Thursday, November 30, 2017

Rough crossings

Much was made of the discomfort experienced by passengers on early ocean liners, here a series of 1890 drawings by W.W. Lloyd illustrates some of the problems.

Lubrication of your Ducati single

Villiers-Starmaker/ Metisse, August 1966

The Rickman Brothers made lovely frames, with  fibreglass body parts by the Mitchenall Brothers.  Apparently, this particular machine was designed by them for Bultaco.  The frame was based on the Norton Featherbed, and front suspension could be had as modified Norton Roadholders (as above) or Italian Cerianis.

The name "Metisse", by the way, is French for "mongrel."

Simplex "Senior" motorcycle, 1965

The only American motorcycle manufacturer located in the Deep South, Simplex operated out of New Orleans from 1935 to 1975, when they went bankrupt.  The "Senior" model above used a 200cc Villiers engine.  Weighing in at 200 pounds, it was advertised as having "flashing performance."  ("Also available with horsepower restrictor for junior licensing.")  It was offered at $40 U.S. F.O.B. Apparently, the company's profit per motorcycle was only $1.60!  It's a wonder they persisted as long as they did.


This Canadian No 18 drill press lying in front of a scrap yard looked to be in operating condition, but judging by its location and position its future doesn't look promising...

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Atomic space gun

The opening of the Suez canal, 1869

Dean Server, The Golden Age of Steam, Todtri, 1996
This painting by Edouard Roux commemorates the passage of the Empress Eugenie, the wife of Napolean III on the Imperial yacht L'Aigle piloted by NapolĂ©on Coste, the first ship through the  canal.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Now a word from our sponsor...

After Amelia Earhart crossed the Atlantic in the aircraft "Friendship" with copilots Wilmer "Bill" Stultz and Louis "Slim" Gordon, whe became a media sensation. Here she appears in a cigarette ad, no mention of the guys...

Monday, November 27, 2017

The first Auto vs Airplane race

In 1908 Buick staged a race between their car and this unidentified airplane, thought to have been the first race of its type in what was to become a popular show attraction.  Apparently the car was credited with the win. Unfortunately neither the driver or the pilot's names are remembered.

Kitchen of Tomorrow

Martin Greif, Depression Modern, The Thirties Style in America, Universe Books, 1975

"The Kitchen of Tomorrow" as envisioned by  the Briggs Manufacturing Company in 1935. The cylindrical device in the center is an electric range. 
The company built car bodies for Ford, Chrysler and other car manufacturers. In 1933 they used their deep draw steel stamping technology to produce the first steel metal bathtub. The company was bought by Chrysler in 1953, the plumbing division was sold separately.

WWII cartoons by "Pont"

And my favourite:

From Pont (London:  Collins, 1942).

"Pont" (after Pontifex Maximus) was the nom de plume of Graham Laidler, chosen because, when initially preparing for a career as an architect, he did not want his actual name tainted by his side work as a cartoonist.  He went on to become one of Punch's most celebrated cartoonists. Born in 1908, he died tragically young in 1940 of polio.  

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Miles Aircraft, WW2

The Miles aircraft company largely built trainers.  their designs were often technologically and aerodynamic advanced. The company went bankrupt soon after the war, though Fredrick Miles quickly formed a new company, F W Miles which continued to build aircraft. The company was merged  with Auster into Beagle Aircraft.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Sidecar Sunday

Featherbed plus Kawasaki equals Trisaki

Many old bike fans are familiar with the idea of a Triton- a Triumph motor in a Norton Featherbed frame- built as specials since the sixties. Many years ago I read an article, possibly in an 80s Classic Bike about someone who had actually installed a Kawasaki Triple in a Manx frame, heresy! 
Then I find this picture of Reg Pridmore with his version built apparently about 5 minutes after the Kawasaki H1 was introduced! I'd like to see it without the fairing, apparently the bike is still around, but being restored with the original motor. Kneeslider (scroll down to comments).

They used to make things here, Watertown, NY.

