Thursday, July 30, 2015

Velocette KSS at Mid Ohio

Photos by Alvin

Full rigged ship, Dalgonar

Coming out of the fogbank in a very light wind is the fully-rigged ship Dalgonar, here in traditional British fake gunport colours. Built in Southhampton in 1892, there isn't much on Google about her career but in 1913, after leaving fully loaded from Callao, Peru she had her cargo shift during a storm. She nearly capsized, continued to list so far she could not be righted and was abandoned after the four day storm, her crew rescued by the French barque Loire. The Dalgonar did not sink, she drifted 3700 miles to beach on a coral reef on the island of Maupihaa in the Society Islands.

Outdoor Life, 1944

We used to make things in this country. #203: Ideal Commutator Resurfacer

Not much call for these anymore.  Shop time is generally too expensive to be bothered resurfacing most motor commutators.

In 1916, J. Walter Becker founded the Ideal Commutator Dresser Company in his mother's kitchen in Chicago.  By 1924, the firm was large enough to move to Sycamore, Illinois.  Notable claims to fame: in 1933, their fuse pullers accompanied Richard Byrd on his antarctic expedition; their wire strippers made the journey to the moon in 1969.  In 2010, they acquired SK Hand Tools.  The company remains family owned

Ideal came to Canada in 1962, is still here and still offers commutator resurfacers, but I doubt that their products are made here anymore.

Bloor Danforth Subway, Toronto, 1971

Any guesses as to the location?  Possibly near Kipling station?
 Turntes out its on the west side of Warden just south of Warden station.

Dashboard Symbols

In 1981 the ISO introduced the series of now-common symbols to identify various dashboard controls and functions for the automotive industry. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

James Thurber: The Car We Had to Push


Excerpted from James Thurber.  My Life and Hard Times.  New York City:  Blue Ribbon Books, Inc., 1933.

On the Level: FM, Denmark

Above, a very interesting 90 cm mahogany level marked with the FM Fornhem Møbelkunst logo.  It has plexiglass coverings on the spirit vials, and unusual hardware on each end.  It also has two enlongated holes in the body to assist in holding it.

"Fornhem Møbelkunst" is Danish for "prestigious furniture art."  Coincidentally (or not) the "FM" apparently stands for "Feldballes Møbelfabrik."

According to decopedia:  

Feldballes Møbelfabrik was established in Århus, Denmark and was active in the 1950s. One of the highlights of its production was based on the cooperation with furniture designer Kai Kristiansen - the so-called FM system, or "FM-reolen". This elegant and highly flexible shelving system was made in teak, oak or rosewood. 

Kristiansen's system featured slotted metal wall standards to support the movable shelf brackets.  I suppose that the unusual hardware on each end of the level was intended to hook into these standards to assist in ensuring that the shelves were level.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Abandoned ships

Robert Carse, The Twilight of Sailing Ships Grosset and Dunlap 1965
Ships at anchor in San Francisco harbour, abandoned by their crews  during the California Gold Rush.

TVR at Mosport

Avro Vulcan

The Avro Vulcan was a jet-powered delta wing bomber first flown in 1956 and was designed to carry nuclear weapons. One hundred thirty six were built but none were used offensively until the Falkland Island war against Argentina in 1982, in what were the longest bombing missions is history. They were retired in 1984. 
One was restored and remains in flying condition for display in air shows. See The Dukes previous post.

Michelin Tire Store

La Vie Quotidienne des Français au XXe Siecle.  1900-2000.  Booster-LPM, 1999.
For a sense of how exciting it was for a "wheelman" to get his first pneumatic tires in 1898, see My First Pneumatic.

Vanished Tool Makers: Harimco, Spain

I don't actually know if this manufacturer is vanished or not, but I can't find any information about them on the web.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Yukon and White Pass freight delivery

Today Bennett B.C. is abandoned but at the turn of the last century it was a thriving gold rush town served by both railway and steamboat.

Flying Merkel

Photo by Alvin
Photographed at Mid Ohio.

