Thursday, April 30, 2015

Renault FT tanks on the factory floor

About 2700 FTs were manufactured in 1918. This design was very different from the British rolling fortress concept and with the guns mounted in a rotating turret, provided the pattern for modern tank design.

Schooner Lucia A. Simpson

Built by Rand and Burger at Manitowoc, Wisconsin in 1875, the Lucia A. Simpson was a Great Lakes schooner that spent most of her life carrying lumber. After the turn of the century sailpower quickly disappeared due to steamship competition but she continued working into the thirties and was reputed to be the last schooner in operation on the Great Lakes. She was destroyed in 1935 when she caught fire while laid up at the Sturgeon Bay Shipbuilding Company.

The second stone age

Edmund Hunter.  The Story of Arms and Armour.  Ladybird Books Ltd., 1971.  Illustrations by Robert Ayton.
Post-atomic apocalyptic image from a children's book of the day.  How well I remember growing up under the shadow of The Bomb.

Pathescope Projector

Sid G. Hedges (Editor).  The Universal Book of Hobbies.  London:  Odhams Press Limited, 1935.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Cunard White Star from Scotland

Homeward by the Queen Mary, but what ship out?

We used to make things n this country #192 York Co.

 This set of four very Ruspan-like chairs was found at a garage sale last weekend,  a quick google failed to confirm whether or not they were copies. The York Furniture Co. was located only a few blocks away from where the Spanner furniture was located but I think it's unlikely they would have Spanner product without his name and I'm not sure if it was just a store or also a factory. Anyways, the van was full and we reluctantly left them there...
 Any information on the York Furniture Co. would be appreciated.

Lufthansa 1961

Continental Holiday.  The American Travel Guide to Europe.  New York, 1961.

Vanished Makes: Brown-Saltman Furniture Manufacturing Company

L. Donald Meyers & Richard Demske.  Furniture Repair and Refinishing.  Reston Publishing  Co. Inc. (Prentice-Hall), 1978.
There is surprisingly little information on the web about this trend-setting company.  Brown-Saltman was based in Los Angeles, California.  Over the years, the company's name was associated with design legends such as John Keal, Paul Laszlo, Paul T. Frankl, Gilbert Rhode, Hendrik Van Keppel and Taylor Green.  In the 1930's, Frankl designed some art deco pieces for Dave Saltman, with production beginning in 1941.  The use of mass-production techniques combined with cheaper materials contributed to the minimalist style of American furniture.  Tragically, Saltman died in a car crash the day after signing the contract with Frankl.  Frankl stayed involved with the company until the end of World War II.  From the photo above, the company was still around in the 1970's but disappeared sometime after that.  It's products continue to fetch high prices in the collectors' market.

For a little more information, see The Mid-Century Designs of Brown-Saltman!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Velocette 24 hour record

In June 1960 a stock Venom with prototype Vee-Line Avon fairing was pulled off the production line as the bike that would attempt a new 24 hr record. After months of preparation, blueprinting and 1400 miles of highspeed testing, the team set off to Montlhery race track in France for the March 18th attempt. Eight riders participated, and after 24 hrs, they had set a new record for 500s and by default, 750s and 1000s of 3,864.2 km, an average speed of 161.009 kph. The bike was virtually stock ( well-prepared stock!) and the engine produced 39.5 hp for a top speed of 186 kph.
As far as I know that 500cc 24 hr record may still stand. The 750 class record lasted only a week when it was beaten by a team on a BMW R69.

Planes in Formation, Stuka

First Audi ad, 1910

A History of Progress.  Chronicle of the Audi AG.  Audi AG Public Relations, 1996.

Cobourg and Peterborough Railway Locomotive, 1870

Edwin C. Guillet.  Pioneer Travel in Upper Canada.  U of Toronto Press, 1933, Reprinted 1963.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Chopper Motors

I was never much for choppers but the Yamaha TX750 "chopper motor" in the lower right corner caught my eye. The ad is from the Feb. 1976 Motorcycle World magazine, the TX750 was introduced with great fanfare in 1973 only to be immediately panned for problems related to the "Omniphase" balancer system. There was also a exhaust balancing manifold in the front of the head which couldn't have helped engine matters by blocking airflow to the head. Anyways, a couple of years later the bare engines are available as chopper fodder. I wonder if these were a bunch of unsold engines from Yamaha or from unsellable bikes that had been already broken up.

