Saturday, September 30, 2017

Artificial ears, 1857

American Farmers' Magazine: Volume 10. January 1, 1857

Vanished tool makers: L.A.L. Ltd. (Lehmann-Archer & Lane, Ltd.), Ilford, Essex, England

Above, a tap and a die made by this firm.  The company dates back to the 1890's.  According to one story I read online, when the British Association (BA) thread form was developed, Mr. Lehmann was approached by the committee to produce the very first BA taps and dies from 0 to 16 BA.  To do so, he had to develop special machines to produce these special thread cutting tools.  The firm operated initially out of Derwent Mills (now a World Heritage Site) and then out of  their Hampshire Works on Forest Road, Ilford, Essex, in east London.



Apparently, their tap and die works was located in the new town of Newton-Aycliffe in the north-east of England.  (According to  its Wikipedia entry, "Aycliffe was a key element in World War II ammunitions manufacturing. The marshy land was ideal cover against the Luftwaffe as it was almost continually shrouded in fog and mist. Huge grass-covered munitions factories were built and serviced by the nearby railway lines. The factories were largely staffed by women (in their thousands); these ladies were dubbed the "Aycliffe Angels", who braved incredible dangers inside the factories."

1951 aerial view of L.A.L. Factory on Aycliffe Industrial Estate, Newton Aycliffe
Source:  Britain from Above

They eventually produced taps under the "Blue Wizard" trademark.  In Canada, this was first registered in 1960.  The company was bought by Osborn-Musket Tools Ltd. (now Clarkson-Osborn) which still uses the Wizard trademark:

Friday, September 29, 2017

Rear Gunner WWI

Unfortunately, I've lost the source of this drawing.  I like its lines.

Vanished tool makers: Burr's Damascus Tool Works, Detroit, Michigan

Above, four Burr moulder's trowels in my possession.  A major manufacturer of moulder's tools, the company started in Detroit, Michigan as Godwin & Burr before becoming Burr's Damascus Tool Works.  For more information, visit the Trowel & Masonry Tool Collector Resource.

These tools were used in making moulds from wooden patterns, into which molten metal would be poured to form the actual parts.  With the coming of 3-D printing, no doubt a declining occupation.

Louis V. Newkirk, Ph.D.,  General Shop for Everyone.  Boston:  D.C. Heath & Company, 1952, 1959.

The Book of Bolton.  Compiled, edited and published by Ed. J. Burrow & Co. Ltd.,
Cheltenham and London, 1961.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

The yacht Tidal Wave

Bill Robinson, The Great American Yacht Designers, Alfred Knopf, 1974
The plans for Tidal Wave were completed by designer Philip Rhodes in 1925 based on an earlier Block Island, Connecticut schooner design.  The boat created much interest at the time and won its fair share of races in the thirties. 
As I was googling the subject, I discovered not only it is still around, living in Maine, it's for sale!

Visiting the President

Howard Mansfield, Skylark, The life, lies and inventions of Harry Atwood. University Press of New England 1999
Early aviation sensation Harry Atwood taking off from the south lawn of the White House in his Burgess-Wright Model F after visiting President Taft. July 14 1911.
 Atwood had just flown a record distance from New York to Washington. The trip had taken 10 days and 2 airplanes to complete.

Norelco shaver, 1961

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

Vanished tool makers: Aaron Hildick, Sheffield, England

Sometime this summer, I found this plough plane blade at a yard sale.  As you can see, it's marked "A. Hildick Sheffield" with "Diamic" in a diamond.

Founded in 1846, Aaron Hildick operated out of the Woodside Works on Rutland Road in Sheffield.   It's "Diamic" trademark goes back to at least 1900.


In 1948, Hildick acquired Henry Taylor tools. By 1951, the company also listed Charles Taylor's (Sheffied Tools) and John Jowett on their company masthead:


The new, larger company continued to use the Henry Taylor name on some of its products until 1974, when it officially became Henry Taylor (proprietor Aaron Hildick), and five years later Henry Taylor (Tools) Ltd., incorporating Alan Hildick.  It's thought this name reversal may have occurred because the Henry Taylor name enjoyed better brand recognition.  Henry Taylor Tools is still around today, and still uses the Diamic trademark.  I believe that they're still made in Sheffield, although I note from some wood turning forums that there are complaints about decline in quality of the tools.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Cross-section of a modern tanker, 1948

From The Petroleum Handbook.  Compiled by Members of the Staff of the Royal Dutch Sehll Group.  Third Edition.  London:  The Shell Pretroleum Company Limited, 1948.

Mine sweeping, WWI and WWII

The New Educator Encyclopedia.  Toronto:  General Press Service, 1942.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The second production P51 Mustang

Roger A Freeman; Mustang at War, Doubleday 1974

A rare period colour photo of the second Mustang, AG346 off the assembly line. Here it is taxying out at Mines Field in Los Angeles in the summer of 1941. The plane went on to fly many combat missions with the RAF, finally being shot down by antiaircraft fire on the 20th of August 1944.

John Dunlop and his bicycle

Roger St. Pierre.  The Book of the Bicycle.  London Triune Books, 1973.
That bicycle looks terrifying!

