Friday, August 31, 2012

Bailey Island Cribstone Bridge, Maine

Shown at low tide and apparently the only one of its kind in the world.
 In 1927-28 this bridge connecting Orr Island with Bailey Island was constructed of granite blocks stacked up like cribbing. The concept was to build a structure that allowed the tides to continue to flow freely through Wills Gut and the granite block construction was considered heavy enough to be able to withstand any storm. The bridge was reconstructed in 2009-2010 to redeck and to restack and replace broken cribstones.

High Tide

Google Maps view of the bridge and temporary bypass during reconstruction.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Guantanamo Bay and German POWs

Raj Ahluwalia, We Interrupt This Program.  The News Broadcasts That Kept Us Tuned In.  Toronto:  Winding Star Press (Stewart House Publishing, Inc.) 2002.

Building the Kenosha Cadillac

The New Book of Knowledge.  NY:  Grolier Inc., 1979.
Rambler:  a name that started with Nash and ended with AMC before Renault took over.  According to Alfred P. Sloan, Jr.'s book, My Years with General Motors (Macfadden-Bartell, 1965), in  April 1916 Charles W. Nash formed the Nash Motors Company and three months later bought the Thomas B. Jeffery Company of Kenosha, Wisconsin, a former bicycle manufacturer which produced an automobile called the Rambler.  The last Rambler rolled off of the assembly line 10 years before this encyclopedia was published.

Churchill 1 Tank

On display at Major General Worthington Memorial Park at Camp Borden Ontario.
Armament consisted of a two pounder (40mm) anti-tank gun in the turret and a 3 inch howitzer in the hull. Sixty tanks of this variant were used by the Canadians in the ill-fated Dieppe raid and all were lost.

Cook Lead Hammer Service

It seems like a strange title to forge into a hammer handle. As this lead hammer seems rather used, I wondered if this company re-heads worn lead hammers. A quick Google search reveals that the Cook Hammer Company is alive and well in Warwick, Rhode Island making quality non-marring and non-sparking hammers.
 The company was started in 1937 by Lawrence H. Cook because he saw the need for fine quality, non-marring hammers in local industry.  The demo of the before and after shows this hammer to be somewhat past prime... and there's no mention at all of the RoHS Directive.

Motorcycle Pulp Fiction: Two-Wheeled Thunder 1962

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The "folded paper" era of car design

The golden age of angles, on display at Goodwood.

WWII Propaganda Poster "Thanks for the tip off" 1941

Treasures Canadian Museum of Civilization.  National Museums of Canada 1988.

Stanley No. 77 Marking & Mortise Gauge

I found this in a free pile at the end of someone's driveway.  Some folks just don't know what they have.

Rosewood and brass, you adjust the scriber using the thumbscrew at the end, which moves the scriber back and forth via a brass plate into which the thumb screw is threaded.  Apparently it's circa 1910.  Lovely old tool, showing its age and heavy use.  If it could talk!

According to the Norse Woodsmith, "The Stanley #77 marking gauges are some of the best designed marking gauges out there, but unfortunately are no longer available... There are several manufacturers out there today making them, but they either suffer from high price or from low quality.  In my opinion, the high price commanded for these tools are well worth it, as they are surprisingly complex to make for such simple tool."

Edwin T. Hamilton.  The Boy Builder.  Dodd, Mead & Co., 1933.

Monday, August 27, 2012

My favorite sculpture (updated)

Full scale of the 426 ft. long 6 masted schooner Wyoming built by Percy and Small in Bath Me. It represents the ship on the slipway as it was being built in 1909. The deck would be 40 feet off the ground. The plan is to eventually have the whole hull rib structure replicated but this does the job nicely...

Summer 2015, Masts added, In reality, they would be double this height.

Mosin-Nagant 1891 rifle

One of approximately 37,000,000 built between 1891-1965, this type of rifle was used mainly by the USSR and allies.
This particular rifle was made in 1905 by the Sestroryetsk Arsenal and a century later is showing considerable wear. It was around during the Russo-Japanese conflict, World War 1, the October Revolution and WW2. Imagine what it has seen. 

One of my vices is vises, Jiffy Vise

I found this "Jiffy Vise" in a friends locksmith shop.  About 7 inches long, the threaded shaft is enclosed and the square sleeve blocks enclose a two inch ball, making it multipositional provided you can clamp the sleeves together, possibly in a second vise? No information on it that I can find.

The Maus that Roared

The Reader's Digest Book of Strange Stories, Amazing Facts.  Montreal:  The Reader's Digest Association (Canada) Ltd., 1975.
Designed by Ferdinand Porsche, the Maus ("Mouse") weighed 180 tons and stood almost 20 feet high.  Front armour was 12 inches thick.  It was powered by a 1500 hp Diesel engine driving an electric generator which powered two motors mounted in the hub of each caterpillar track.  Introduced in 1944, its sheer size and weight were its undoing.  Top speed of only 12 mph.  Each track was one yard wide, but it could only travel on the driest ground without sinking, and it cracked foundations on buildings along the roads it traveled, smashed cobblestones and shattered windows.

