Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Hurricane II Manual

You need this book-  not only if you're contemplating flying the one you have in the barn, fixing up something like this or this but if you're a fan of the Hawker Hurricane or of airplanes in general.  Produced by the Air Ministry and published by Greenhill books in 2003, it is a facsimile of the original manual.  Construction, maintenance and operation, every detail of this historically important airplane is covered in diagrams, photos and plans. We tend to think of airplanes of that time as being simple machines but a study of the oil and cooling systems, the electrical hydraulic and pneumatic systems reveal an impressively sophisticated and complex machine. The logistics of operating and maintaining a fleet of these machines is daunting. Below are a few illustrations found in the book.


Suzuki T10 1965

The 250 cc twin that Suzuki sold before introducing the 6 speed X6 in 1966. A mundane and fairly forgettable motorcycle. Note the complete absence of safety gear on the happy couple.

The accordion and Eva Braun

Richard B. Stolley (Editor), Life World War 2.  History's Greatest Conflict 
in Pictures.  A Bullfinch Press Book (Little, Brown & Company) 2001.
Proof that the accordion can be used for evil ends.

We used to make things in this country. # 34 : Neilson Chemical Company, Windsor, Ontario

I found this old bottle of metal prep fluid in my late father-in-law's garage:

It looks like the Neilson Chemical Company in Windsor was a subsidiary of the American firm, with locations in Detroit and Los Angeles. Google turns up no hits for this company, so presumably it's long gone.  So are the "bakery and milk delivery wagons" the product was advertised for.

Interesting look back at how dangerous consumer products were distributed back then.  Note that there is no information on the actual chemical constituents of the product, although I suspect phosphoric acid, since that's what's used in current preparations under the "Metalprep" name.  This acid is both corrosive and combustible, not exactly "Safe" as the label assures.  Mind you, the product claims to be good for, among other things, "Terneplate."  This was steel coated with an alloy of tin and lead, sometimes to the tune of 80 percent lead.  How bad can that be?  "Pre-War Formulation!"  Would that be good or bad?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Rudge Speaks for itself; 1937


Rear Scoop for 3 point hitch

 One of the many aftermarket accessories for the revolutionary Ferguson Ford 3 point hitch. Perhaps not as handy as a front end loader but a lot less intrusive and easily removed. And a lot better than working with a pick and shovel.

Boys and firetrucks

Maryjane Hooper Tonn (Ed). Ideals Adventure Issue.  Vol 33, No. 3.  May 1976.
Painting by Norman Rockwell?  No--photograph by Jack Zehrt.  A noted American photographer and believer in the "Photo School of Hard Knox," he passed away in 2010 at age 90.

The art of the wheelwright

From Back Home by Joe Clark HBSS. Privately printed for the Tennessee Squire Association, 1965.

I found this book last week in an Ottawa thrift store, and I was struck by both the photos and the verse.

Joe Clark was born in Tennessee, concluding his formal education in Grade Four after accidentally burning his school down.  He eventually moved to Detroit and took up photography, returning to Tennessee during the Great Depression to document a passing way of life.  As a result, he put his name in the Detroit phone directory with "HBSS" after it--his moniker, the "Hill Billy Snap Shooter."  His photos eventually appeared in such presitigious publications as Life magazine.  His photos of life in Lynchburg, Tennessee included images of the Jack Daniels distillery, which the company began using in its advertising and which are credited with moving its product from a small local concern to the number one selling whiskey in the world.

The University of North Texas now holds the complete collection of his photographic works, along with those of his son "June Bug."