The Babcock company built carriages in upstate New York beginning in 1845 and when the auto boom arrived they built specialty bodies for Ford, Dodge and various car manufacturers, including apparently three bodies for Deusenberg. 
They also built a car which they produced in small numbers from 1909 till 1913. The company was quite large, employing 4-500 people at the high point in the early 1920s. In 1925, the business began to dry up and closed in 1926. More here.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Moto Guzzi Ambassador

Seen at the 2017 Barber Vintage Festival
The Moto Guzzi Ambassador came in three colours, this pale yellow was not one of them. A friend in the middle of a restoration, is in a dilemma over which colour to paint it, neither of these are in the running.
BIlly Joel Museum

The first Flying Clipper

An ungainly and awkward looking aircraft, the Sikorsky S-40 was the first of the Pan Am Clipper aircraft used on the route from New York down the east coast of South America. The plane was powered by 4 radial engines and carried 38 passengers in luxury at a stately 110 mph. Three were built and from 1931 till the Second World War they served without incident on that route. More here in the Duke's previous post and from Popular Science 1931  

The aircraft played a bit part in the 1933 movie Flying down to Rio.
 From Jitterbuzz, "The next to the last scene takes place aboard a luxury PanAm Clipper. Julio drags Belinha away from her omnipresent chaperone and races headlong to catch the next Clipper departing for the USA since (he says) they can be married immediately by the Captain (Pilot). When they board the Clipper (through the unusual marine hatch shown in the photo), the reluctant Belinha is stunned to find Roger in the plane. Julio breaks the engagement so that the lovers can be married. He then jumps out of the plane and parachutes back to the Hotel." 

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Convair XFY-1 Pogo

Interesting idea, this was a 1954 experiment in vertical takeoff and landing. Apparently the takeoff part was OK, but it was very difficult to land, as the pilot had to look over his shoulder to see where he was going while being very precise working the controls. 
Three were built, only one flew, mostly in tethered practise liftoffs and landings. It was determined that only very experienced pilots were capable of flying it and although it was capable of speeds approaching 500 mph, jets were the future.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

There's something in the air...

The American Heritage History of Flight, Simon and Shuster 1962
Samuel Langley was an early pioneer in aviation who had made several successful flights with models as early as 1896, some lasting as long as 3/4 of a mile. Working partially with government funds, he built a full scale piloted aircraft and made two attempts at flight. 
Catapulted from a houseboat in the Potomac river, the first takeoff by pilot Charles Manly on October 7 1903 was unsuccessful, the picture above shows the plane breaking up and falling during the second launch on December 8, 1903. 
Nine days later, the Wright brothers achieved the first successful powered heavier than air flight.

Crawford Automobiles

Another manufacturer that came and went so fast they didn't even say goodbye. Soon after this ad appeared in 1909, the company was gone.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Edison's talking doll

Archeology, Nov/Dec 2011.

Shell Oil ads

Wally Olins, Corporate Identity.  Making Business Visible Through Design. 
Harvard Business School Press, 1990.

MG Midget

Diecast airplane

 Another nice little diecast toy with a 5 inch wingspan. Maker unknown, no identification, no markings except some stamped numbers "3" on the bottom of one wing, "2197" on the other. 

Monday, November 20, 2017

Our Young Aeroplane Scouts in England, 1916

Horace Porter.  Our Young Aeroplane Scouts in England.  or Twin Stars in the London Sky Patrol.
  New York:  A.L. Burt Co., 1916.

Dropping bombs by hand and shooting a revolver out of the cockpit.  That's how it all started.

Machinist's clamps

A few from the toolbox drawer by my knee mill.

Sidecar Sunday

Grand Pianos of the Great Depression

Martin Greif, Depression Modern, The Thirties Style in America, Universe Books, 1975
Neither design really appeals to me, the classic grand piano is just too much of an icon. Top, Walter Dorwin Teague for Steinway, 1939. Bottom, Charles Wright for Wurlitzer, 1932

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Rural Line Rules

Champion Spark Plug Applications, 1963

A friend gave this booklet to me recently.  I've never heard of many of the American motorcycles and motor scooters!

FCD Railbus

Geoffrey H Doughty, The New Haven Railroad's Streamline Passenger Fleet 1934-1953, TLC Publishing, 2000
A postwar experiment in light rail transit, These bus-like diesel powered railcars were to act as feeders on light traffic lines of the New Haven Railroad. Ordered in 1950, the first ones started service in 1952. Although the tow test vehicles were effective in service, a change in policy took them out of service soon after being introduced and in the 1956 photo above, shows them in storage, unused.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Mad Scientist Arcade Game

Photographed at Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum in Farmington Hills, Michigan.

This place is worth a trip!  And that's no Bullcrap!