Monday, June 30, 2014

The Princess Helene

Built on the River Clyde in Scotland and designed specifically for ferry service in the Bay of Fundy, the Princess Helene did the Saint John to Digby run for 33 years, ending in 1963.

Miss Toronto 1926

Hugh W. Peart & John Schaffter.  The Winds of Change.  A History of Canada and Canadians in the Twentieth Century.  Toronto:  The Ryerson Press, 1961.
"You've come a long way, baby."

For Health Enjoy Aylmer Tomato Juice

I found this can opener in a box of old metal junk I bought for a buck at a yard sale yesterday.  It was made by Newell and patented in 1935.

The Alymer Canning and Evaporating Company was founded in the town of Aylmer, Ontario in 1879.  (In 1835 the community was named after Matthew Whitworth-Aylmer, 5th Baron Aylmer, the Governor General of Canada, whose incompetence in the rôle contributed to his recall and probably to the subsequent Lower Canada rebellion of 1837.)   By 1881, the factory employed 100 workers and occupied over an acre of land and included a tin shop, canning house, produce house, and evaporating house.  Initially, the company packed peas, beans, cider, pickles, vinegar and sauces. Ten years later, it had become the third largest plant of its kind in Canada.  In 1903, 30 Ontario factories amalgamated to form Canadian Canners Limited.  Seven years later, further 60 companies were amalgamated for form Dominion Canners.  In 1916, the condensed milk operation was sold to Carnation.  In 1923, the company once again became known as Canadian Canners.  In 1940, the Aylmer plant became the first in Canada to produce frozen food using Clarence Birdseye's process.  In 1956, California-based Del Monte bought the firm, closing the Aylmer canning operations in 1959, and the entire plant in 1962.  The plant was subsequently demolished in 1968.  This was the beginning of a trend. The Del Monte and Aylmer brands were acquired by CanGro in 2006.  As Thomas Walkom wrote in the Toronto Star in 2008:

"The 112-year-old CanGro Foods plant at St. Davids near Niagara Falls produces canned pears and peaches under the Aylmer, Ideal and Del Monte labels. CanGro will continue to sell Aylmer, Ideal and Del Monte tinned fruit in Canada. But the fruit itself will no longer come from this country. 
News of the St. Davids closure came just three weeks after CanGro closed its vegetable canning plant in Exeter, north of London. Here, too, CanGro will continue to market canned vegetables in Canada under its various brands. But the vegetables themselves will come from abroad.
Both had been part of the Kraft Foods stable. But, in 2006, two U.S. private capital funds specializing in leveraged buyouts (using borrowed money to buy companies and then wringing savings from these acquisitions to pay off the loans) created CanGro to purchase Kraft's five canneries in Canada.
What seems clear now is that CanGro was interested less in the canneries themselves than in the profitable brand names that went with them. Of the five plants the company purchased, only one – a tomato cannery in Dresden, north of Chatham – remains.
Good things grow in Ontario. Just try to find them."

The St. David's site is now "Cannery Park," distinctive Semis and Singles from the $290's."  Let them eat brick.

In 2007, Quebec-based Baxters Canada Inc. purchased the Aylmer Soup business from CanGro Foods.

Elgin County Archives, Robert Moore Postcard Collection

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Solution for too-short shelves.

Try that with your Kindle

E O Richter & Co.

A beautiful engine-turned drafting tool pen set for drawing dotted lines. These tools must have been a joy to own and use.
Emil Oskar Richter (1841-1907) started out as a clock maker but branched out into drafting tools. He founded E O Richter & Co in Chemnitz, Saxony in 1877, as a company that manufactured high quality drawing Instruments. 

Scientist at work

David Chatterton (Editor).  The Mind Alive Encyclopedia.  Technology.  Chartwell Books Inc., 1968, 1977.

An early attempt to develop H-bomb resistant racing pigs.

BSA Butt Pad

Meant for their rifles, and just a tad harder than their motorcycle saddles.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Sidecar Sunday

Mary Driver, trials rider

Don Smith, Ride It! The complete book of Motorcycle Trials, Haynes 1975
On a Greeves 250

Cities Service Koolmotor Oil: From the Heart of the Crude

An old oil can I rediscovered on one of my shop shelves:

"Heart cuts"??  So oil is like cuts of meat?  Misleading advertising at its best.

The Cities Service Company was founded by Henry L. Doherty in 1910 as a supplier of gas and electricity to small public utilities.  Under his helm it expanded well beyond this, finding and opening many of the major US oilfields.  In 1927, the company introduced "Koolmotor" high octane gasoline, and "Koolmotor" engine oil.  The company became known by its present name, Citgo, in 1965.

Tree Surgery, 1922

J. Arthur Thomson. (Ed.).  The Outline of Science.  A Plain Story Simply Told.  Third Volume. New York & London:  G.P. Putnam's Sons, The Knickerbocker Press, 1922.
Today, they'd just cut it down.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Locomotive Pennsylvania, 1863

In service till 1885, this locomotive was the largest in the world when built.

de Havilland Dragon Rapide

The de Havilland DH.89 Dragon Rapide was a popular British short-haul passenger airliner designed in 1933. It was a robust and reliable airplane and out of 731 built, many are still flying today. Unfortunately not this one, it crashed on landing in the Sahara Desert, Algeria on August 24, 1960. 
Len Martin, Airliners of the World, Arco Publishing 1966
Still in regular service in 1966, this one is still flying.

