Saturday, November 30, 2013

Woody with sidecar

Wood trim can be nice....

The Wreck of the Steamship Atlantic, 1873

Canadian Geographic, Dec 1981/Jan 1982

Forty years before the Titanic disaster, the White Star Line lost another great steamship off of Mosher Island, 14 miles southwest of Halifax, Nova Scotia.  On April 1, 1873, this was the largest single-ship loss of life at that time.  Constructed by Harland and Wolff in Belfast two years before, the Atlantic was made of iron with six water-tight bulkheads, 420 feet long and with a 41 foot beam, and four masts as a backup should the her compound engines fail.  Carrying 900 passengers and crew, the ship was low on coal because the shipowners had only provided the bare minimum of low quality coal, which a fierce storm had helped to further reduce.  The captain altered course for Halifax, but tragically mistook the position of the ship.  Mistaking the Prospect lighthouse for the one off of Halifax Harbour, he steered the ship into the "ironbound coast" off Mosher Island.  At 3 a.m. the ship ran full steam into Mars Head, bursting the boilers.  The ship's length to beam ratio of 11 to 1 contributed to what happened next:  she rolled over quickly, exposing the deck to the seas, and whole families were swept into the frigid waves.  The island was a desolate place, and it was not until dawn that someone came by on the shore and saw the half-submerged steamer.  In spite of valliant efforts (especially by the Reverend William Ancient, an itinerant Anglican preacher) at least 550 people perished, including all of the women and all but one of the children.

E-Type Jag demonstrates the First Law of Motion

Leslie Basford.  The Science of Movement.  Greystone Press, 1966.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Diagram of a Modern Plane, 1941

Charles Gilbert Hall.  Skyways. (New York:  Macmillan, 1941).

Vanished Tool Makers: Syncro Corporation, Oxford, Michigan

I picked up this Syncro Model 504 Sander/Polisher this week.  All it needed was a new power cord and to have the push switch re-attached at the front.  Does it ever vibrate!  (According to the ad below, it could do double duty as a "marvelous massager"!)

According to Vintage Machinery, the Syncro Corporation started as a spin-off in 1946, making tools based on vibratory motors developed by the parent company.  Between the mid-1950's and mid-1970's, they made a miniature scrollsaw that was marketed by Sears under both the Sears and Craftsman brands. The company ceased manufacture of power tools in 1974.

Popular Mechanics, October 1950
Popular Mechanics, February 1951

It looks like my Model 504 was upgraded in 1955:
The Family Handyman, May 1955

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Downed Heinkel 111K

Sir John Hammerton (Editor).  The Second Great War.  A Standard History. 
Volume Two.  The Waverley Book Company Ltd.

The New Game of Courtship or Matrimony

J.L. Aranguren.  Human Communication.  McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1967.
Note that this game was carried by A.W. Gamage Ltd. of Holborn, London, England.  This was a fore-runner of the department store, which Gamage later called the "People's Popular Emporium."  The store lasted from 1878 to 1972.  You could buy cars, motorcycles and even aircraft there!  It sounds like it would have been a hoot to visit in its day.  See A.W. Gamage Ltd.

Monday, November 25, 2013

"Blue Spot"

Locomotive Rockport

Looking more like a well-proportioned toy than a serious locomotive, this 4-2-0 was built by Baldwin in 1868 for the Rocky River Railroad, a commuter railway in Cleveland. She is equipped with an enclosed cab and pilot on each end for operating in either direction. The boiler is unusually deep with the water tank located under the cab and over the uncounterweighted driving wheel.
 Chartered in June of 1867, the Rocky River Railroad ran from Bridge St. and Waverly Ave. westward to the east bank of the Rocky River, a distance of 5 1/2 mi. The Nickel Plate acquired control in Sept. 1881.  No word on the ultimate disposition of the locomotive.

Bell X-2 in 1956

1957 Encyclopedia Year Book.  The Story of Our Time.  The Grolier Society Inc.
The aircraft exceeded Mach 3, and reached 126,000 feet, 24 miles up!  It crashed on its last test, killing the pilot.  For the full account, read the X-2 Story.

The original Erie Canal

Edgar McInnis.  The North American Nations.  Toronto:  J.M. Dent & Sons (Canada) Ltd., 1963.
Charles A. Beard, Mary R. Beard and their son William Beard.  The Beards' New Basic History of the United States.  Garden City, NY:  Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1944, 1960.
Ontario School Geography.  Toronto:  The Educational Book Company, Limited, 1910.

Burger Boat Company



During World War II the U.S. Army and Navy ordered 55 vessels over a five-year period from Burger Boat Company. Utility craft, steel tugs, crash boats, rescue boats, minesweepers and sub chasers slid down the ways in rapid succession.

The company was sold several times over the years and went bankrupt in 1990 after the loss of several naval contracts. The company craftsmen and workers formed a group called the Former Burger Workers in order to keep in touch in the hopes that the company fortunes would reverse. 26 months later the business reopened and is still going strong.

