Friday, March 24, 2017

Girl blows her own horn, 1965


John Bohannan.  Your Guide to Boating Power or Sail.  Barnes & Nobles, 1965, 1969.

Building Mossies at Downsview, Toronto




















From Joe Holliday.  Mosquito.  Canadians at War #2.  PaperJacks, 1970, 1980.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

GT750 Vallelunga

Having owned and loved a number of Waterbuffalos over the years I remember reading about this Italian market bike back in the day. No pictures back then, we had to wait for the magic of the internet for that. Not a bad looking bike for a mid-seventies special, though I think the tail is a bit blocky and doesn't compliment the rest of the bodywork...

Boots aircraft nuts, 1942

Good fence pullers make good neighbours


Above, my collection of wire or cable stretchers/pullers.  They all work on the same principle:  when force is applied to the chain link end, the two arms pivot together, pinching whatever is between them.




Above, "Patent Applied for."  Below, what looks like "The London."


A different version below.  Note the grooved and hardened dovetailed insert in the one arm.  There's a similar insert in the recess of the other arm.





Below, a simpler version yet.  This one operates like a cam, gripping the wire between the grooved top piece and the raised jaw on the bottom.


Below, the only marks on this one.  I think it might be a city in the state of New York?



Finally, the simplest of the lot.  Again, you can see the cam action.



Previous owners of my property replaced some of the old rail fences with "Page wire."  You can use these old wire pullers to help make this type of fence taut again.  It was named after J. Wallace Page, who was born in Rollin Township, Michigan in 1843.  After fighting in the American Civil War, he returned to farming and turned his thoughts to better methods of fencing his fields to keep his livestock out of his crops.  He eventually developed a method for weaving wire.  He was joined by his cousin, Charles M. Lamb, who contributed a method of using power to drive the loom.  He relocated to Adrian where he incorporated his company in 1889. Fifteen years later, the company had grown to two huge plants, the one in Adrian employing 600 people, while the other in Monessen, Pennsylvania employed 700.  In 1902, the company was doing $3 million worth of business.  Page died in 1916, and the company was bought by the American Chain and Cable Company.  Oddly enough, today the town of Adrian has left little to celebrate this once major industry which made that city the "fence capital of the world."



Cool World War II Cover Art: Bomb Run, 1972


First published in 1971 by William Morrow & Co., Inc., this Pinnacle edition had a cover illustration by Ed Valigursky (1926-2009).  It's a taut, realistic page-turner of an RAF Lancaster crew's final mission, and their cat-and-mouse torture on the return flight from an ME-110 night fighter.  Told from both the perspective of the British crew and the German pilot, it's far from a celebration of war.

Spencer Dunmore was born in the UK in 1928 and came to Canada in 1954. He was an advertising exec and lives in Burlington.  He's written a long list of war novels, as well as non-fiction such as Wings For Victory: The Remarkable Story Of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan In Canada (1994), In Great Waters: The Epic Story of the Battle of the Atlantic and, in  collaboration with Dr. Robert Ballard, Exploring the Lusitania.

The things you find in underground parking lots...





Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Another job you wouldn't want to do: Beading holloware and hanging ware

J.E. Hansen (Editor).  A Manual of Porcelain Enameling.  Published for the Ferro Enamel Corporation by The Enamelist Publishing Company, 1937.

One of my vices is vises: Pin Vises

Use and Care of Hand Tools and Measuring Tools.  Department of the Army Technical Manual No. 9-243.  Washington, D.C., 1960.

George W. Barnwell (Ed.), The New Encyclopedia of Machine Shop Practice.  NY:  Wm. H. Wise & Co., Inc., 1941.

(I think the vise at the bottom of the drawing above is more accurately referred to as a "hand vise.")

Below, my small selection of pin vises:


The one at the bottom is particularly interesting.  On the Web, it is usually referred to as a pen-style watchmaker's pin vise.  The knurled knob at the end unscrews to reveal a cavity in the handle for storing probes or drill bits.


Pin vices have been around for a while.  Below, the Goodell Brothers Company Pin Vise from 1896:


Pin vises offered by Starrett in 1938:

Starrett Catalogue No. 26, 1938.

"Sonny" Levi and the Speranzella

John Bohannan.  Your Guide to Boating Power or Sail.  Barnes & Nobles, 1965, 1969.

"Sonny" Renato Levi was born in Genoa (or Karachi) in 1902. (The name 'Sonny' was bestowed by an ayah who could not manage the letter 'r.')  His father was an interior designer and manufacturer, but also an enthusiastic motor-yachtsman.  As a result, he found himself in the boat-building business, doing contract work in Bombay for the Indian government.  Sonny was in Cannes when World War II broke out.  Here the stories diverge.  In one, he joined the RAF.  In another, he became a real-life James Bond, passing misinformation on to the Germans and becoming the subject of a 2015 book: Doublecross in Cairo.  Somewhere along the line, he is supposed to have studied aircraft design and joined his father's business after the war.  In 1960 he moved to Anzio, Italy to work for Navaltecnica, which specialized in rough water patrol craft for the government.   During his tenure, he counted among his customers rich, playboy powerboat racers such as Gianni Agnelli, Count Augusta, and the Aga Khan who were prepared to fund his more daring ideas.  Levi pioneered the design of radical deep-V racing hulls.  His A'Speranzella was the 1963 Cowes-Torquay winner.

To read a 2013 interview with Sonny Levi and the history behind the deep vee hull, click on The Speed King.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Schneider Trophy racer, Supermarine S4

 The Supermarine S4 was an R J Mitchell design for the 1925 Schneider Cup contest, held in Baltimore. It was a radical departure from the previous Flying Boat biplane designs, being an all-wood monocoque monoplane with externally unbraced wings, to which a steel framework was constructed ahead of the wings to attach the engine. It set a new World speed record before the event of 227 mph. Unfortunately during the elimination trials, the plane crashed into the sea and was too damaged to continue. The design was perhaps a bit too advanced, the crash was attributed to wing flutter. The race was won by Billy Mitchell in the Curtiss racer, at an even higher speed than the one set by the S4. Image above, engine tests at the Supermarine factory.
On the slipway at the factory.

Images from Ellsion Hawks, British Seaplanes triumph in the Schneider Trophy Contests, Real Photographs 1945
The S4 being launched at Baltimore.

Windsor station, Montreal



A century later, the station building hasn't changed in appearance  though we have less streetcars and cigarette advertising.

Atomic Bomb test on TV, 1953

The New World Family Encyclopedia.  Standard International Library, 1953.
Experience it in the comfort of your own home!  Or cave...

Colin M. Bain, et al.  Making History  The Story of Canada in the Twentieth Century.
Prentice-Hall, 2000.