Thursday, October 31, 2013

Nissan Figaro 1989-91


Part of the Japanese retro car movement of the late eighties, the Figaro was so popular it initially was sold by lottery. 20,000 were made in total.
 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:1991_Nissan_Figaro,_Dutch_licence_registration_03-NBL-3_p2.JPG

1966 Harley 175 Bobcat

The last year for the American-made war reparations DKW-design lightweight. Tarting the bike up with fibreglass bodywork didn't help sales- only about a thousand were made.

We used to make things in this country. #130: Peterborough Lock Manufacturing Company, Peterborough, Ontario



Above, an old "Peterboro" door lock.

The town of Peterborough Ontario was established on the Otonabee River, which provided both water power and transportation for Ontario's burgeoning manufacturing sector.  The Peterborough Lock Manufacturing Company was established there in 1885.  (It was followed in 1890 by Edison Electric, later Canadian General Electric.  Quaker Oats came along in 1900).  In 1956, Corbin Lock purchased the company, joining it with the Belleville Hardware & Lock Company to form the International Hardware Company of Canada, Limited.  



Ottawa Citizen, November 16, 1942

The beauty of Linoleum

Linoleum, made from linseed oil and various additives, dates back to 1855, although the name (derived from the Latin words for flax and oil) didn't appear until later.  The inventor was an Englishman named Frederick Walton, who established the Linoleum Manufacturing Company in 1864, and a U.S. establishment in 1872.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

1913 Short Brothers Biplane

Henry R.Palmer; This was Air Travel, Bonanza Books 1967
Aviation making progress in comfort. The three-passenger cockpit is enclosed but still offered no protection from the wind for the upper half of the passengers. A windshield would have been nice, this plane could attain a creditable 58 mph with its 80hp Gnome Rhome engine.
 A plane of this type, outfitted with floats and piloted by British aviation pioneer Francis McClean flew up the Nile to Khartoum and back in early 1914. The 1400 mile flight took 11 weeks as the engine failed 13 times.
 Francis McClean (later Sir Francis) was no stranger to adventure, in 1912 he had become the first person to fly under all of London's bridges.

The Short S 80 The Nile
British Aircraft before the Great War Schiffer Publishing Ltd. 

Know your siege engines






From Brian K. Davison.  The New Observer's Book of Castles.  Frederick Warne, 1979, 1986.  Line drawings by Jasper Dimond.

Ballistas shot long iron darts, and so were effectively an anti-personnel weapon.  The mangonel was a catapult that flung rocks and other heavy objects to break gates and walls.  It's power originated in a twisted skein of rope, whose effectiveness varied with humidity, making it an inaccurate weapon.  The trebuchet was the howitzer of its day, capable of hurling stones of 150 kg at least 100 meters.  A large trebuchet could throw a dead horse.  Technically, mangonels and trebuchets were classified as petraria (stone throwers) but in battle they enjoyed names such as Malvoisin, meaning "bad neighbour."

Vanished Tool Brands: Lucky taps and dies


You have to think that this brand name may have been suggested by the shape of the holes, reminiscent of a four-leaf clover.

"Lucky" was a brand of the Vermont Tap and Die Corporation founded in 1920 by Allen Harrison in Newport, Vermont.  It was purchased by another owner in 1930, who moved it to Lyndonville Vermont in 1929.  The original plant building was very unique for its time, having two levels with rows of windows all around. Vermont Tap & Die is now a part of the Greenfield Industries empire, which includes  Cleveland, Chicago-Latrobe, Cle-Line, Cle-Force, Bassett, and Putnam Tools. In 2009, Greenfield Industries became part of the Top-Eastern Group (TDC), the world's largest manufacturer of twist drills. The same year, the original Lydonville plant, which had been purchased by Kennametal of Latrobe, Pennsylvania, was shut down for a period of time to save money.  


German wireless operator at the M.G.

S.L. Mayer (Editor).  Signal.  Years of Retreat 1943-44.
Hitler's Wartime Picture Magazine.
  Bison (Prentice-Hall), 1979.