Kent Auto-Mini Junior folding bike

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Motorcycle and the Ring of Fire

Scoop Sports Annual 1982.  London, England:  D.C. Thomson & Co. Ltd.

WWII Security Poster: Don't Tell Aunty and Uncle

Sir John Hammerton (Editor).  The Second Great War.  
A Standard History. Volume Two.  The Waverley Book 
Company Ltd..

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Sidecar Sunday

photos by Alvin

Unlikely Survivor, Pontiac Astre

The Pontiac version of the long gone and unlamented Chevy Vega. New tech aluminum engine featured coated cylinder bores instead of iron liners. Didn't work, the cylinder walls wore much too quickly with much bad press. 
Unobtainium version was the Cosworth twincam 2 litre engine but the common man who wanted more speed went the traditional hotrodder route, levering in a small block V8.
This ordinary example sits at a Toronto garage, not for sale...

We used to make things in this country. #135: The Easy Washing Machine Company, Toronto, Ontario

An old fan in my barn.  I can't really figure out what the company's trademark above the "Easy" name above is supposed to represent.  Really poor logo design.

In the late 1800's, a Vermont farmer named Cyrus A. Dodge invented a hand-operated clothes washer marketed as the "funnel on a stick" or "cone on a stick."  In 1877, he partnered with Walter Zuill to found the Dodge and Zuill company in Syracuse, New York to manufacture this device. 

These devices were a huge improvement over washboards.

When electricity began to become more widely available in the early years of the 20th Century, various manufacturers turned their efforts to making electric clothes washers.  In 1907, such washers were offered by the Automatic Electric Washer Company and the Hurley Machine Corporation.  Maytag followed in 1911 with its electric "Hired Girl" wringer washer.  In 1907, Dodge & Zuill came out with their own product, and in 1915 their machine achieved the highest award in the model kitchen exhibit at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco.  In 1917, the company was reorganized as the Syracuse Washer Corporation, and then as the Syracuse Washing Machine Corporation two years later.  By the mid-1920's the company was doing very well, and was reported to have the highest production of any home laundry equipment manufacturer in the world. In 1926, it brought out a wringerless model of washing machine.  In 1932, it became the Easy Washing Machine Corporation.  The company reached a peak in 1948, when 474,831 washing machines were sold.  

Mr. Fix-It's Complete Book on How to Make Your Own Electrical Repairs.
By Six Leading Authorities.  NY:  Greystone Press, 1953.
The Union Chemical and Material Company acquired the firm in 1955, and two years later it was sold to the Murray Corporation of America.  At that time, the company had 5 plants and employeed around 1400 people.  Murray eventually sold the company to the Hupp Corporation of Cleveland, Ohio, which closed it down in 1963.

The Canadian branch of the Easy Washing Machine Company was purchased by General Steel Wares (GSW) in 1958.  GSW dates back to 1927, when 5 companies merged: McClary Manufacturing Company, London, Ontario; Sheet Metal Products Company of Canada Limited, Toronto; Thomas Davidson Manufacturing Company Limited, Montreal; E. T. Wright Limited, Hamilton, Ontario; and A. Aubry et fils Limitée, Montreal.  GSW became a significant Canadian manufacturer of housewares and appliances, especially after buying the Happy Thought Foundry of Brantford, Ontario in 1920.)  Beatty Brothers gained controlling interest in GSW in 1962, through a reverse takeover.  GSW went on to absorb the Moffat Company, a large appliance manufacturer, in 1971, and to partner with the Canadian General Electric Company to form a joint venture called the Canadian Appliance Manufacturing Company (CAMCO) in 1976.  In 2002, they bought the American Water Heater Company.  CAMCO is gone now, fully absorbed into Canadian General Electric (CGE)  (As a cynical aside, production of electric lamps at CGE's Oakville, Ontario plant was transferred to Winchester, Virginia in the 1990's, and production of incandescent lamps moved to Winchester in 2009.  The Oakville plant was closed in 2010, and General Electric now produces these products in Mexico and China.)

As for electric fans, they obviously were part of the product line at some point.  Interestingly, the Canadian company also acted as a distributor for Vornado fans.

We used to make things in this country. #134: McFarlane Manufacturing Company Ltd., Toronto, Ontario

The McFarlane Manufacturing Co. Limited  was headquartered at 370 Main Street in Toronto, and manufactured  ladders, washboards, sleighs, summer furniture and household woodenware under the "Bull Dog" brand.  Obviously, they also made washboards marketed under the "Baby Globe" brand.  Hand washing clothes with these things must have been awful, so its ironic that people now buy old ones to display in their expensive homes.

Friday, November 22, 2013


Packard Engines 1944

Yachting, March 1944
From the advertising in this wartime Yachting magazine most of the boat industry converted to torpedo boat production for the duration!

A Popular Street Conveyance, Manila 1901

March, Alden.  The History and Conquest of the Philippines and Our Other Island 
Possessions.  World Bible House, 1901.
Imagine what it was like to push this thing through muddy streets?