Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Stephen Dukoff

It is with regret and great sadness I have to inform everyone of the passing of  "The Duke", my co-blogger for the last 7 years, last  Sunday night. 
I met Stephen back in the eighties when we were both involved with teaching motorcycle rider training in Kingston, Ontario. Despite he being Norton-centric and me with Japanese bikes we hit it off immediately, he had a offbeat sense of humour and enjoyed more than a little bit of silliness. He considered the telephone answering machine message a perfect platform for elaborate, ridiculous and humorous theatre. We both liked tools, junk stores, garage sales and in general old machinery.
 Life went on, Diane and he raised a family of two boys and I went off to design school in Toronto. This was pre-internet days and maintaining contact was harder than it is now- but we kept in touch, mostly by sending each other photocopies or clippings intended to amuse, inform and entertain each other. He bought a mid-fifties Jubilee Ford tractor- apparently on my recommendation, I had just bought a 8N Ford, having admired them from childhood. Another connection and another subject to discuss. 
 At some point in the mid 2000s Stephen's emails, in between the banter, started to incorporate well-researched and entertaining stories documenting the details and history of some old tool or machine he had picked up at a thrift shop or garage sale, I read them and could not bear to delete or dispose of something that had obviously taken a great deal of effort. As these started to accumulate in my inbox, I decided to save them in a blog- without telling him. As the postings grew, I let him know what I was doing- gave him the link and offered three choices, if he absolutely hated it I'd delete them, if he was tolerant of me just saving them in that format, I'd continue to post them- or if he wanted to I'd give him permissions and he could post whenever he had something to post. Initially, as a grumpy old guy set in his ways, he absolutely refused to take part in this new technology, however he soon got used to the idea and once started, joined in enthusiastically, making two posts a day, good solid researched articles- which totally eclipsed my infrequent posts usually consisting of scanned images from old books and magazines- or photos I had taken of anything that interested me. He was the heart of the blog.
Here we are 7 years and 12 days later... 7839 posts online and we're currently approaching two million views- 1,974,465 views today... (A sincere thank you to all our viewers and commenters)- all on the subject of what amounts to "old rusty crap" from our industrial and transportation history, it still amazes me.
Thank you Dr. Dukoff, for all the camaraderie, banter and interesting valuable information you've provided over all these years. We'll miss you. Godspeed.
David, The Duke (center) and me (right); a Halloween a long time ago...
Now what of the future of the blog...? The Duke has left about a hundred draft posts ready to go- so I'll post them in the usual manner... and apparently also about 10 gig of scanned and saved material that I'll sort through. I guess I'll keep going as long as I'm enjoying myself.


tonyand03 said...

So sorry to hear that you lost the Duke; I hope it was a peaceful end.
I've regularly dipped into your blog and enjoyed both your writings over the years, always erudite and well researched. I've not contributed very much; I tend not to comment unless I can add some information or a new perspective, but the two of you have provided me with both education and pleasure.
Thank you to you both.

Mister G said...

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mister G,

I stumbled across this site a few months back when I was looking for information online about a wonderful old desk (1920s) I was repairing from Office Specialty Manufacturing (once a great furniture building operation in Newmarket). As a former motorcyclist and pilot, as well as a fan of well built things, I found myself dropping by this site once or twice a week ever since. I’ve also been forwarding links to friends and family when topics of interest pop up. Stephen Dukoff (The Duke) was a wonderful writer, and I will miss his thoughtful and thoroughly researched contributions. If there is a heaven above, I hope he is at present resolving all the outstanding mysteries of vanished tool manufacturers and well built objects of unknown origins that so intrigued him during his stay here with us. My condolences to his family, friends, and all who loved him.

Michael Warnock
Woodbridge, Ontario

Mister G said...

My thoughts exactly about the Duke, wish I could have said it as well you have. Thank you, Gerald