Bristol Fighters v. Fokkers

Flying Adventures by "Flight Lieutenant".  London:  John Hamilton, 1936
Drawing by Howard Leigh.  To read more about him and see additional examples of his work, visit Aviation Postcard.

Monday, September 25, 2017

1938 Rudge 500

Rudge Sports Special, one of the last of the Coventry-built Rudges.

Douglas Carr and Thirty Moons Around the World

In a recent visit to the Ingersoll Cheese and Agricultural Museum, I came across this fascinating display.

In 1937, Douglas Carr (1910-1994) traveled from Ingersoll, Ontario to England to be there for the Coronation of George VI.  Once over there, he decided to ride his bicycle further.  That he did, travelling across Europe, Africa, Iran, India, south-east Asia, and China.  He was in Germany as Hitler rose to power.  He met Dale Carnegie in China, a meeting that Carnegie related in his syndicated column. He returned home after a journey of 30 months, in time to enlist for military service during World War II.

His bicycle incorporated the Vittoria Margherita mechanism for changing gears developed by brothers Tommaso and Amadeo Nieddù:

According to BikeRaceInfo:

In the early to mid-1930s a rider probably had three sprockets in the back and one up front. Riding below the chainstay was a pulley wheel which acted as a chain tensioner. Early versions required the rider to reduce the chain tension, pedal backwards and with his gloved hand move the chain to the desired sprocket. Later systems, called the Vittoria Margherita (1935 and on) had a rod-controlled pusher on the chainstay that would move the chain when the rider backpedaled. It was clumsy but it beat getting off the bike then removing, flipping and replacing the rear wheel. Cycle historian Frank Berto noted that the Vittoria derailleur systems were rugged, simple, reliable and the tension wheel rode high enough to give good ground clearance, an important consideration in an era of bad roads. Unlike the some of the more fragile gear changing system on the market at the time, the Vittoria still worked when fouled with mud.
Following his trip, Carr made some money by giving travelogues. He stayed in the Ingersoll area and never again made any long bicycle trips to exotic locations.  In his later years, he donated his bicycle, slides and diary to the museum.

To find out more, visit 30 moons many hands.  (I have to say, I found the video a little too "artsy" and quite tedious at times.)

Vanished Tool Makers: Larco Wrench and Manufacturing Corporation, Chicago, Illinois

I found this 8-inch monkey wrench recently.  The only characteristic that I find remarkable is that the frame is made out of formed steel with a dovetail joint at the front.  In every previous monkey wrench I've found, the frame is usually a one-piece forging or casting.

There's very little information on the manufacturer.  The Tool Archives traces it back to at least 1918, and reports that the Larco trademark was registered in 1920.  I don't know why it includes a large "W."

Fortunately, Mister G had published a previous post featuring a 1921 advertisement in which they boast "Greatest improvement in wrench construction in 50 years."  Sorry, but it doesn't seem that special to me.  The only other ad I could find was from 1926, indicating that the company made a range of plumbing supplies:

The Frisco Employes' [sic] Magazine,  July 1926

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Another Carnegie library

The Carnegie libraries are instantly identifiable...This one in Petersburg Illinois looking much like it did when built.

Penn-Rad Oil can

Nice graphics. The Radbill oil company appears to have been started in 1924 but there is very little information online beyond that... There does seem to be a lot of these cans available on Ebay, Etsy etc...

Theodore Roosevelt took to the air, 1910

The World Book Encyclopedia.  Chicago:  Field Enterprises Educational Corporation, 1971.

The Humble Hibachi

After 20-some years, my original Hibachi charcoal barbeque has finally rusted through.  I've salvaged the racks, rack holders and handles as spare parts for my back-up Hibachi I picked up some years ago at a yard sale.  Those cast iron items are easily broken, so it's good to have spares.

I always thought that "Hibachi" was a trademark.  Turns out its just the Japanese word for "fire bowl", something of a misnomer.  The actual word the Japanese use for this kind of heating device is "shichirin" but it has been suggested that this word was discarded for English-language marketing as too difficult to pronounce. They're probably right--go the Wikipedia entry to hear how this is pronounced.  I'd stick with "Hibachi."

The Hibachi barbeque replaced the charcoal-gobbling flying-saucer barbeques of the 1960's.  Those suckers could take a whole bag of charcoal to cook a few steaks.  By contrast, my Hibachi would give me many uses before a single charcoal bag was empty.  And Hibachis were cheap!

During the time I've owned my Hibachi, those huge gas barbeques gained ascendancy.  I can't tell you how many of those I've seen put out for free at the ends of driveways, representing a disgraceful waste of material and resources.  In contrast, my Hibachi will go back to the scrap metal container at the local ReStore to be easily recycled into something else.

The latest things to go along with those huge gas barbeques are outdoor living rooms--people replicate all of their indoor furniture outside. Bizarre.  Soon to be yet more land fill.  Still, conspicuous consumption doesn't seem to be in any danger of foundering.

Hibachi-style barbeques are still being offered in retail outlets, but my experience is that the cast iron is much thinner than the original. Mind you, you can find high-end Hibachis selling for $250 or so, but that seems only something you'd buy if you're one of those people who have a constant need to impress.