Really hating piano lessons

Dieter Bachmann & Danial Schwartz.  So Many Worlds.  A Photographic Record of Our Time.  Bullfinch Press (Little, Brown & Co.), 1996.
Not much need for a grand piano in a Welsh mining village when the mine closes.

Boring history 3: Standard Tool Company, Cleveland, Ohio

I have a few twist drills made by this company, which still find use in my workshop, perhaps a century after they were first made:

The Standard Tool Company started in the 1800's and manufactured straight lip increase twist drills, sockets, chucks, solid and shell reamers, screw driver bits, machinists' screw drivers, special tools and machinery.  It apparently became a branch of the W. Bingham Company, one of the midwest's largest hardware concerns.  Founded in 1841 and incorporated in 1888, the Bingham Company became exclusively a wholesaler in 1915, selling various hardware as well as its own tools under the W. Bingham Co. brand.  Unable to compete with discount stores, the company's wholesale warehouse was closed in 1961.  The company subsequently changed hands several times, eventually being purchased by Formwell Products which continues to operate as a business in Solon, Ohio.

Below, a photo of the Standard Tool Company's factory in 1939:

Cleveland Public Library Digital Collection

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Canadian Toy Testing in 1961

Canada 1962.  The official handbook of present conditions and recent progress.  Ottawa:  Information Services Division, Dominion Bureau of Statistics, 1962.
Now that's rigorous toy testing!

King Klik

I recently came upon this British-made "King Klik" pop rivet gun.  I'd never heard of the make before, and I believe the name must have been a play on the better known and older "King Dick" line of British hand tools.

After serving in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, W.G. Townley founded Harmsworth, Townley & Co. Ltd in 1945 as a manufacturer of hand riveting tools.  During the 1950's, he patented the King Klik Lazy Tongs hand riveting tool, and during the 1960's the company was supplying over 90 percent of the world hand riveter market. Unlike many other small British tool makers, the company managed to survive the turbulent decades beyond this, and his daughter Clare assumed control in 2003.  Under her leadership, the company has moved to a new 'green' premises' called "The Melting Pot" in Todmorden on the Lancashire/Yorkshire border.  The company continues to make King Klik tools in that location.  Their website proclaims:

"As testament to the durability of our tools, we are frequently contacted from around the globe for spares and extra tools by customers from 30+ years ago when the Mr Townley was in charge!"

I like to put such tools back to work, keeping them original if possible.  However, the paint is in such poor condition on this tool, and the exposed steel is rusting, so I decided to strip and repaint it:


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Borg-Warner in wartime

Spearpoint Wrenches

Another couple of Whitworth wrenches found at a motorcycle swap meet. From what I can find on the net they were another supplier of toolkit tools for British motorcycles and cars. 
Any more information on this company cheerfully accepted...

Vanished Makes: Sky-Line Kitchen Tools

Two home knife-sharpeners I've picked up over the years, both made by Sky-Line:

Sky-Line was a British manufacturer which also made kitchen knives and utensils.  They must have exported all around the world: one of their sharpeners has found its way into a New Zealand museum.  Sky-Line kitchen utensils have been updated and reintroduced in Britain by Lakeland.

1946.  Source:  Grace's Guide to British Industry

Vanished makes: Viewlex, Holbrook, Long Island

One of the more interesting aspects of this image is that it is a photo inside the Viewlex factory in Holbrook, New York.

Viewlex was a manufacturer of slide projectors and associated audio-visual media devices:

They seem to have reached their prime in the 1960's, when they introduced some innovative products, including the "Slide Scriber":

Popular Science, June 1962

Toledo Blade, March 24, 1962

In 1964, they offered the "Viewfax", a dry copy machine:

"The device, which uses no liquids or chemicals, will pro­duce spirit masters, projection transparencies, offset masters, regular office copies and also laminate. It is designed for use in schools, offices and factories and measures 16 by 13.5 inches. It will retail for about $200."

In 1966 came "Viewlex Super Sound,"  the first 8-mm cine projector designed to add sound to this format of film.  This was also called the M format or Maurer 8 format, named for the engineer who designed it, John A. Maurer.

Starting in the late 1960's, the company entered the planetarium technology arena with its Apollo projector.

The "Viewlex" trademark was first filed in 1958, but cancelled in 2000.  Their "Apollo" trademark expired in 1992.  Apparently, the firm declared bankruptcy sometime in the 1990's.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Classic Honda Interceptor

It came from the swamp...


Canadians at War 1939-45 Readers Digest 1969

Women in steel, 1943

Life, August 9, 1943
Not another beauty aid ad!

Shimwell, Alexander & Co. signal lamp

A friend found this among his late father's effects:

At first, he thought it was an old flashlight, but it has a telegraph key at one end.  Turns out it is a Morse code signal lamp.  Staff at the Military Communications and Electronics Museum in Kingston identified it as a naval unit based on its black colour, and the stand on the bottom for steadying it on a flat surface during use.  (The units issued to the army were green, and lacked the stand.)  On the battery box it carries the British broad arrow.  Other features identify it as World War II vintage (cold war items were made of plastic).

I can find very little information on the manufacturer, Shimwell, Alexander & Co., Ltd., other than that they specialized in military lighting including flashlights, signal lamps and inspection lamps.  In the London Gazette of January 1957, they are listed as electrical engineers holding Royal Warrants of Appointment to his Late Majesty King George VI.  (Perhaps the King enjoyed signalling his subjects from one of the windows of Buckingham Palace?)  The company was still in business in the early 1970's, but seems to have been dissolved not much later than this.  Based on Google Maps Streetview, it's location at 13 Bury Street seems to be a residential neighbourhood now.