Sunday, October 22, 2017

Motorcycle stamps

Motorcycle Collector Magazine May 1993

Gevaert film

The ad above was pasted inside of my 1951 Gevaert "Gevabox" box camera, which was made for Gevaert by Hermann Wolff GmbH of Wuppertal, Germany.

Below, a company ad from 1955:

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

Lieven Gevaert was a Belgian photographer who began making his own photographic papers in Antwerp.  In 1894, he founded L. Gevaert & Cie, eventually expanding the company's product line.  By 1904, he had moved his firm to Mortsel and was making his own branded film rolls.  In 1920, the firm was renamed Gevaert Photo Producten.  In 1964, it merged with Agfa AG and Bayer AG, becoming Agfa-Gevaert.  The company is still going strong, although it no longer makes film.

Good Reads: Thunder At Dawn, 1981

This is a ripping good yarn, a real page-turner.  First published in 1978 in Great Britain by Hodder & Stoughton, the Coronet Edition came out initially in 1980.  Born in Sunderland in 1930, Alan Evans was the nom de plume of Alan Stoker who wrote a number of books for both adults and children.  He passed away in 2006. Based on the Battle of Coronel, Thunder At Dawn is the first of his six-book series featuring Commander David Cochrane Smith.  I'll have to keep my eyes open for the others!

The cover illustration is by Chris Mayger (1919-1994).

Sidecar Sunday

Planes in Formation, Grumman F4-Bs

American Heritage History of Flight, 1962
On display at the Smithsonian

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Zeppelin service to South America, 1935

EUMIG Electric ciné camera, c. 1955

According to its Wikipedia entry, EUMIG was an acronym for Elektrizitäts und Metallwaren Industrie Gesellschaft, or the "Electricity and Metalware Industry Company."  Founded in 1919, it produced both radios and camera equipment.  During WWII, it made several models of the Volksempfänger or "People's Radio", required listening in Nazi Germany.  After the war, it prospered and by 1975 had become the largest film projector manufacturer in the world, employing 5,000 people to produce half a million projectors a year.  It all came to an end in 1982, when the company declared bankruptcy.  The EUMIG patent for macro system lenses was sold to the Japanese company Canon. 


I've had this little bulb atomizer for ages.  It speaks of a different age, where you refilled things rather than throwing them away when they were empty.

Dr. Allen DeVilbiss is credited with inventing this device.

For more on the history of atomizers, read Early Atomizer History.

Rear Gunner, WW1

Compare to the Dukes earlier post.

1910 Sears Model P Surrey

The Automobile Collection Heritage Plantation of Sandwich 1986
Sears sold cars from their catalog starting in 1908. They were basic but well-built vehicles powered by a horizontally opposed twin and despite being good sellers, it was not a profitable venture for the company, who stopped selling them in 1912.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Launching jets from a carrier

The Splendid Book for Boys.  London & Glasgow: Collins, c. 1950's.

Ensign cameras

The Ensign firm goes all the way back to 1836, when George Houghton joined forces with Antoine Claudet to produce glass, including optical glass and photographic materials.  After Claudet died in 1967, the firm became George Houghton & Son.  They began using the Ensign logo in 1903 and producing cameras in 1905.  By 1908, they had become the largest producers of cameras in Great Britain.  In 1930, the company was renamed Ensign Limited.  The Ful-Vue camera above was introduced in 1939 and became one of Britain's most popular cameras.  Designed in the then popular "streamlined" style, in various iterations it remained on the market until 1959 (by which point the company had been further re-named as Ross Ensign).

Unfortunately by 1961 Ross Ensign had faded away completely.  According to the Ensign History website:

"Ensign produced some of the best examples of folding roll film cameras available in the fifties. So what had brought them to this sad state of affairs? Ensign was constantly battling against the public belief that foreign cameras particularly those made in Germany were of better quality than British made cameras. By single mindedly attempting to develop high quality folding roll film cameras which would compete with these German companies they exhausted their research and development budget. The company completely ignored the publics growing interest in 35mm cameras never producing even a prototype 35mm camera, believing so strongly that the larger format of 120 roll film was superior and would never be surpassed. In a typically British way they looked back at their fine traditional range of cameras with pride, completely ignoring the changes in the camera industry and retail trade until it was too late. Ensign cameras were expensive and beginning to look old fashioned. Sales dropped too low to fund the research needed for new designs and Ross-Ensign found it could no longer compete with the new 35mm cameras being imported from Germany and the then expanding camera manufacturers of Japan."
(I sought permission from the author of the above to include it in this blog, but unfortunately his email address was rejected by my server as undeliverable.)

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Bultaco TSS

1966 6 speed

British American Gas Station

British American Gasoline company formed in 1906, building its first refinery in 1908 on the eastern waterfront in Toronto, sold to Gulf Oil in 1966. This preserved non-operating station is located in Newtonville, Ontario.

Mill girls at work

W.G.V. Balchin (Consultant Editor).  The Country Life Book of the Living History of England
Country Life Books, 1981.

Sharing pictures before Instagram: Polacolor Print Mount

The instructions leave a lot to be desired.  For the story, go to Polaroidland.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Pullman Standard and the New Haven Railroad

Ran when parked...

Project bike at the Milton Swap Meet September 2017

Warner 490 razor blade holder

Above, a tool made to hold safety razors.