The Wanamaker Building Fire


When A.T. Stewart opened his store in New York City in 1862, it was at the time the largest retail store in the world.  It was also the city's first cast iron skeleton and facade.  In 1896, John Wanamaker bought the firm, and renamed the store the Wanamaker Building.  It was magnificent inside:  google it for pictures.   In 1911, Albert Leo Stevens made a balloon ascent from the top of the building.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Leo_Stevens

In the 1950's, when cities were rushing to tear down heritage buildings in the name of progress and modernity, the Wanamaker building was scheduled for demolition.  On July 14, 1956, during this process, it caught fire.

1957 Encyclopedia Year Book.  The Story of Our Time.  The Grolier Society Inc.

The old building stood up fantastically.  As Peter Kihss of the New York Times reported:


Another architectural treasure lost in a blind rush to the future.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Voyages of the St Roch.

Top view- as originally constructed, bottom view as refitted for her 1944 return trip.
Charles Maginley and Bernard Collin; The Ships of Canada's Marine Services,
Vanwell Publishing, 2001


The St. Roch was a wooden auxiliary schooner built at Burrard Drydock in North Vancouver in 1928. She was built as an arctic supply vessel for the RCMP and after her maiden voyage in 1928-29 normally remained up north while police patrols were done by dogsled. In 1940 she was sent on a wartime trip intended to strengthen Canadian arctic sovereignty by negotiating the northwest passage. This was the first time the voyage from west to east had been accomplished, and it took till 1942 to do it.
In 1943 she received a refit including a new 300 hp engine for the 1944 return trip through the more northerly route considered to be the true Northwest Passage. This trip went well, taking less than 90 days.
After the war she resumed her northern RCMP police duties and in 1950 became first vessel to circumnavigate North America, travelling from Halifax to Vancouver via the Panama Canal.
Four years later the St. Roch was retired and returned to Vancouver for preservation. In 1962, she was designated a National Historic Site of Canada and is still on display at the Vancouver Maritime Museum.

Boardtracker tire tech

Phil Schilling; The Motorcycle World, The Ridge Press 1974

Ray Weishaar, winner of America's Cornfield Classic in 1920 discusses tire wear with the Firestone man. The narrow tires, inflated to 90 psi, were shellacked to wheelrims.

Another job you wouldn't want to do: Testing fire suits

The Book of Knowledge Annual 1960.  The Grolier Society.

Stanfield's Unshrinkable Underwear


First offered in 1898.  "The boys" have been grateful ever since.

As the Romans advised, Semper ubi sub ubi.

Going somewhere?

Norman Hall & Basil Burton (Eds.)  Photography Year Book 1956.  London:
Photography Magazine, 1955.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Gilera 250 1937

Choppers in 1980


Hot Rod ShowWorld 1980 Annual

I didn't understand them then, I still don't...

The schooner Canadian

Helga V. Loverseed.  Burlington.  An Illustrated History.
Windsor Publications (Canada) Ltd., 1988.

Cars for 1967


Britannica Book of the Year 1967.  Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc., 1967.

In 1966, the British Motor Corporation (BMC) merged with Jaguar, an amalgamation that also included the Guy and Daimler commercial vehicle companies which had been previously acquired by Jaguar.  In France, Peuguot merged with the state-owned Renault company.  In Germany, Daimler-Benz and Volkswagen cooperated on the establishment of a new research and development company.  Fiat and Renault both made deals with the USSR:  a car of Fiat design would be made in the Soviet Union, but Renault would produce a car of Soviet design.  In the U.S., Chevrolet introduced the Camaro to compete with Ford's highly successful Mustang, and Ford (through its Mercury division) responded with a slightly larger and more expensive Mustang, the Cougar.

Oldsmobile offered a new Delco-Remy transistorized ignition system as an option, following the use of electronic ignition in racing by the British using the Lucas "Opus" system.