A well travelled steamer trunk

 The paper tags on this Langsmuir steamer trunk indicate that the owner was a passenger at least twice on the Cunard White Star liner Franconia and that she travelled from London through Liverpool to New York City. I wish the labels had survived a half  or more century better!

Spartan Air Service Mosquitos

A snapshop found by a friend when he was sorting through the family photos. No other information accompanied it.

Spartan Air services was founded in 1946 in Ottawa to conduct aerial photography and surveying around the world, primarily for the mining and petroleum industries who were then looking for new vistas. Their fleet consisted of Ansons, Venturas, a Lancaster, P-38 Lightnings, Mosquitos, Cansos, DC-3s, Bell 47s and Vertols as well as other smaller aircraft.  Their five Mossies were acquired in 1955, after they had been modified for their new role by Derby Aviation in England.  They continued in operation into the mid-1960's.  Spartan Aero was taken over by Kenting Aviation of Toronto in early 1973.

A google search for "Spartan Air Services Mosquitos" yields lots of interesting sites, including a book project on the company from which I was able to glean most of the information above.

Nicopress Tool

Above, an interesting tool I picked up recently.

"Nicopress" is a trademark of The National Telephone Supply Company, established in Cleveland,Ohio in 1901.  They came up with the idea of using swaged sleeves to connect wires, a technique which became very important in the cable-controlled aircraft parts of the era.  The company and its products are still a going concern.


We used to build things in this country, #192 Steam and Diesel locomotives

Donald McQueen and William Thomson; Constructed in Kingston, Canadian Railroad Historical Association Kingston Div. 1999
A 1955 scene at the Canadian Locomotive Company where a Fairbanks Morse diesel is being constructed alongside a 4-6-2 ordered by Indian Railways. The Kingston plant was the last North American company to build both simultaneously.

Runbaken Cozycar Heater

Seen at a local swap meet, this little one inch diameter electric heater was intended to be installed in a sidecar to provide a bit of heat for the "lucky"passenger. The Runbaken Magneto company seems to have disappeared by 1932 but I doubt if the anemic charging systems of the day would put out enough to power this plus the lights. And 12 volts?

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Fleet Finch

As I mentioned in a previous post, a friend's uncle took some photos during the Second World War. This is another of them.

Fleet Finches were built by the Fleet Aircraft Company of Fort Erie, Ontario.  Production started in 1939, predominantly for use as primary trainers in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan.  During the Second World War, Fleet Canada produced over 160 aircraft per month, the highest production of any Canadian aircraft manufacturer at the time.  Founded in 1930, the company ceased aircraft production in 1957, but lives on today as Fleet Canada Inc., an aerospace subcontractor that still carries out manufacturing in Fort Erie. 

French munition workers, WWI

La Vie Quotidienne des Fran├žais au XXe Siecle.  1900-2000.  Booster-LPM, 1999.
Not much different from using a very large rolling pin.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Sidecar Sunday

Sidecar Trials. Husband and wife team working hard on a Villiers powered rig.

The Allan Steamship Line

The Allen Line lasted almost 100 years as a family business, started by a Captain Alexander Allen in 1819 with a route between Scotland and Montreal. In 1857 under the second generation, the company took over the mail contract from Cunard and became the largest private shipping concern in the world.  In 1917 while being run by the third generation of the family, the company was sold to Canadian Pacific and the Allen name disappeared soon after. Ship roster here.

Sydney Harbour Bridge

From A. Gibson.  The Commonwealth.  Young Learner Books.  London:  Chatto & Windus, 1965.  Illustrated by David Harris.

From the Australian Government website:

"It is reported that in 1943 a flight of 24 RAAF Wirraways flew under the Sydney Harbour Bridge, with one of the pilots changing his flight path at the last moment to go over the top of the Bridge only just clearing it in time. 
There is another story of the Americans flying under the Harbour Bridge, with one Kittyhawk flying under in about February 1942 and two Kittyhawks in May 1942. Again in May 1942, the Dutch flew three aircraft of the 18 Squadron NEI-AF under the Bridge in formation and then circled back to do another flight under the Bridge in a single line. 
On 22 October 1943, Flight Lieutenant Peter Isaacson and his crew flew the huge Australian Lancaster, Q for Queenie, under the Harbour Bridge during a tour around Australia to raise funds for the war effort."

