late 1980's, when the patents started to expire, copies of their tools flowed in from domestic and off-shore sources and the "All-American Handyman" pursued lower price points.

Popular Mechanics, June 1967
Popular Mechanics, May 1976
The competition

Luftwaffe: The Game of Aerial Combat Over Germany 1943-45

1971, Avalon Hill Game Co., Baltimore
Before computer simulations, we played board games!

Founded in 1958, Avalon Hill is still alive and kicking, although now a subsidiary of Hasbro.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The People's Car on parade

Deyan Sudjic, Cult Objects, Paladin Books 1985

Then known as Hitler's "Strength through Joy" car.

Hi Point motorcycle oil

A product from Hi-Point, a motorcycle apparel and accessory company founded by John Penton. Their MX boots were the standard of the day, helping the company to become the largest of its type in the US market.

Fascinating Stunts Teach Electricity, 1935

Have fun playing with 110 volts, or blowing aluminum powder into open flames!  Hey, get the kids involved!

Bicycle tube repair kits

Wind tunnel models of the F-15, 1969

Pennsylvania RR streamlined K4 Pacific

These locomotives were built between 1914 and 1928 and lasted till the end of steam in 1957. The streamlining shown here was first applied in 1936.
 In 1987 the K4 was designated the state of Pennsylvania official locomotive.

Monday, October 27, 2014

We used to make things in this country. #168: Black & Decker, Brockville, Ontario

The Black & Decker two-blade electric lawnmower that we inherited from my late father-in-law finally gave up the ghost. The windings on the motor failed.  Made in Brockville, Ontario, it boasted a cast aluminum deck.  It worked hard for over 40 years. Other than replacing belts and having to machine one shaft, the lawnmower needed little attention and performed yeoman service.   It was a lovely little machine, and will be missed.

Black and Decker opened a plant in Brockville in 1966.  Among other product lines, it was the main production facility for the Workmate for both the Canadian and US markets, which was introduced in 1975.  At its height in 1980, the plant employed 1100 people.  Things began to go south (literally) in 1985, when Workmate production was moved to São Paulo, Brazil under the corporate policies of"updated positioning," "rationalized markets" and "globalization."  Manufacturing at Brockville ended completely in January 1998, when 500 people lost their jobs.  In November 2011, Stanley-Black & Decker announced the loss of another 42 jobs as distribution operations were being consolidated in Mississauga.  I'm not sure if the company has any presence left in Brockville now.

So, my lawnmower has followed the factory that made it into oblivion.  There are still others out there who fondly remember the twin-blade electric mowers.  See, for example, GardenWeb.

Like me, my father-in-law always kept tool manuals.  So, for anyone who's interested, I've scanned and uploaded a copy of the manual: Manual for Black & Decker No. 5740 Electric Lawnmower.  Maybe it will help someone else keep their lawnmower running.

Morning rush hour in Moscow

Photo by Hans Sipma

Actually, Russian drivers performing "Autorodeo Vaz" at the Kodak Pacific Bowl during the "Specialized Period on Automobiles" at Expo '86 in Vancouver.

From The Expo Celebration.  The Official Retrospective Book. The 1986 World Exposition, Vancouver, May 2-October 13, 1986.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

1956 Dodge D-500

It's a real bomb!

Locomotive Northport

Ron Zeil, The Long Island Railroad in Early Photographs, Dover Publications, 1990

Brand new suburban tank engine delivered in January 1868 to the Long Island Railroad by the McQueen Locomotive Works of Schenectady NY.

Ram-Jet fuel economizer for 1978

The Saturday Evening Post, April 1978
Another product from the inventive mind of Ed Almquist, an early hot-rodder and speed tuner. He founded Almquist Engineering in 1946, which for the next decade was the largest mail-order speed equipment business in the U.S.

An actual evaluation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1980 found no significant improvements in fuel economy using the device, nor reductions in emissions.

Caveat emptor.

Another job you wouldn't want to do: Cleaning & rust-proofing at the Hupmobile plant, 1935

Herbert R. Simonds.  Finishing Metal Products.  New York:  McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1935.
"You're using the wrong grade of sandpaper," he sneered abrasively.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Sidecar Sunday

Photo by Alvin

Toronto Motorycle Dealers, H.M Kipp, Morison & Russell

Thanks, Kate!

Spanish Flu protection, Alberta, 1918

Phyllis A. Arnold, Penney Clark & Ken Westerlund.  Canada Revisited 8.  Arnold Publishing Ltd., 2000.
And today it's Ebola.  Spanish Flu was much, much worse.

Cornwell Quality Tools

Eugene Cornwell founded the company that bears his name in 1919.  He started out in a small blacksmith shop in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio but eventually moved to a larger facility in Mogadore.  He discovered that broken carriage axles made the best steel for punches, so he'd ask tool buyers to provide him with old axles.  In 2009, the company celebrated its 90th anniversary.  It is now employee-owned, with a forging plant in Albion Pennsylvania and a machining facility in Mogadore Ohio.  

They have a really interesting video on how their tools are made.