Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Boxford lathe

A friend sent me an ad for a lathe for sale, a Boxford model A, a model and manufacturer I had never heard of. It featured a 9 inch swing and 36" bed so this was a solid full-size machine.
 A quick google produced a Wikipedia entry, Boxford lathes were produced in Box Tree Mills in Yorkshire, England by the Denford Machine Tool company, another name I'm hearing for the first time. The company had been formed before WW2 to manufacture precision measuring and inspection equipment, the production of lathes started in 1946. For details on these older machines, the fabulous site has a comprehensive section.
 Also I was pleased to discover The Denford company is still around manufacturing CNC machine tools.

The restoration and use of old tools

You can still find lovely old tools at yard sales, for pennies on the dollar.  Many of these can be brought back to life with a little effort and elbow grease, and can repay the effort by introducing the user to the simple joys of working with hand tools.

For those with such interests, I've uploaded two short but excellent articles from Canadian Workshop, a magazine published in Marham, Ontario which started in 1977 but ceased publication in the 1980's.  This seems to have been the decade that saw a change from rescuing and reusing such tools to simply buying cheap.  Anyway, below are the links:

Working With Hand Tools (December 1984)

Restoring Old Tools (August 1984)

The decline of the American hand tool industry: 1984

While doing some research, I stumbled across a fascinating document, available as a free ebook from Google:  Trends in International Trade in Nonpowered Hand Tools.  Report to the Committee on Ways and Means.  United States International Trade Commission Publication 1485, February 1984.  

The American hand tool industry was in a decline, with 753 tool companies in 1982 compared to 767 in 1977.  The report documents the reason for this, including cheaper competition from abroad, especially Taiwan (because of lower wages, newer machine tools, lower quality steel) and declining wages for those in the hand tool manufacturing business versus American industry at large.  The following tables are especially interesting:

Below, little old Canada was exporting $128.5 million worth of tools to the U.S. in 1982.  Who knew?  Still, the Netherlands (with only 7 manufacturers) beat us out.

Given its source and mandate, the report is American-centric.  This was at a time when American companies were over in England buying up the much older British tool making firms, which unfortunately usually translated into stripping assets, shutting factories, and simply taking the famous names and brands to stick onto lower quality products ultimately made in China.  The table below shows that, at least in 1982, the Yanks were exporting more tools to the U.K. than they were importing, resulting in a trade balance in favour of the Americans.

Interesting that only five large British handtool firms could account for 30 percent of production then.

Below, problems with U.S. employment in the hand tool manufacturing industry:

Finally, an interesting insight on how tools are produced and distributed in Japan.  In 1981 they had 3,525 factories making these items.  Compare that with the U.S. figures given above.  

We've also featured several Japanese tool makers on this blog, but tracing the tool makers can be very difficult.  I guess the following explains why.

In a  2013 review ("Meeting our makers: Britain’s long industrial decline") of Nicholas Comfort's book The Slow Death of British Industry: a 60-Year Suicide, 1952-2012 (Biteback Publishing), Robert Skidelsy wrote: 

In the early 1950s, Britain was an industrial giant. Today, it is an industrial pygmy. Manufacturing was industry’s bedrock. In 1952, it produced a third of the national output, employed 40 per cent of the workforce and made up a quarter of world manufacturing exports. Today, manufacturing in this country accounts for just 11 per cent of GDP, employs only 8 per cent of the workforce and sells 2 per cent of the world’s manufacturing exports. The iconic names of industrial Britain are history; in their place are the service economy and supermarkets selling mainly imported goods.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Remembering Stephen Dukoff

It is with regret and great sadness I have to inform everyone of the passing of  "The Duke", my co-blogger for the last 7 years, last  Sunday night. 
I met Stephen back in the eighties when we were both involved with teaching motorcycle rider training in Kingston, Ontario. Despite he being Norton-centric and me with Japanese bikes we hit it off immediately, he had a offbeat sense of humour and enjoyed more than a little bit of silliness. He considered the telephone answering machine message a perfect platform for elaborate, ridiculous and humorous theatre. We both liked tools, junk stores, garage sales and in general old machinery.
 Life went on, Diane and he raised a family of two boys and I went off to design school in Toronto. This was pre-internet days and maintaining contact was harder than it is now- but we kept in touch, mostly by sending each other photocopies or clippings intended to amuse, inform and entertain each other. He bought a mid-fifties Jubilee Ford tractor- apparently on my recommendation, I had just bought a 8N Ford, having admired them from childhood. Another connection and another subject to discuss. 
 At some point in the mid 2000s Stephen's emails, in between the banter, started to incorporate well-researched and entertaining stories documenting the details and history of some old tool or machine he had picked up at a thrift shop or garage sale, I read them and could not bear to delete or dispose of something that had obviously taken a great deal of effort. As these started to accumulate in my inbox, I decided to save them in a blog- without telling him. As the postings grew, I let him know what I was doing- gave him the link and offered three choices, if he absolutely hated it I'd delete them, if he was tolerant of me just saving them in that format, I'd continue to post them- or if he wanted to I'd give him permissions and he could post whenever he had something to post. Initially, as a grumpy old guy set in his ways, he absolutely refused to take part in this new technology, however he soon got used to the idea and once started, joined in enthusiastically, making two posts a day, good solid researched articles- which totally eclipsed my infrequent posts usually consisting of scanned images from old books and magazines- or photos I had taken of anything that interested me. He was the heart of the blog.
Here we are 7 years and 12 days later... 7839 posts online and we're currently approaching two million views- 1,974,465 views today... (A sincere thank you to all our viewers and commenters)- all on the subject of what amounts to "old rusty crap" from our industrial and transportation history, it still amazes me.
Thank you Dr. Dukoff, for all the camaraderie, banter and interesting valuable information you've provided over all these years. We'll miss you. Godspeed.
David, The Duke (center) and me (right); a Halloween a long time ago...
Now what of the future of the blog...? The Duke has left about a hundred draft posts ready to go- so I'll post them in the usual manner... and apparently also about 10 gig of scanned and saved material that I'll sort through. I guess I'll keep going as long as I'm enjoying myself.