For another image, see my Early ATV posting.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


The Reader's Digest Book of Strange Stories, Amazing Facts.  Montreal:  The Reader's Digest Association (Canada) Ltd., 1975
K-boats were among several ideas explored by the British admiralty to deal with the U-boat threat in the First World War.  (Other ultimately unsuccessful ideas included sinking barrels of fruit salts and then blowing them up to create enough effervescence to bring U-boats to the surface, or training sea lions to locate subs by their propeller noise.)   K-boats were steam-powered vessels 330 feet long and heavier than the navy's biggest destroyers at the time.  Diving involved shutting off the steam, dousing the boilers, lowering the two funnels and shutting nine watertight hatches, a process which took almost 5 minutes (compared to 90 seconds for a well-executed crash drive on a U-boat).  The K-boat's length and weight made it difficult to trim and steer, leading to many collisions and a death toll of 270 (which almost included the future King George VI) before the concept was abandoned.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A work in progress

But apparently with no set deadlines....


Chris H. Groneman, John L. Feirer & John C. Spry.  General Shop.  Mc-Graw-Hill Co. of Canada Ltd., 1956.
A DuPont operator inspected a panel of Lucite acrylic resin for a bomber nose cone.
  Source:  Adrian Kinnane.  DuPont:  From the Banks of the Brandywine to Miracles of Science.  E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, 2002.

"This girl in a glass house is putting finishing touches on the bombardier nose section of a B-17F navy bomber, Long Beach, Calif. She's one of many capable women workers in the Douglas Aircraft Company plant. Better known as the "Flying Fortress," the B-17F is a later model of the B-17 which distinguished itself in action in the South Pacific, over Germany and elsewhere."

October 1942.  Photographer:  Alfred T. Palmer.

One source  credits a Canadian, William Chalmers, with the invetion of polymethyl methacrylate, as part of his doctoral thesis at McGill University in 1930 or 1931.  This was the first workable transparent acrylic.  He sold his patent to Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) for $5000.  ICI licensed it to DuPont and to Rohm and Haas for commercial production.  Rohm and Haas quickly marketed their product as Plexiglas in 1936, while DuPont released their version, "Lucite" the following year.  ICI marketed its product as "Perspex" in Great Britain.

The Rohm and Haas website gives a different story.  Their company began in 1904 when a young chemist named Otto Rohm noticed that the waste products of the Stuttgart gas works where he was employed smelled like a leather tannery.  At that time, fermented dog manure was used to soften or "bate" the leather preparatory to tanning.  Unhygenic and unsavory, Rohm was eventually able to develop an alternative using enzymes from animal pancreases, and patenting this as "Oropon" in 1907.
“O stands for Oropon,
The Universal Bate,
The exceptional tanner who does without
Is simply Out of Date.”

– The Oropon newsletter, April 1920

The same year, he founded a company with German businessman Otto Haas, followed by an American branch in 1909. After World War I, the two companies were legally separated, but continued to share research.  Their website credits Rohm with the invention of PMMA while trying to develop a plastic separator for the production of automobile safety glass.  The new product's application to automobiles was considered:  as a publicity stunt, Rohm and Haas teamed up with General Motors Pontiac division, to creat a Plexiglass Deluxe Six car for the 1940's New York World's Fair, and a second for the Golden Gate Exposition in San Francisco.  According to the June 2011 issue of Motor Trend, the latter car is owned by the Smithsonian, while the former car disappeared for years but recently reappeared and was put up for auction.  In any event, in both Germany and the U.S., the value of this product to the military was quickly realized, especially as a replacement for glass in bomber noses, canopies and gun turrets.  In Germany, it was used secretly (and in contravention of the Treaty of Versailles) to make canopies for Luftwaffe bombers, with sales increasing by a factor of nine.   In the U.S., it became an essential war product.  According to the Evonik Industries website (now the parent company for the former German Rohm & Haas), Otto Rohm died in 1939 and his son, being half-Jewish, had to leave for Switzerland. Because of its importance to the German aircraft industry, the German Rohm & Haas plants were targets for heavy bombing during the war.

After the war, according to the American Rohm and Haas website, the company went on to develop a light-stable dye for plexiglass in 1946, opening up the civilian market, as well as developing the first acrylic latex paints in 1953.  They also got into electronics, noting that in 1985 the average microchip contained 275,000 transistors but that, by the year 2000, this number had expanded exponentially to 42 million.  While Rohm & Haas sold its Plexiglas business in 1998, in 1999 it acquired the iconic Morton Salt brand.  When it rains, it pours.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

AMF, Harley and Aermacchi team up...

Based on experiences with small bore European motorcycles of the sixties and seventies, I'm sure it's a terrible motorcycle.... but I want one.

Vanished Tool Makes: Bruno Tools

An unusual expansive bit made by Bruno Tools out of Beverly Hills.  As it says on Martin J. Donnelly Antique Tools, "When one thinks of Beverly Hills, California, one thinks immediately of auger bits."

Bruno Tools advertised frequently in Popular Science in the 1940's and it seems from their ads that this tool was their sole product.  Apparently, not enough sales to carry them far into the post-war world.

Popular Science, December 1944

 The Model 201B may not have been offered until 1947:

Popular Science, November 1947

Interesting trademark:

 The British liked it too!