Monday, July 31, 2017

Weston Aircraft Instruments

Aviation Yearbook February 1942 McGraw-Hill
Part of the Weston Electrical instruments company founded by Edward Weston in 1888. History here. The Duke also did an earlier post on a voltmeter made by the company here.
 I find the use of the Liberator in the ad interesting and a bit optimistic. The ad dates from February 1942, so the US had barely entered the war as the magazine was being composed. The first Liberators had only entered service (with both the RAF and the US) in mid 1941 and there might have been only three dozen flying at the time this was published. 

Bug in the 'hood

I grew up with these cars and I just don't like the noisy, cold, drafty underpowered things. But they did have a hand in my education. Building dunebuggies out of them taught me about the effects of abusing and repairing machinery. When you break something due to misuse and then beef it up so it won't break again, the next weakest part breaks. And so on and so on up the expense chain till finally everything is broken and you have to find another one and start over. 
This one seems to escaped that life and is a nice little toy complete with its metal flake orange paint and flashy chrome bits. I'm guessing 1972?

Screwing up slot-head screws

Bernard E. Jones (General Editor).  The Complete Woodworker.  London:  Cassell & Co. Ltd., 1917.

Goodrich Tires

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sidecar Sunday

Preferred and Critical Angles for Stairs, Ladders, Ramps and Inclines

Walter E. Durbahn.  Fundamentals of Carpentry.  Volume II.  Practical Construction.
Chicago:  American Technical Society, 1951.

In his absolutely fascinating book, At Home.  A Short History of Private Life (Doubleday Canada, 2010), Bill Bryson has a whole chapter on stairs, their construction and the dangers inherent in poor stair design.  Lots of folks have serious falls because of improper stair construction.

Vanished tool makers: Whitehouse hammers

Above, a cross-pein hammer in my shop.  Originally, I thought it was made by Cornelius Whitehouse & Sons. The closest match in the company's 1952 catalogue is for the 360R, a Joiner's hammer:

Often also referred to as a Warrington hammer, over here, we'd call it a cabinet maker's hammer. One writer suggests that the cross-pein on it was probably principally intended for straightening bent nails, something just about no one does today.

Cornelius Whitehouse & Sons was founded in 1869 and operated out of Cannock, Staffordshire, about 20 miles northwest of Birmingham.  At its height, the company employed more than 300 workers making "Hedgehog" brand tools, and making a particular name for itself with heavy edged tools.  It folded in 1964, just shy of its centenary, under pressure from cheaper foreign imports.  In 2016, the Cannock Edge Tool Works was bulldozed to make room for 40 houses.  The two photos below are from the Express and Star.

Below, from the full 1952 catalogue available in pdf on the Timeless Tools website.

Today, the firm is remembered by a Heritage Trail Board.

A visitor pointed out that my hammer is actually a product of W. Whitehouse, a completely different British manufacturer of striking and hand tools.  Oops!  There's very little information online about this firm.  William Whitehouse & Co. (Atlas Forge) Ltd. was apparently originally out of Dudley but then moved to their Atlas Works in Old Hill, Staffordshire, just to the west of Birmingham. They made hammers of all types. The company was acquired by Footprint Tools which was in turn bought by Visa hand tools.  In 2009, G. Gibson & Company bought the hammer division of Footprint Tools.  The hammers continue to be made by Gibson at Barrowby Lane in Garforth, north of Sheffield.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Toy animals from the scrap box

Louis V. Newkirk & LaVada Zutter.  Your Craft Book.  D. Van Nostrand Co., Inc., 1955.

Most kids wouldn't thank you for these today.

Eclipse saws

James Neill was a young British accountant whose background included managing a vinegar business.  At age 31, with no training or background in metallurgy, he started his own steel business.  In 1889, he patented a type of steel-faced iron that he named composite steel, marketing it under the Eclipse trademark in 1909. The name was taken from a British racehorse who had rose to fame a century before.  At that time, he was described by the phrase, "Eclipse first and the rest nowhere," and Neill took this as the company slogan.  Over the ensuing decades, the family-owned company acquired many of the great British toolmakers, including William Smith Tool and Steel, Peter Stubs, John Shaw, Moore & Wright and Elliott Lucas, bringing the companies product range to 11,000 items.

James Neill Tools bought Spear and Jackson in 1985.  (Spear & Jackson was founded in 1830, but can trace its lineage as far back as 1760.  These guys have been making hand tools for a long time!) Ten years later, James Neill Tools was renamed Spear & Jackson.  It is now owned by SNH Global.

Below, my various Eclipse saws (with ads courtesy of Grace's Guide): First, a No. 20 T hacksaw, introduced in 1924:


Then, a prettier and heavier 30 M:

A Model 85, with all kinds of information cast into the handle:

A more modern 675:

A small 14 J hacksaw:


A nice Pad Handle hacksaw:


A very heavy framed No. 70 P coping saw:

Finally, a saw set:


Lovely tools all!  Today, Eclipse continues as a brand of Spear & Jackson, but apparently most of that company's tools are now made in Asia.

Friday, July 28, 2017

MG Midget utility trailer.

The Cornelian

Griffith Borgeson, The Golden Age of the American Racing Car, Bonanza Books 1966
The 1912 Cornelian was probably the first sheet metal monocoque-bodied automobile built. It also had probably the first 4 wheel independent suspension with hubs mounted to the ends of transverse leaf springs. The 118 cu in engine, though about one third the size of the competition powered the car to a mid-field finish in its first race.

Cameras from the 50's and 60's

From Alan Horder (Editor), The Ilford Manual of Photography.  Essex:  Ilford Limited, 1958, 1968.

Founded in 1879, the firm was named for its original location in the London district of Ilford.  The Ilford-branded cameras were made for them by other manufacturers.  The company slumped in the 1980's, was bought by the Americans, slid into receivership in 2004, and was saved by a management buyout.  In 2015, it was sold to Pemberstone Ventures Ltd.

Below, the company's quintessentially British trademarks back in the day: