Sunday, April 23, 2017

Cunard Royal Mail Steamship sailings, 1842

George W. Brown.  Building The Canadian Nation.  J.M. Dent & Sons (Canada) Ltd., 1942, Revised & Reprinted 1950, Reprinted 1951.

Heavy hammers

Like I said, I like hammers.

Sidecar Sunday

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Cars in the 'hood, Bug Eye Sprite

 A little rusted and a little smoky, nevertheless it's nice to see this rare little thing driving around.

Tracking icebergs

Larry Milberry, Aviation in Canada, McGraw-Hill Ryerson 1979
Ever since the Titanic disaster, the US coast guard has been tracking icebergs for the safety of navigation, the job got a lot easier with the advent of reliable airplanes. During WW2 the area west of Greenland and off the BC coast was assigned to the Canadian Meteorological Service. Until 1959 Lancasters were used, flying from Comox and Rockcliffe. Douglas DC4s, owned by Kenting Aviation replaced the Lancasters- including this one with added observational capacity. The canopy above the pilots area is from a F86 Sabre. Kenting also had the contract to photograph and map Canada's arctic using war surplus B17s for the job
In 1972 the DC4s were replaced by Lockheed Electras flown by Nordair.

Ontario industries, 1942

The New Educator Encyclopedia.  Toronto:  General Press Service, 1942.

Light hammers

I love hammers!  There is no tool that so clearly defines the multitude of trades that used to exist. You could tell a tradesman from his hammer.  I remember reading somewhere that there were more than 200 different kinds of hammers made in Britain a century or so ago.

Funk & Wagnalls New Practical Standard Dictionary.  Britannica World Language Edition.  1946, 1957.

CNR Pacific Locomotive 5611

John Westwood, The World Steam Train Album, Bison Group 1993
On a cold January day in January 1957 locomotive 5611 gets under way. This locomotive was built for the the Grand Trunk in 1911 and worked till the end of the steam era.

Friday, April 21, 2017

UB-110 Control Room

UB-110 had the distinction of possibly being the last German U-boat to be sunk in World War I.

For more history and photos, go to Inside the German submarine SM UB-110, 1918.

Vanished tool makers: Jones & Lamson, Springfield, Vermont

Photographed at the American Precision Museum when I visited there a few years ago.

In 1858, Lamson & Goodnow partnered with B. Buchanan Yale to purchase the assets of a private armory called the Robbins & Lawrence Company in Windsor, Vermont.  (The building is now the site of the American Precision Museum.) They initially renamed the firm Lamson, Goodnow & Yale but eventually Ebenezer Lamson took it over, renaming it E.G. Lamson & Co. They continued to make machine tools and Ball and Palmer carbines. In 1868, Russell Jones moved his textile manufacturing equipment into the area, and the company became Jones, Lamson & Company, now adding the production of textiles alongside the manufacturing of guns, machines for making guns, sewing machines, and various other machine tools.  (After the American Civil War, Lamson changed the name of his firm to the Windsor Manufacturing Company, and by 1870, he had sold his arms making tools and machinery to Winchester and Smith & Wesson.) Combining textile and machine tool production turned out to be a bad idea, so in 1876 the machine manufacturing part of the business became the Jones & Lamson Machine Company.  Business slowed down in the 1880's and Springfield, Vermont offered the company tax concessions, so the firm relocated there in 1888. James Hartness joined the firm as Superintendent in 1989, focusing production on turret lathes. 


Above images from Howard Monroe Raymond, Modern Shop Practice. Chicago: American Technical Society, 1919:
Above, from George W. Barnwell (Editor).  The New Encyclopedia of Machine Shop Practice.  New York:  Wm. H. Wise & Co., Inc., 1941.
Jones & Lamson prospered and became a very important machine tool manufacturer, particularly of the Fay Automatic Lathe.  This was a significant advance in production turning that was made obsolete only with the development of CNC.

George W. Barnwell (Editor).  The New Encyclopedia of Machine Shop Practice.  New York:  Wm. H. Wise & Co., Inc., 1941.
For photos of their factory, go to Vintage Machinery.

Workers trained in their works went off to start their own companies and by the 1930's there were more than 50 companies making machine tools in what came to be called Vermont's "Precision Valley."  During World War II, the company's president served on the national commission on the standardization of screw threads. Those were the glory days. In 1964, Jones & Lamson was acquired by the Rhode Island-based conglomerate, Textron.  The new owners invested money in modernization, but there was a price to be paid for giving up local ownership.  Dun & Bradstreet, the financial ratings service, estimated that between 1968 and 1976 absentee parent companies like Textron were responsible for more than half of all manufacturing jobs lost in New England due to plant closings and ''runaway'' shops. A U.S. recession in 1980 hit the industry harder, as did competition from cheaper Japanese machine tool makers.  In fact, in 1982, 50 percent of new lathes bought in the U.S. were of foreign manufacture.  

In 1980, Textron split the company into two divisions.  The lathe division remained in Springfield, while the optical comparator division, J&L Metrology was moved to South Carolina.  (That move proved unsuccessful, since about 70 highly skilled workers were left behind in Springfield.  Fellows Gear Shaper bought J&L Metrology and brought it back to Springfield where it is now privately owned.) Layoffs at Jones and Lamson reduced the workforce from nearly 1200 to closer to 200 in 1981. In September 1983, Textron announced that it would be moving its operations out of Vermont. The Springfield facility would only be used to assemble lathes, while the specialized machine tools were moved to a more efficient plant in Cheshire, Connecticut, with further production from a plant in Lot, Belgium.  About 180 Springfield jobs were lost.  In 2002, Bourn & Koch purchased the assets of Jones & Lamson and Fellows, and continues to provide spare parts for these machine tools.