Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Stuka Replica

 This 7/10-scale Ju 87 B was built in 1977-78 by an engineer named Louis Langhurst from Carriere, Mississippi. It required 8,000 man-hours to complete and was patterned on the full-size Ju 87 B Stuka currently on display at the Chicago Museum of Science & Industry. The plane is powered by a 220-hp Lycoming engine (vs. the original Stuka's 1200-hp Jumo 211) and has a top speed of 137 mph. It is currently owned by Mitchell Sammons of Belgrade Maine.

The scale is hard to determine till its parked next to a full size plane.

1965 Chevy Sportvan

The vehicle(s) of my youth... I think I had four or five of them in succession. None of mine had windows but it was the height of the custom van craze, portholes and sunroofs were in! I bought them when they were 10 plus years old and tired, then ran them into the ground all the while aspiring to customise them.  As a vehicle they were basic, noisy, cold and rattly. They came with 6 cylinder engines but the small block V8s bolted right into place. Much better. Standard transmission- 3 on the tree, no power brakes, no power steering, no power anything.
They were much like a Volkswagen van but more useful, more stable with more power and a flat floor, you could carry motorcycles.



We used to make things in this country. #93: Outboard Marine & Manufacturing Co. of Canada, Ltd., Peterborough Ontario

The Outboard Marine & Manufacturing Company of Canada was actually headquartered in Illinois and made Evinrude & Johnson motors.  It changed its name to the Outboard Marine Corp in 1956, the same year it purchased Industrial Engineering, Canada's largest chain-saw manufacturer   OMC moved this new subsidiary to Peterborough, Ontario, and changed the name to Pioneer Saws Ltd.  (Although gone now, Canadian-made Pioneers have earned a good reputation.  I've got a big Pioneer saw, and it's been good to me).  The company also bought Cushman in 1957. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Industrial Protection

From a Western Electric ad, Scientific American, January 1980

 "We're prepared for anything!  Well, except for George, the third guy back.  He's f**ked."

1913 Bi-Autogo

Designed and built by James Scripps Booth in 1913, The Bi-Autogo seats three and is powered by Detroit's first V8. Apparently the engine and drive train worked perfectly, but steering problems could not be sorted out. This example is on display at the Owls Head Transportation Museum in Maine.

Monday, February 27, 2012

One man's junk...

Markham airport 2007

We used to make things in this country. #94: Alouette AX-125

 Alouette AX-125

Cycle Canada ran the page below in a 1987 retrospective. It's the only reference I've been able to find on this shortlived and frankly not very good bike. Though fast, the Sachs 125 engine was very peaky.  Fibreglass bodywork was fragile, suspension too soft and the rims bent easily.
 The guy I bought it from said he used it one summer to travel up to his family's cottage- 100km each way. I can't imagine.


Iron Man's lesser-known female counterpart

Hey, I don't make this stuff up:  from Popular Mechanics Complete Book of Home Repair and Improvements, 1949 (which means she actually pre-dates Iron Man by 14 years!)

Fill 'er up. Part 2. Shotwell Pump & Tank Co.

According to Gas Pump Company Histories, The Shotwell Pump and Tank Company is something of a mystery.  Their first recorded advertisement for a pump was in 1917 when they were located in Indianapolis.  By 1925, they were advertising locations in both Boston and Indianapolis.  In 1928, the Service Station Equipment Company Ltd. of Toronto, Ontario purchased them, along with the Bennett Pump Company, consolidating as the Bennett Pump Company.  Initially they offered Shotwell-Bennett pumps, but the Shotwell name disappeared after 1930.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


Hammarlund Mfg Co. Inc., New York

An old ham radio set I picked up years ago. The company's founder, Oscar Hammarlund, was born in Sweden, but emigrated to the US and ended up working for Elisha Gray, co-inventor of the telphone, and his National Teleautograph Company, whose purpose was to transmit writing over wires.  (The company would eventually become part of Xerox.)  In the process, Hammarlund invented what is now known as the mechanical pencil.  He started his own company in 1910, and produced radio sets for decades.  Although he died in 1945, the company soldiered on, but eventually the factory was closed in the early 70's.  (The Hazeltine Corporation was most famous as a designer and manufacturer of  WWII "Identification Friend or For" (IFF) military detection and identification systems. The Radio Corporation of America--or RCA--developed the 8-track cassette.)  A lot of history in one radio set!

Pre-Kindle Operating Instructions

Stuart Miall.  The World the of the Children, Vol. 4.  London:  Caxton Publishing Co Ltd, 1948, 1953

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Vanished Tool Makes: Bernard's Pliers

Patent September 25, 1894

Three different kinds of pliers, all marked with the same 1894 patent by William Bernard of New Haven, CT.  In his letters of patent, he claimed that making pliers out of stamped metal made them lighter and easier to use. Anyway, he clearly got a lot of mileage out of this one idea.

In 1890, William Bernard also patented the first parallel-action pliers.  

He sold his idea to the William Schollhorn Co which had been founded in 1870. These pliers revolutionized the pliers industry, leading to specialized pliers for such activities as adjusting typewriter keys.  Below, 386B pliers for some special purpose carrying both the Schollhorn and Bernard names:

Below, a staple remover based on a U.S. patent awarded in 1933:

Popular Mechanics, September 1924

June 1947
About eighty years later,  Schollhorn was gobbled up by the Sargent Manufacturing Company, also of New Haven, Connecticut.  Below, two of their offerings:

In 1987, Sargent was acquired by the Rostra Tool Company, which remains the largest independent crimp tool manufacturer in the United States.

Below, an old brochure from the Schollhorn company.  Unfortunately, I can't remember where on the web I snagged it.

Jumpin' Jehosaphat!

When I was a teenager growing up in Toronto, a friend's older brother owned a high-end stereo shop on Spadina Avenue called Ring Audio.  As a promotion, he bought a bunch of these discs and had his circular logo printed on one side.  (This has now long worn off.)  The discs work really well.  Hours of entertainment if you were in a certain state of mind. (I just discovered that Ring Audio is still around, now servicing "vintage" equipment.  I feel old.)