Joe Clark HBSS

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Voyage of the Baron of Renfrew; or Attempting to avoid paying taxes in 1825

Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. R9266-3280 Peter Winkworth Collection of Canadiana
 The Baron of Renfrew was a disposable four-masted barque, 309 feet long, built of mostly square timbers designed to make a single trip transporting timber from the New World to Europe and to be disassembled after discharging the timber cargo. The wood used to build the ship was exempt from the high taxes on imported timber. The barque followed the construction of a similar disposable ship, the barque Columbus built the year before.
Following details from
1825 June
Launched at the shipyard of Charles Wood, Anse du Fort, Isle of Orleans, Quebec, with 4000 tons of timber already onboard. A previous attempt had failed when the grease on the launching ways was consumed by fire caused by the friction.
1825 August 15
The Baron of Renfrew finished loading on Thursday last, but it is probable her departure will be delayed to complete her compliment of seamen, until about the 20th inst. The Baron is to be towed down the River by the Hercules Steam-boat as far as the Bic.
Sailing of the Great Ship
The Baron of Renfrew weighed anchor and was towed from the place which she occupied near the Falls of Montmorency, on Tuesday last at noon, by the Steam-boat Hercules. The tide was about half flood when she got under weigh, and she proceeded slowly roung the west point of the Island of Orleans, and disappeared behind Point Levi at a quarter before two o'clock. She was accompanied beyond the Point by the Malsham Steam-boat and the Lauzon Steam Ferry-boat with parties of ladies and gentlemen from Town. The Malsham had on board the Band of the 68th Regiment, which, as well as the parties on both Steam Boats went on board the Baron, the decks of which were crowded with people. The Steam Boats, having again taken their company on board, left her behind the Point proceeding in tow of the Hercules, which will only leave her at the Bic.
The wind was up the River during the whole time the Baron was in sight, from her leaving her anchorage ground. She however hoisted her sails, hauled close to the wind, and several times seemed to gain on the Hercules. The sight was grand as she came abreast of the Point of the Island ; her whole length about 309 feet being then seen from Town, and her four masts crowded with sail. The Hercules ahead, and the Malsham alongside, with the Lauzon astern, appeared little better than long-boats. Several sail boats in company were hardly discernable. When they arrived in the rear of the Rock of Point Levi, the Baron's masts and sails still towered above the rock, and were visible at each side of it. In the fore-ground there were about forty or fifty Indian Wigwams, and numerous Indian canoes, one of which, after landing three passengers, an Indian was carrying on his head up to high water mark ; thus offering in one view the largest ship in the world, the perfection of the application of steam in navigation, and the first, and certainly a most igenious effort of man in the savage state for water conveyance.
It is not probable that any other vessel of the size of the Baron of Renfrew, will be built for some time — The public interest taken in this ship has been nearly as great as in the Columbus.

 The Baron of Renfrew sailed from Quebec for London under command of Captain Matthew Walker.
The following statement of the cargo of the Baron has been handed to us by a mercantile friend :
Estimation in Tons measurement of the cargo of the ship Baron of Renfrew.

43634 Deals, average measurement 6 tons per 100 ps.2616
517 ps. of hardwood, 30 cubic feet each, and 11 knees388
3207 Logs Pine 504009
24659 Pipe Staves, 24 M. standard, 12 ton per M.288
75765 W.I. Staves, 75 M. pieces, 3 ton per M.225
84 Masts, at an average of 24 inch, each 8 ton per M.672
337 Spars, at an average of 24 inch, each 2 ton per M.674
4788 Ash Oar Rafters, 24 pieces, 1 ton per M.200
23098 ps. Lathwood, 160 p. cord, is 144 cord per M.432
34852 Treenails, 4000 of 12 inches make a load11
Amount of the Cargo in Tons9,515
Part of the Cargo, as Oars and Staves, is estimated from the stowage they require, and not from cubical contents.
If the measurement of the Baron is about 5000 tons, and taking the usual Quebec allowance of 5000 feet in the rough for every 100 tons measurement, there will be upwards of 6000 tons of timber wrought up in the construction of this floating fabric. — Old Gazette


1825 Oct 1st
Reported Loss of the Baron of Renfrew
The following is the substance of information communicated to us by a passenger in the Sir Francis Burton arrived on Tuesday from Halifax. We sincerely hope that it will prove unfounded.. The Sir F. B. had put into Gaspé:—
Gaspé, 1st October 1825
"A brig bound to Quebec put in here in distress, 25th instant [Sept], the Captain of which reports that he saw the large Timber Ship Baron of Renfrew, near the Grand Bank broken up and floating in several huge detached pieces, and part of the crew on each— would have attempted to render assistance but the danger of doing so made it impossible, owing to the violence of the weather and the immense pieces [of] wreck floating in every direction.