Another job you wouldn't want to do: Making varnish, 1940's

The Universal World Reference Encyclopedia.  Chicago:  Consolidated Book Publishers, 1946.

Imagine what their lungs were like after a few years in this work environment!

Francis Harrington Glidden began making varnish in Cleveland, Ohio in 1875.  With the addition of partners and other companies, the name changed to Glidden & Brackett, then to the Glidden & Joy Varnish Company (best know for its lacquer, Jap-a-lac!)  Adrian Joyce bought the firm in 1917, renaming it the Glidden Company.  Over the next two years, 11 other paint manufacturers and distributors were acquired.  The firm moved into edible oils, becoming one of the largest soybean processors in the US by 1939.   By 1934 Glidden owned the Chicago-based E.R. Durkee Co. which made condiments, spices, and sauces.  In the mid-1960's, the company merged with SCM (Smith Corona Merchant), a seemingly odd partnership that benefitted the office machine company greatly.  SCM was acquired by Hansen Trust PLC in 1986, which held onto Durkee Foods but spun off Glidden Coatings to the British conglomerate Imperial Chemical Industries. Amsterdam-based Azko Nobel picked up ICI in 2013, and was itself absorbed by Pittsburgh, PA-based PPG Industries in 2013.  This made PPG the second largest US paint producer, behind Sherwin-Williams

Vanished Tool Makers: Keuffel & Esser Company, New York

Above, a tape measure and plumb bob made by the firm.  Below, a mystery tool.  It has a knife edge along the handle, and tapered and notched end, ostensibly for removing something.

William J.D. Keuffel and Herman Esser were German immigrants who founded their company in 1867. The initial products were drafting tools, making it the first American company to specialize in the production of such instruments.  In 1880, they build a four storey factory in Hoboken, New Jersey.  In 1882, they were successful enough to commission an 8-storey brick building in Manhattan, occuping it until 1961.  (It was designated a New York City landmark in 2005).   The company added slide rules to their offerings in the 1920's, ultimately dominating the engineering market in that department.  With the rise of electronics, sales of all products dwindled during the 1960's and 1970's, and the company filed for bankruptcy in 1982.  The AZON Corporation acquired the K&E trademarks, leasing them to several firms before the name was finally dropped in 1997.

Wheel Horse and Jackie Stewart

Popular Science, May 1981
It's a really good day for mowing your lawn

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Lincoln Highway, 1940's

The Universal World Reference Encyclopedia.  Chicago:  Consolidated Book Publishers, 1946.
"Oh, Harry, the traffic is just dreadful!"

Vanished Tool Makers: Staffordshire Edge Tool Company, Dudley, England

My straight peen hammer made by this company. (It's since been fitted with a handle.)  Most hammers don't boast their maker's name, so it was refreshing to find one that did. 

According to Black Country History:

The Staffordshire Edge Tool Company was founded in 1907, in what had been a greengrocers shop in New King Street. The firm's main business was making hammers (type unknown). In 1966 the finishing side of the production was moved to Cradley Heath. The firm was still using the same machinery as before the First World War (1914-1918). In 1967 production moved to a new site in Willenhall. The firm was at 12 New King Street from 1955 to 1977. The firm is then shown at two locations New King Street and Newlynn Road, Cradley Heath to 1985. They left the area or ceased to exist around 1985.

Curious, though, that an edge-tool company would specialize in hammers. The only other tool made by this company that a google search unearths is a Footprint-style adjustable wrench featured on Worthpoint.  All made with pre-World War I machinery until the bitter end.

BTW, if you visit the Black Country History website, you can learn about such folks as Chubb & Sons (the Wolverhampton lock makers), "Iron Mad Wilkinson" and John Johnson Shaw, who invented the seismograph in a laboratory he built in the cellar of his West Bromwich home.  And, if you happen to be physically in Dudley in England's West Midlands, you can visit the Black Country Living Museum, which bills itself as "the world's first industrial landscape."