U.S. Patent 3,996,665 was issued to Douglas B. Malchow of Minneapolis in 1976 and assigned to the Warner Manufacturing Company of the same city.  Founded in 1926 the company is still around, now apparently out of nearby Plymouth.  A handy way to use old razor blades that had become too dull to shave with, but still sharp enough for shop use. The tool is still available, with prices ranging from $1.98 to $34.33.  Seriously, there's this much variation on the marketplace.  Why?

I thought safety razors had all but disappeared in favour of disposable multi-bade ones.  Turns out, they're enjoying something of a comeback.  See, for example, the Rockwell safety razor, which began with a Kickstarter in 2014.  They sell their razor blades for 10 cents each!

The Common Tools and How to Use Them, 1950's

Above, from The Splendid Book for Boys. (London & Glasgow: Collins. c. 1950's.)  Targeted at British children and adolescents, this article explained how to use a variety of common tools including Warrington hammers, tenon saws, "steel smoother" planes, scribing gouges, pin bits and "Washita" oilstones (which should be treated with olive oil, or a mixture of olive and paraffin).  I've uploaded the entire 10-page article here.

Enlist now!


In 1947, The Dictaphone company replaced the wax cylinder storage media they had used since Alexander Graham Bell started the company. They introduced a new mechanically etched Lexan belt named Dictabelt which was much more permanent. IBM introduced magnetic tape in the early fifties and the Dictaphone company used it alongside their mechanical system.
 Somewhat surprisingly, the company is still around today recording in the medical and legal fields, presumably without the wax cylinders...

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Supercar, 1962

The illustrator, Mel Crawford, was born in Toronto in 1925.  He was a graduate of the Ontario College of Art, Mister G's alma mater.  Among his many art jobs, Crawford painted Howdy Doody, Rootie Kazootie, Yogi Bear, the Flintstones, Twinkles The Elephant, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Scrooge McDuck, Tom & Jerry, and Gerald McBoing Boing.  He passed away in 2015.

Polaroid Land Camera

From the manual for a Polaroid 230 Land Camera.  The Land camera was made from 1947 to 1983. To develop the film, you had to separate the dry print from the wet negative.  The manual urges, "Avoid contact with the chemicals left on the negative after the print is removed.  Fold up the negative with the moist side in.  Please put it in a wastebasket or film box.  Don't be a litterbug!"  I can still remember visiting my parents' cottage to discover that someone with a Land camera had been taken with the view from the dock, and had snapped some photographs, leaving behind the messy emulsion sheets on the shoreline.  That's heavy irony:  the person was sensitive enough to appreciate a beautiful view, but not sensitive enough to keep from despoiling it.

Below, using the Cold-Clip--finally, a technical use for the armpit!

Celebrating the opening of the St.Lawrence Canal

Alexander Ross, The Booming Fifties, Canada's Illustrated Heritage, 1977

1954 Aero Willys

I'm not sure why this is promoted as a Canadian car, as far as I can tell, they were built in Toledo. This was the second last year for the Aero, in all about 95,000 were built.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Aviatrix, 1925

Emilie Loring.  A Certain Crossroad.  Grosset & Dunlap, 1925.

Emilie Loring was a prolific writer of romances and not really a feminist.  So, this cover is surprising for the time it was published:  a woman aviator!  

We used to make things in this country. #275: I.C Line (Index Card Company Ltd.), Toronto, Ontario

I'm a sucker for metal boxes.  I pick them up whenever I find them, because they're so useful for protective storage of small tools, and they're mouse-proof!  Recently, I found this index card box.  Nicely made with a very fine piano hinge.  Pop rivet a box latch on the front, and it will become an excellent tool box.

For some reason, the cards came with organizers bearing the months of the year.  I don't know what purpose this was intended to serve, as usually such cards are organized alphabetically or by subject.  

Located as 2652 St. Claire Avenue, the Index Card Company of Canada was a going concern by 1951, at which point it was listed as having more than 50 employees.  It's trademark wasn't filed until 1965.  It was acquired by Esselte Pendaflex at some point, probably in the 1980's when that corporation was in full acquisition mode.  ("Pendaflex" was the first hanging file folder, created by that U.S. company in the late 1930's.  The firm is now just Pendaflex.)

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Supermarine Stanraer

Larry Milberry, Aviation in Canada, McGraw-Hill Ryerson 1979
Canadian Vickers built 40 of a total of 57 examples of the Supermarine Stranraer flying boat for the RCAF. They served on both coasts in coastal antisubmarine patrols and were retired in 1946. Several were sold to private operators and used in airline service into the sixties. 
Only one remains, in the RAF museum at Hendon.


D.S. Halacy, Jr. Illustrated by Al Andersen and Robert D. Smith.  Ripcord. 
Whitman Publishing Co., 1962.

The TV show Ripcord aired between 1961 and 1962 for a total of 76 episodes.  

Opening Narration:

"This is the most danger-packed show on television. Every jump, every aerial maneuver is real, photographed just as it happened, without tricks or illusions. All that stands between a jumper and death is his RIPCORD." 

You can see an introduction to the show and unreleased pilot on youtube.

A toy parachutist based on the TV series was sold in stores.  It had a plastic parachute and you tossed it into the air.   I seem to remember having one. 

For more fascinating information about the show and the stuntmen involved, go to