1825 Oct 11
The Baron of Renfrew was seen by the Jasper arrived at Boston on the 16th      September. Of the vessels arrived at this port, only two crossed the Banks after the 22nd and these report they saw "nothing of the Baron.— Old Gazette
We are very happy to find that the Baron of Renfrew has been seen by two vessels, the Nymph (at this port) on the 23rd September, and the Rapid (at Boston) on the 21st, and that the report of her loss which we lately published was unfounded.
There are no more reports on the Baron of Renfrew in for Arrivals in 1825 and 1826. After ending Dec 9 1825, the reports start again in April 1826 presumably because the winter ice prevented any ship traffic. Details of the rest of the voyage come from the text on the painting above. The largest ship in the world never completed her only voyage.
1825 October 27
Inscription: Inscribed in the stone. l.c.; The largest Ship ever built, THE BARON RENFREW, Captn: Mattw: Walker. From a Drawing highly approved by the Captain, Officers & Crew as the only correct portrait! As She appeared on the 21st: Octr: 1825, at the time the Captain, Officers & remaining 22 of her crew left her, off Gravelines. - She left Quebec Augt. 23rd & filled with water 650 Miles from land, drew 33 ft. & had 31 ft. water in her Hold, was waterlogged & went ashore in 3 pieces 24th Octr: near Calais. Her 4 Anchors wd. 192 cwt. Chain 2 1/4 In. diamr: 130 fathoms long, wt. 14 Tons Hemp cable 26 In. Circume: got on the Long sands off Margate 16th & off 18th Octr: Cargo consisted of 9000 Tons of Timber.
— Printed & Pubd. 27th Octr: 1825. By S. Vowles, 3, St. Michael's Alley, Cornhill, London. l.l.; Dra[wn] [illegible word ending in "ity"] / M. Young. l.r.; S. Vowles Lith. [hardly legible]; in pen and ink, verso. u.l.; C. Richardson [sic?] / Limehouse

Something for everyone

An odd assortment of vehicles...

Foul Tricks on the Tight-Wire

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

"Battle of Britain" The Making of a Film

The following photos and movie stills are contained in Leonard Mosley's book, "Battle of Britain"  The Making of a Film.  (Ballantine, 1969).  Mosley, a well-established British journalist and war historian, was given the job of writing the "official book of the film."  The idea for the film came from S. Benjamin Fisz, who flew Hurricanes with the Polish Air Force in WWII.  He had previously produced the film The Heroes of Telemark in 1965, a story of the Norwegian resistance.  For the "Battle of Britain", he was able to get  Harry Saltzman to produce it.  The Rank Organization initially came on board to provide funding, but this fell through, as did a deal with Paramount Studios.  In the end, United Artists financed the film.

The world was scoured in 1966 looking for airworthy examples of fighters and bombers.  While they initially believed only 6 flying Spitfires existed, they discovered that there actually 109!  The film used 27, 12 of which were airworthy.  Hurricanes were another story--only 6 were still flying in the world, and the film company managed to acquire three of them.

Finding Messerschmitts and Heinkel bombers was solved when General Adolf Galland was brought in as the German consultant.  He was able to point the production company to Spain, where the air force included a number of Messerschmitts which were going to be put up for sale, along with Heinkel He111 bombers that were continuing in service with the Spanish Air Force.  Both types of German aircraft had been made in Spain and equipped from new with Rolls-Royce Merlin engines.  In 1966, the individual asking price for one of these Me-109's with less than 200 hours on the engine was just $6300, less than the propeller alone had cost originally.  The film company bought all of the planes and parts, enough to make 28 aircraft, for an undisclosed amount.

