Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sidecar Sunday


Even though I never wear patent leather shoes, for $4 I couldn't resist this at Value Village:

Isadore Jaffe of Cleveland Heights, Ohio received a 1957 patent for this invention, which he assigned to Traveler Products Incorporated of Cleveland.

The version I bought was distributed by Hauser & Reisfeld, Inc., of New York City, which seems to have been a general importer in the 1950's.  They also imported such other "home necessities" as this German-made Eupedus Shoe Expander/Stretcher, currently being offered on one website for $650!

New England Salvage
I wonder how many Imelda Marcos bought?

The warbird whimsy of Walter Wheeler

Below, pen and ink drawings from J.G. Childerhose, Fighter Pilot(Toronto:  McClelland & Stewart Ltd., 1965.)  Illustrations credited to Walter Wheeler.  I can't find anything about him on the web.  Too bad.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Lionel Girls Train 1957

I wonder how well this set sold.

My first Moto-lust; Chapter 2

 It's 1991, 20 years after my last contact with any Suzuki Stinger and just days after I graduated from Art College. I'm in the laundromat, waiting for the washing machine to finish, bored... so I pick up one of the old newspapers and scan the classified section. In "Motorcycles for Sale" is an ad for- unbelievably- three Stingers for sale. I have no job or money but I have to visit the seller. Two are 1969 models, Roman Red, perfect (and expensive), the Pop Green 1971 model is missing the seat, less expensive but still out of my price range. But contact has been made and when they all are sold I follow the 1971. Another couple of years go by and one day I work out a complicated trade for some obscure Italian bike parts plus cash. We load the poor little bike into the trunk of a friend's car and take it home. It's taken twenty years but I finally own a Stinger.

Shell Oil in the Twenties

Wally Olins, Corporate Identity.  Making Business Visible Through Design.  Harvard Business School Press, 1990.
"Oh, you funny, funny man!"

Astounding feats of survival at sea during WWII

First published in 1960, this is an account of the voyage of the survivors of the Britannia after it was sunk in mid-Atlantic in late March 1941 on route to Bombay by the German raider Thor.  82 passengers were crammed into a lifeboat designed for 56,  After 26 days, when the boat finally made landfall in Brazil, 44 had died of their wounds or exposure.  This was the longest voyage in a lifeboat ever undergone by an officer in the Royal Navy.  The book is based on the diary that one officer kept during the voyage.

First published in 1942, this recounts the experience of three ditched Navy flyers who spent 34 days in the middle of the Pacific with no water, food, compass or paddles.  The author, the foreign correspondent of the New York Times, interviewed Chief Petty Officer Dixon after his ordeal.

Louis Zamperini was a mile runner at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.  In May 1943 he was a crew member in a B-24 over the Pacific searching for any survivors of a downed B-25 when his own plane's two engines failed and the aircraft crashed into the sea.  Only three men survived the crash, and one later died during the 47 days they were at sea before being captured by the Japanese and brutally treated.  (For a brief account, see the September 12, 1945 issue of The Milwaukee Journal.)  Zamperini subsequently wrote two books under the title Devil at My Heels, the first published by Dutton in 1956, the second by Morrow in 2003.  Laura Hillenbrand's recent (2010) book Unbroken (Random House)  also recounts Zamperini's experiences.

This book, published in 1950, recounts the experiences of the author who was serving with the Royal Engineers when Singapore fell.  He and one companion decided to try to sail from Sumatra to Australia in a small, open boat.  They were at sea for 127 days before being re-captured by the Japanese.  Sadly, his wife, who had also been captured by the Japanese, died in a Sumatran internment camp in May 1945.

First published in 1974, this is the story of Geoffrey Rowley-Crawley's escape from Singapore after it had fallen to the Japanese.  He seized a junk and sailed to Padang, where he joined a group of fellow officers to escape in a dilapidated sailing boat, the Sederhana  Djohanis, 1500 miles across the Indian Ocean to Ceylon.  After the war, Geoffrey Rowley-Crawley succeeded as the 9th Baron Langford, taking up residence in the family home, Bodrhyddan Castle, in North Wales.

Friday, March 29, 2013

New York Central, Water Level Route.

The Water Level Route, from New York City, up the Hudson river and along the Erie canal to Buffalo on the way to Chicago. Art by James R. Bingham.

Hong Kong, Then and Now.

 Peak Tram 1954

Peak Tram and Hong Kong 2012

We used to make things in this country. #25: No Dusto Noiseless Blackboard Eraser

Those of us of a certain age will remember chalkboard erasers, and sometimes being given the dusty task of taking them outside and banging them together to clean them.  I don't know if classrooms use chalkboard erasers anymore.  The National Gallery of Australia actually has one example signed by Joseph Beuys catalogued as art!

