Friday, September 22, 2017

Two Gals Go Motor Jaunting, 1943

From Motorcyclist.

Black Diamond Knife and Saw Sharpener

Photographed at the Elgin County Railway Museum in St. Thomas Ontario.  A lovely little machine tool.

Notice the phrase "The Only" cast into the top of the frame.  That's self-confidence! Founded in 1911, Black Diamond is still around!

According to What Is It Like to Live in Natick:

"The technique of figure-eight stitching for baseballs was developed here. They were made for years by H. Harwood & Sons (now condos) and stitched by women in their homes. 

And, thanks to the old Hostess/Wonder Bread factory that used to be on Speen Street, the town ­appeared in an episode of “Family Guy.’’ After a nuclear holocaust, Peter remembers that Twinkies are the only food that can survive such a calamity, and the family ventures out to find the factory in Natick."

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Ford for 1925

Still the Model T in 1925, the new Model A was still more than a year away.

CN #5700

Don Ball Jr., Portrait of the Rails, Galahad Books, 1972
CNRs lightly-streamlined Hudson locomotive #5700 leaving Toronto en route to Montreal. CN only had 5 such locomotives, preferring the larger 4-8-4 wheel arrangement.

We used to make things in this country. #271: Touralo Coach Company, Vancouver, B.C.

From 1945.  The copy writer was certainly a silver-tongued devil! Coal and wood stove, but no internet!

This company has left nary a trace on the web.

Nelson's signal at Trafalgar

Boatswain Trade Group One.  BRCN 3039 (64).  Royal Canadian Navy Trade Manual.  1964.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Torpedo motorcycle

On a recent trip to Davenport Iowa I happened upon a book chronicling the history of the Illinois town of Geneseo. In it was this entry, for a motorcycle I had never heard of. The manufacturer, the Horndecker Motor company was based in Whiting Indiana but later moved to Geneseo Illinois. See below.
 And apparently American Pickers is looking for an example.
Standard Catalog of American Motorcycles

Boyce Motometer

The Boyce Motometer was basically just a temperature gauge reading the radiator temperature, provided as an aftermarket item for cars of the teens, but it was one of the first engine condition indicators provided to the operator of a motor vehicle. Eventually auto manufacturers started to provide gauges as standard equipment and the market disappeared.

We used to make things in this country: #270. Silhouette dishware

Silhouette made large etched aluminum plates and trays like the one above.  Can anyone provide us with any information on this Canadian firm?

Exploded B.M.C. "Mini" engine

Robert Ireson.  The Penguin Car Handbook, Revised Edition.  Penguin Books, 1967.

Hooke joints, more commonly known over here as universal joints, were first investigated systematically by Robert Hooke beginning in 1667, and given the name "universal joint" by him in a treatise he published in 1676.  That far back!  It's also known as a U-joint, Cardan joint or Spicer joint.  The Wikipedia entry is quite fascinating, albeit (at least to me) equally abstruse. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Dayton Thorobred Cord tires, 1925

Sedan Delivery

Milling armature cores on a Becker milling machine

Howard Monroe Raymond.  Modern Shop Practice, Vol 3.
Chicago:  American Technical Society, 1902, 1919
That's a complicated jig!

Originally founded in 1899, Becker merged with Reed-Prentice in 1922.

We used to make things in this country. #269: Northern Pacific record player

A visitor sent me a photo of this lovely wooden-cased record player made by Northern Pacific.  The company may have been out of North Vancouver.  Can anyone shed any light on this firm?

Monday, September 18, 2017

Airplanes in formation, Mustang

Roger A Freeman; Mustang at War, Doubleday, 1974

See Chicago

Looks like a stained glass window.
The back cover to Seeing Great Chicago, 1929

The Rolleiflex: How a twin-lens reflex camera works

From Aaron Sussman.  The Amateur Photographer's Handbook.  Seventh Revised Edition.  
New York:  Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1941, 1965, 1967.

Vanished skills: Installing a mortise lock, 1951

From Walter E. Durbahn.  Fundamentals of Carpentry.  Volume II.  Practical Construction.  
Chicago:  American Technical Society, 1951.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Hard to resist

I don't need another micrometer but when you find them at a fleamarket in the original box like this...Fortunately the seller wanted more money than I wanted to pay so I don't own it.

Aerial warfare evolves

Edmund Hunter.  The Story of Arms and Armour.  Ladybird Books Ltd., 1971.
Illustrations by Robert Ayton.

Vanished tool makers: Dropstamco (Drop Stamping Company Ltd.) Birmingham, England

I recently acquired this set of "British Made" Dropstamco Whitworth wrenches.


There's not a lot of information online about this tool maker. According to the "New Companies" section of the November 23, 1934 issue of The Colliery Guardian, the company was founded that year:

Drop Stamping Co., Ltd. — (Private company.) Birch-road, Witton, Birmingham. To take over the business of hot forgings manufacturers carried on by C., H., and A. Hickman, at Witton, Birmingham. Nominal capital, £3,000 in £1 shares. Permanent directors C. Hickman. H. Hickman (chairman), and A. Hickman. Qualification of directors, £500 shares.

It's not clear from the above whether Messrs. Hickman had a previous business under their own names, or bought another company and became its directors.  In any event, I can't find any information on C., H., and A. Hickman.  The "Dropstamco" trademark wasn't filed until 1949. Below, the factory in 1951:

Source:  Britain from Above
I can't find any information on what happened to the company.


Sidecar Sunday

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Smiths Interval Timer

I rescued this device many years ago when a children's centre in Kingston was being closed down.  If I hadn't taken pity on it, it was headed for the dumpster.

As can be seen from the clock face, it was made by English Clock Systems, which was a branch of the  Clock and Watch Division of Smiths Industries Ltd.  Anyone who has owned a British motorcycle or car will recognize the Smiths name.  Founded in 1851, Smiths sold off the Clock and Watch Division in 1980, closing their last clock factory in 1983 and selling off their motor accessories business to Lucas.  They went on to buy Lear Siegler and to concentrate on the aircraft industry.  With a host of acquisitions, they became the Smiths Group in 2000.  The aerospace division was divested in 2007 and the company is doing very well today.

To see a short video history of the firm, visit the company website.

Rules for the International Fishermen's Race, Halifax, 1923

R. Keith McLaren.  Bluenose & Bluenose II.  Willowdale, Ontario:  Hounslow Press, 1981.

Ford V8 Station Wagon "Woodie" pedal car

Friday, September 15, 2017

Beginnings of the Pratt and Whitney aircraft engine company

In 1924, the Wright Aeronautical Corporation had just introduced the Whirlwind radial engine but the team that had developed the engine was not pleased with the direction management was taking the company. 
The president resigned, as did gifted engine designer George J. Mead and other members of the engineering team. Talks with officers of the Niles Bement and Pond company of Hartford Conn., a large machine tool company led to the formation of a new aircraft engine company named after the wing of the company building they would be located in. George Mead and his small team got immediately to work in a drawing office set up in Andy Wilgoos's garage in New Jersey. Six months later the first prototype of the new Wasp was assembled and running.
By the end of WW2, twenty years later, the company had built over 375,000 radial engines.
The factory on Capitol St. in Hartford. The first Wasp engine was built and assembled in the second building from the left foreground. Below, the complex today.

Cary Hoge Mead, Wings over the World, The Life of George Jackson Mead, The Swannet Press 1971

Another job you wouldn't want to do: sorting coal

The New Wonder Book Cyclopedia of World Knowledge.
Philadelphia & Toronto:  International Press, 1954.


The Practical Handyman's Encyclopedia, Volume 1.  Greystone Press, 1965, 1968.