Great excitement was generated when Vauxhall redesigned the Viva to be larger, Ford did the same with the Cortina, and the Rootes Group replaced the Hillman Super Minx with the lighter Hunter sedan.  Progress!

In braking news, discs were increasingly being offered either as standard equipment or as options.



Russian War Bonds poster, WWI

Adams, Simon.  Eyewitness World War I.  DK Publishing, Inc., 2001, 2004.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Ariel Square Four MkII, exploded view


Gasohol comes to Britain


Tagolog 1901

March, Alden.  The History and Conquest of the Philippines and
Our Other Island Possessions.
 World Bible House, 1901.
That is strange--I would have expected them to have had harpsichords.

Pick Axes & Mattocks


My small collection of pickaxes & mattocks.  They hearken back to a day when ground was broken by manpower.

Only two of mine have any manufacturer's identification.  One was made by Brades Forge (William Hunt & Sons) in England, a company with a long history that merged with Nash & Tyzack in 1951 to form BNT (which also has a Canadian connection).


Another was made by True Temper in Welland.  This Ohio-based company bought out Welland Vale in the 1950's.



Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary.
Thomas Allen, Ltd., Toronto, 1960
.


Sidecar Sunday




Who is Max Duebel?

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Hook or latch by unknown blacksmith


a.c.f. Yachts at the Motorboat Show 1934

New model 30 and 36 foot cruisers by American Car and Foundry, powered with twin Chryslers.




We used to make things in this country. #129: Faultless-Doerner Manufacturing Company, Waterloo, Ontario

I found this old steel knob in a drawer.  The knob had originally had been used to adjust spring tension on an office chair:



It is stamped "Doerner Faultless, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

The Faultless Doerner Manufacturing Company of Waterloo, Ontario initially made furniture, particularly office furniture.  


1960's vintage Faultless Doerner office chair

They seem especially remembered for their reproduction of the famous Eames lounge, designed by husband-and-wife team Charles and Ray Eames in the mid-1950's (although the company may have only made some of the hardware for this chair).

From what I can determine, the company started out as the Doerner Products Company in the same city. The founder, Frank Doerner, may have begun his work experience as an employee of the Sunshine Waterloo Company.  This company was founded as the Waterloo Manufacturing Company, making farm combines for the North American and Argentinian markets.  


Source:  Vintage CCM

When the depression effectively ended this market, they turned to automotive stampings, then to bed warmers, baby carriages, roller skates and industrial steel shelving.  During World War II, they changed production to bombs, land mines, army truck doors, gun mounts, airplane parts and complete nose assemblies for the Mosquito fighter-bomber.  In the process, they became Waterloo's largest employer during the war years.  Office furniture was added during the 1940's and 50's, especially after they were acquired by Massey Ferguson, when the company became Sunshine Office Equipment Limited.  In 1978, the company was bought by E.F. Hauserman Inc. of Cleveland, and folded in 1990.

If Mr. Doerner was an employee, he brought his experience to his own company.  Sometime in the ensuing decades, it became a wholly-owned Canadian subsidiary of the Faultless Caster Company of Indiana.  This company was founded in 1889 after Bernard H. Noelting had perfected a "faultless" furniture caster at his hardware store in Nebraska City, Nebraska.  



In 1913, the Faultless business was moved to Evansville, Indiana, then one of the world's major centres of furniture production. 


Faultless Caster Company c. 1920.   Source:  Historic Evansville
Following this change of ownership, Faultless-Doerner specialized in bases and control mechanisms for office chairs, rather than its former line of furniture.   At some point, the company was acquired by the Axia Holding Corporation.  In 1984, Faultless-Doerner closed its factory, putting 22 employees out of work.   In 1985, Axia sold the company to Babcock International.  After this, it looks like it was sold to  Northfield Metal Products, which was itself purchased by Leggett & Platt Inc.  (J.P. Leggett patented the spiral coil bedspring in 1885.  Photos below from their website.)







Below, an adjustment knob made by Northfield Metal Products.