The one above was made by the Copp Clark Company Limited of Toronto, better known in our country as a publishing house.  The company traces its history back to 1841.  Now owned by Pearson Plc, "Copp Clark Limited " is a trading name for what is still the oldest, continuously active publisher in Canada.  However, they have dropped the book and game publishing activities, and now exclusively focus on financial and settlement calendars for the world's financial markets.  So, you'll need to source your No Dusto Noiseless blackboard erasers elsewhere these days.

For more detailed histories, visit  McMaster University (the source of the image below) and/or CoppClark


The marvelous Addressograph!

The World Book Encyclopedia.  Chicago:  Field Enterprises Educational Corporation, 1958.
How addresses were put on business envelopes in the 1950's and 60's.  To understand how it worked, see the Wiki article.  The company that made these machines soldiered on until 1982.   Then the computer started saving the labor of retyping.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Greeves Trialsbike

Cast aluminum exhaust pipe? Never seen that before.

Cannonball Bakers Greatest Record

On September 13 1929, Cannonball Baker climbed Pikes Peak 6 times for what he considered his greatest record, despite his two transcontinental runs the year before.

In tanks, size is everything

S.J. Duncan-Clark and W.R. Plewman.  Pictorial History of the Great War.  1919.

Vanished Tool Makers: William Marples & Sons, Sheffield, England

I recently acquired this lovely Marples bow-saw:

Until the 1990's they were still made by Record Tools in England, with solid beechwood frames.

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

This adds to my very small collection of tools from this firm--an awl, a scraper and a wood chisel:

I also have a rose bit with their name on it:

And a lovely hand-forged spatula which I use very frequently:

In 1821, William Marples Junior joined his father’s joinery making business, and the company was founded in 1828.  In 1860, William's own sons joined him and the firm became William Marples and Sons.  Over the years, they acquired John Moseley & Sons (London plane makers) and Thomas Ibbotson & Co. (Sheffield edge tool makers), growing to become the most prolific and best known Sheffield tool maker.  Their large factory was known as the Hibernia Works:
Their trademark was a shamrock, which appeared on some of their tools (like the badge on my awl, pictured earlier above). 

In 1961, they had about 400 employees.  In 1962, the Record Tool Company and William Ridgway acquired a 50 percent interest in the company and in 1972 the companies merged with several others to form Record Ridgway Tools Ltd.  After 116 years at its Hibernia Works, the company was moved to Dronfield.  A 1982 takeover by A.B. Bahco of Sweden was short-lived, and in 1985 Record returned to British ownership, first as Record Marples Woodworking Tools Ltd. in 1988 then as Record Holdings plc. In 1993.   In 1998, the company accepted a bid from American Tool Corporation, subsequently trading as Record Irwin.  Irwin itself was acquired by Newell Rubbermaid in 2002, and was renamed Irwin Industrial Tool Co.  Both the Marples and Record names were rebranded “Irwin.”  However, the name has since been resurrected as Irwin/Marples and applied to wood chisels and table saw blades reportedly now made at Irwin's new facility in Udine, Italy (although some claim that the chisels are made in China).  I had a look at one of the saw blades in Lowes, and noticed that the package has a paragraph providing a very brief history of Marples.  As the original Marples firm never made circular saw blades, and is long gone now and so had nothing to do with the production of these ones which are not even made in England, I guess the use of their name is sort of a tribute on the part of Newell Rubbermaid. "Hey, we bought your company and closed it down, but some people remember that you made good tools, so we'll stick your name on another tool made somewhere else by someone else."  As the old saying goes, "Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me."

As an aside, William Marples was the uncle of Robert Marples and Joseph Marples, both of whom established competing tool-making business in Sheffield.  The Robert Maples firm disappeared early in the last century, but Joseph Marples Ltd. continues as one of the last old family-owned tool-making firms in Britain.

Marusho; 1948-1967

One of the victims of the Japanese Motorcycle Wars.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Vanished Tool Makers: Druge Brothers Manufacturing Company

I picked up this lovely old tire inflation tool:

Tire pressure is registered through a glass lens in the top:

I hope to refurbish it and put it back into use.

The Druge Brothers Manufacturing Company of Oakland, California seems to have specialized in air pressure tools, making pressure gauges that were used by the U.S. military among others.  Their "Tru-Flate" trademark was registered in the U.S. in 1948.  
They also seemed to have manufactured pinions for post-war Garand rifles.  The only other reference I can find to the company is on a site featuring two toy "straddle carriers" otherwise known as "hysters, " "lumber carriers" or "lumber loaders."  Daniel O. Druge et al. were awarded U.S. Patent No. 2601930 for this toy in 1952.  Apparently, in their ads they pictured both the toy and the actual machine on which it was based, and their toys were dead ringers for the real thing.  A remarkably whimsical product departure for the Druge Bros. firm.
"Tru-Flate" is now a trademark of Plews & Edelmann, a company with roots back into the early decades of the last century.  They continue to sell window-style inflator gauges.  My guess would be that they acquired Druge Bros. sometime along the way.