As for the Heinkels, the film company approached the Spanish Air Ministry for permission to film the bombers in the air over their Spanish airdrome, in scenes with the British and German fighters.  They offered to pay all expenses for the use of the planes, fuel, and wages of the pilots, crew and ground staff.  The Spanish government generously waived the cost, asking only that the company consider making a cash donation to the orphan school run by the Spanish Air Force.  The film company later estimated that this gesture had saved them $420,000.  Their donation to the school?  $1400.  Shameful.

All aerial filming was done from a specially modified B-25 Mitchell christened "The Psychedelic Monster" because of its outrageous paint scheme (this was the Sixties, remember).  Apparently, it was flown back to the U.S. where it changed hands several times and was eventually renamed "Lucky Lady."  It now sits effectively derelict outside of an airport at Franklin, Virginia, grounded as much due to legal as mechanical problems.

Although imdb claims the film lost $10 million worldwide, I think it's a great flick.  It certainly couldn't be made today.  The book is also well worth the time to read it.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Cities Service

These prototype Cities Service gas stations were part of the corporate design taken on by Henry Dreyfuss and Associates. The white enamel, large glass areas with green logo and highlights made for a very modern and attractive look, and the tall pylons with distinctive logo was instantly identifiable along the highway.
And regular is 26 7/10 per gallon!
 Cities Service was bought by the Occidental Petroleum Company in 1982 and the name changed to Citgo.

Hotrodding the VW Beetle in 1955

Science and Mechanics Aug 1955

It would take Volkswagen another 12 years to increase the displacement of production cars to 1500 cc.

Cheesecake sells Mopeds 1955

Ooh la la!

We used to make things in this country. # 35 : Skotch Junior Wood Joiners

A useful product back in the day when many items around the home were made of wood and people actually fixed things.  The Superior Fastener Corporation, the Chicago parent company which trademarked the "Skotch" name in 1934, may still be around but the Sarnia subsidiary has vanished.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Fairbanks-Morse Trainmaster #8901

Donald McQueen and William Thomson; Constructed in Kingston 1999

Top picture (taken on or near it's delivery date, August 29 1956) is the builders photograph of one of Canadian Pacific's twenty one Fairbanks-Morse Trainmaster units, built by the Canadian Locomotive Company in Kingston Ont.
The next two photos (taken in the same location in Montreal at different times) show the locomotive a few years later. The biggest visible difference is the paint scheme, The builders photo shows an engine painted for long-nose-first operation. The others were taken after the controls were reversed.
This unit was an FM model H-24-66, developing 2,400 hp with a 12 cylinder prime mover. It was retired from service by CP Rail in April 1972 and scrapped.

Getting near the end.

1965 Suzuki K15, Happy Camper

From Freedom of the Road, CMI 1965
The dual purpose version of Suzuki's first big hit, the 80cc K10.

Vanished Tool Makes: Poper Iron & Wire Works

When I first saw this coping saw hanging on a nail in a neighbour's shed, I was sure it was a British-made Eclipse.  Nope: made by the Poper Iron & Wire Works of Chicago.  From my quick search of the web, there's virtually nothing on this company or this tool.  Either they didn't make very many, or for some reason almost none of them survived.  Odd.

Do not fold, staple or mutilate

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

"Census clerk in Washington, D.C. slips a punched card into a Hollerith tabulating machine during the 1890 count.  Each hole in the card permits a pin to slip through into a socket below, completing an electric circuit and registering one unit on the corresponding dial."  From:  Those Inventive Americans.  National Geographic Special Publications Division, 1971.
As the above images indicate, punch cards have been around for quite a long time.  They really came into their own in the 1970's, when all kinds of information was collected in this form:

At Queen's University, Kingston in the 1970's, even student cards were made in this form:

Carefully punching or cutting additional holes in them was a source of amusement for some people, as apparently this could cause havoc with the card readers.