I can find only one photo of this last event:

You'd have thought that, as a war bond publicity stunt, the government would have had a film crew, or at least some photographers with good still cameras, standing by to capture this moment.  Apparently not. However, to see a nice digital re-creation, visit Through The Looking Glass.

As for Q for Queenie, she was eventually stripped for components, used for target practice, and then melted down into ingots.

The Fords and a Model A engine, 1927

Booton Herndon.  Ford.  An Unconventional Biography of the Men and Their Times.  Weybright & Talley, 1969.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Trade with Japan, 1886

The Dominion Annual Register and Review

The newly completed transcontinental railway established new trade routes with Japan and on July 27 1886, the barque W.B. Flint arrived in Vancouver with 17,430 half-chests of tea which was immediately loaded on a special 10 car train headed east. The tea arrived in Montreal on August 8th and was unloaded in New York two days later. This was the first of a series of seven chartered ships that unloaded their cargo (mostly tea) in Port Moody for this inaugural transcontinental railway freight service. The railway had made trading with the Orient practical. 

City of Vancouver archives
Part of the tea shipment being unloaded from the W.B. Flint.

The W.B. Flint was built in Bath, Maine in 1885 and was practically new when she made her historic trip from Yokohama to Vancouver. In 1923 she was damaged on a return trip from Alaska and then laid up in Seattle till 1937 when she was burned for scrap.

 Gordon Newell, Maritime events of 1936, H.W. McCurdy Marine History of the Pacific Northwest., p. 448.

Memphis Group

Memphis was a style started in Italy in 1981, characterized by the use of playful shapes, colours and patterns in everyday furniture and household objects. The movement was a reaction to years of sleek, practical modernist "good" design. It was all over by the late 80s. 
Looking at household appliances and furniture in recent years, things have been pretty boring for quite a long time. Time for a Memphis rebirth! More here.

Electric drill in cross-section

Willis H. Wagner.  Modern Carpentry.  The Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc., 1973.

Oil royalties to First Nations

Colin M. Bain, et al.  Making History  The Story of Canada in the Twentieth Century.  Prentice-Hall, 2000.
"Members of the Stoney Nation line up in 1929 to receive their first royalties on oil found on reserve lands."

Somehow, I doubt that the payment was fair.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Travel poster, Cunard 1929

Boarding passengers, 1921

Passengers board a KLM Fokker F-3 in 1921. Great logo!

Pan-American Airways Clipper NC-823M

A black and white photo given to me by a friend.  The picture was taken by his uncle who was involved in the South Atlantic air ferry route during World War II.  The location of the airfield in the photo is unknown.

Initially named the West Indies Clipper, this Sikorsky S-42 was purchased by Pan-Am Airways in 1934. With 38,000 pounds maximum takeoff weight, it could carry 32 passengers and fly 1200 miles at 150 mph.  The S-42 boasted automatic carburetors, propeller brakes and flush riveting and broke all previous world records for speed, range and load. Purchase price was $242,000 (about $4.3 M in today's dollars).  Originally used in Latin America, it was renamed the Pan American Clipper for Pacific Survey flights, then renamed the Hong Kong Clipper in 1937. It sank off of Antilla, Cuba in August 1944 following a mishap during takeoff.

The Fanny Bailey

Phyllis A. Arnold, Penney Clark & Ken Westerlund.  Canada Revisited 8.  Arnold Publishing Ltd., 2000.
There were a number of sailing ships that used this name.  This one was a brigantine registered in 1856 out of  Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Westinghouse Time capsule

At both the 1939 and 1964 New York World's Fairs Westinghouse buried a time capsule intended to be opened in the year 6939, 5000 years in the future. That's optimism!
 Someone please let me know if there was anyone there to open them!

Snail Brand Whitworth wrench

Another "found" wrench in the toolbox. This is a plainer (possibly later?) tool from the company, lacking the nice Snail logo that The Duke posted earlier