Thursday, January 19, 2017

Trenton, Hollywood North

You'd never know it now but Trenton was an important film production centre 100 hundred years ago during the silent film era. In 1917, the film studio shown above was built in the town (on Film St. of course) and over 1500 productions were filmed there in the 17 years it was in operation. In 1923, the Trenton Film Plant was purchased by the Ontario government to house the studio and laboratory of the Ontario Motion Picture Bureau. The advent of talkies and 16mm film made the equipment at the film plant obsolete and it was closed in 1934.

Cool WWII Cover Art: Scramble Dieppe (1980)

Starting in 1978 and published by Sphere Books in England, there were eventually six books in this "Squadron" series:  Sons of the Morning ( Squadron 1), The Sun Climbs Slowly (2), Scramble Dieppe (3), Desert Spitfire (4), Whirlwind at Arromanches (5) and Massacre at Falaise (6).  They follow the adventures of Piper Squadron as it fights its way through WWII.

Sadly, I found the writing to be indifferent, and replete with too many clumsily composed and unnecessary sex scenes.  I'm not going looking for the other books in the series.

W.D. Sisson & his Cannon Ball diving submarine, 1917

Grolier Encyclopedia.  1957.
"Jesus, John, will you please stop that interminable whistling!"

I found this intriguing photo in an old encyclopedia I picked up.  A little online research unveiled more information.  It was so named because of its resemblance to a giant cannon ball.  The American inventor, W.D. Sisson, seems to have collaborated with the more famous  engineer, Simon Lake, on this vessel.  I can't find any information on whether it was ever actually used, or what its ultimate fate may have been.

MotorBoating, August 1918

The Engineer, November 2, 1917

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Speed Spook

Accelerator September 1925

Motorcycle goes 300 miles an hour!

The illustration would make a terrific T-shirt design!

Back-Geared, Upright Drilling Machine, 1926

The Starrett Book for Motor Machinists and Auto Repair Men.  Athol, Mass.:  The L.S. Starrett Co., 1926.
These old line drawings are beautiful.

Made by the Aurora Tool Works of Aurora, Indiana, a short-lived firm (approximately 1898-1906).

The tiny script under the base reads "Courtesy of Niles-Bement Pond Co."  This was a huge machine tool manufacturer at one time which, among other acquisitions, bought Pratt & Whitney in 1901.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

1959 Aston Martin DB4

3,670 cc twin OHC 6 cylinder engine, three 2 bbl Webers, 302 hp at 6000 rpm, 170 mph.  Tubular frame, 4 wheel disc brakes. That's exciting enough...

Toledo Scale Model 4031

I found this lovely old Toledo Scale on display at a local restaurant, one of those industrial sculpture things we took for granted in butcher shops and grocery shops all our lives. What struck me was the prominently displayed Made in Canada badge.
 Toledo Scale opened its first Canadian operation in 1910 and expanded into a new factory on Howard Avenue in Windsor in 1921. The plant produced the full line, from small scales for the food and retail markets through to large drive-on scales. During the 1960s business was good and at one time more that 300 people were employed making scales. Change came when Reliance Electric acquired the business. The factory was closed in the mid eighties and the property sold in 1989. The buildings were demolished in 2001-03.

As for the U.S. parent company, Henry Theobald founded Toledo Scale in 1901, based on the invention of Allen DeVilbiss, Jr. who had devised an automatic computing pendulum scale but was uninterested in commercializing his invention. 
Theobald coined the phrase, "No Springs, Honest Weight" as a slogan for the new company and Toledo Scale became a leader in the field.  He passed away in 1924 but the company continued to innovate and grow, devising, in the 1930s a variation of bakelite named Plaskon for scale components, a scale for wind tunnels and developing the first solid state scale in the '60s. 
In 1967 Toledo Scale was acquired by Reliance Electric of Cleveland Ohio. Reliance closed the Toledo plant in 1984, splitting the work up between the plants at Windsor and Spartansburg NC. Soon after that the Canadian plant was closed 
Also in 1989, Reliance Electric sold the Toledo Scale division to Ciba-Geigy AG. The division was then merged with Mettler Instruments. 

Another job you wouldn't want to do: hand assembling British limousine bodies

Robert Ireson.  The Penguin Car Handbook, Revised Edition.  Penguin Books, 1967.
This car model was made from 1947 to 1968.  With assembly methods as archaic as this, it's no wonder the British automobile industry went into the dumpster.


Edna Fay Campbell, Victor L. Webb & William L. Nida.  The Old World Past and Present.  Chicago:  Scott, Foresman & Co., 1942.  A revision of the 1937 edition.

Krupp Reinhausen, 1950's.  From.  F. Roy Willis.  Western Civilization.  An Urban Perspective.  Volume III.  D.C. Heath & Co., 1973.