Phoenix Trimo, 1903

Before bumpers were invented... it looks like it was adapted from a wheelchair...

8N tractor, Blackhawk half tracks

I know... I've posted this 70 year old vehicle and accessory halftracks before, but Sunday was a perfect day to get out and salvage some beaver-killed trees for next years firewood.  Couldn't resist taking a few pics of a delightful machine.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Surplus Triumph TRWs!

An advert from Northwest Cycle, Winnipeg circa 1966. Thanks, Fred!

In my search for info and parts for the TRW project, a friend sent me this from his collection. 
As he says,"Northwest had bought a truck load back in the day. They would " Recondition" them, as in repaint them whatever colour you want, getting rid of the army green etc., put a Chrome Mirror, Saddlebags etc, you know? Update them for modern civilian use, Ha! Ha! But the price sure was good for the day. My 1966 750 Matchless was $1100 new back then at Chariot Cycle : ). Think I was making a dollar an hour as a parts guy at AVO Sales Marina.

Remington Typewriters 1923

And there's a Canadian office too...

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Sidecar Sunday

Light motor brigade, N-47533, Waalbrug Nijmegen 1937

S.S. Daniel J. Morrell

Dwight Boyer, Ships and Men of the Great Lakes , Dodd, Mead & Co, 1977
Lakers SS Bethlehem, Edward Y. Townsend and the Daniel J. Morrell rest at Cleveland during a steel workers strike. 
The Edward Y. Townsend and the Daniel J. Morrell were making the last run of 1966 when they were caught in a late November storm. Fighting 20 foot waves and 70 mph winds, the Daniel J. Morrell broke in half and sank. Only one crew member survived out of twenty nine, being rescued from a life raft about 14 hrs later. 
During the same storm the Edward Y. Townsend suffered a crack in her deck which caused the end of the ship's career. Two years later, having been sold for scrap and while being towed to Spain, ran into a heavy storm off Newfoundland and sank. 
The SS Bethlehem was retired in 1974, then scrapped in Spain. 

Temperance and beer

Remember, beer is the best Temperance drink in the world...

Laverda 750 SF

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Avro Arrow remains

I missed the 59th anniversary of the end of the Arrow program two days ago but here are pictures of the largest pieces remaining of the destroyed planes taken at the Canadian Aviation and Space museum in Ottawa. The wings and fuselage are not from the same aircraft. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The Yacht Christina

Aristotle Onassis bought the Canadian frigate HMCS Stormont as she was retired after WW2. The stomont had served in Atlantic convoy duty from 1943 to 1945.
After an expensive rebuilding and conversion in Germany,  she was renamed Christina after Onassis's daughter. At the time this was one of the largest yachts in the world. After Onassis died in 1975, his daughter inherited the yacht. It is still afloat today.

Deutz Diesel F1L 514

Views from the Instruction Book.

Air Force Review

Udet Flamingo

The Flamingo was a popular acrobatic biplane designed by Hans Hermann built in Germany in the mid twenties. About 200 were built by various companies and in several countries.
Armand van Ishoven, Messerschmitt, Gentry Books 1975

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Sidecar Sunday

"Children refuel their racing motorcycle with sidecar at the petrol station for a competition in a playground, Germany, April 1, 1931. The youngest participant is three years old!"

O-Z Cutmeter

Thursday, February 15, 2018

1957 Lotus Type 12 Display

Illustrative racing car display at the Barber Museum.
The owner of this car raced it for years, eventually wear and tear- and accidents- took its toll and he chose to have a new frame and body built for it. He saved the old parts and the history of the car could be set up for this display.

Beaver No. 4 Rachet Die Stock

Company catalog 1917  Borden Company, Warren Ohio

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Pickwick Nite Coach, 1928

Interesting concept from 1928,  a long distance coach with sleeping quarters for 26 passengers, with three staff, a driver, chef and a steward. The engine was designed for easy servicing, the mounting allowed quick removal and replacement. 

Railway Age

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Italian Electric fan

Introduction to Twentieth Century Design from the collection of The Museum of Modern Art.1959
Metal with rubber fan blades, built by Fabbriche Elettrotecniche Riunite S.p.A. 1934

Steamer Isabel

Fred Rogers, More shipwrecks of British Columbia, Douglas and MacIntyre, 1992
The steamer Isabelle, the first owned by any sawmill on the BC mainland, was built in Victoria at a cost of $50,000, and launched on July 25, 1866. The machinery for sawmill owner Captain Edward Stamp's steamer had been brought out from Scotland in May, 1866. She was a side-wheel vessel, 146 feet long, 24 feet beam, and 9 feet hold; commanded successively, while owned by Stamp’s mill company, by Captains Chambers, Pamphlet, and Devereux. 

In October of 1869 the boat ran ashore about 500 yards south of Nine-pin Rock (the early name of what is now called Siwash Rock) during a dense fog,. She lay head on to the beach, in a dangerous position, resting upon a rock amidships. She was, however, got off without serious damage, and in a month or so was as active as ever in the work on the inlet.
After the bankruptcy of Stamp’s company, she was for many years a passenger-steamer and tow-boat in Canadian waters and on Puget Sound; In 1894 she was dismantled and used as a barge.

Dad and his lad, the ad...

Apologies on the poor image of a sign behind glass at a local antique store. I  can't find any info on the Eastern Caps company, but was drawn to the logo, 'For Dad and his lad". Clever.