Thursday, May 31, 2018

91 years ago, today. The last day of Model T production.

1926 model
Model T production started on October 1st, 1908. As they became popular, they were produced in the U.S., Canada, and England, and were later shipped to and assembled in countries including Germany, France, Spain, Norway, and Denmark. by 1920, every second car was a Model T
The Model T Ford defined the manufacturing dominance of 20th Century America, and by the end of its production run, over 15 million cars had rolled off the various assembly lines. making it the 8th most sold automobile in history.
The last Model T Ford completed its journey off the assembly line on May 31, 1927.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

BMW factory , mid 1920s

Workers assembling BMW R32 motorcycles, about 3100 of these advanced bikes, with enclosed valve gear and shaft drive, were built between 1923 and 26. Not quite mass production but 5 per day isn't bad.

Mercedes 280 SE

That's a nice car.


The 99 club is an international organization of licensed women pilotsThe eighth issue of the 99 club magazine shown here features Mary Riddle, the only female native American female at the time. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Evans Cyclemotor, Rochester, NY

The Cyclemotor Corporation was formed in 1916 in Rochester NY. The company manufactured a 120cc two stroke engine mounted to a bicycle-type frame under the Evans name. The 1 1/2 hp engine could power the 75 lb. bike to 40 mph. Unfortunately the company was out of business by 1922

Greyhound bus design patents

In the mid 30s, Raymond Loewy was commissioned to design a bus for Greyhound, thereby setting the styling for buses for decades. Here are some of the design patent sketches. 

The yacht America, later...

The yacht America shown still looking sleek and fast about twenty years after her famous trip to England when she brought the America's cup to America.
She had an eventful life, a race boat in England for a time, fought on both sides during the civil war and was being used as a training vessel when this picture was taken. Is that the Constitution in the background?
 Below, under sail in 1901, just before she was put under cover for twenty years.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Vanished Tool Makers: E Westman, Butcher Saws and Tools, Toronto, Ontario

Another guest post from Mic;
When I was gearing up for my first hunting season (whitetail deer) my dad told me he had an old meat saw for cutting the carcass in half if I should be fortunate enough to get one on my first time out. Dad wasn’t a hunter, so I have no idea how he came to possess a meat saw. Lady luck did favour me that year (a handsome buck just over 205 lb on a sunny Thursday morning), but when I examined the century old meat saw with its wooden handle and steel (now somewhat corroded) construction, I decided to opt for a more modern stainless steel meat saw instead. The old saw was certainly well built though, and a closer examination of it showed that it had been forged in Toronto, Ontario by E Westman. A stamp of what appears to be a horse shoe with either A1 or AI appears on the frame of the saw. This frame holds a 24 inch blade. The date of manufacture is not listed.

Elijah Westman was born in 1837 in Ireland (County Laois). He came to Canada with his family, including brothers Samuel, William, Joseph and James. He ran a 19th century manufacturing shop (butcher saws and tools) at 177 King St. East, Toronto

In 1885, E. Westman was recorded to have 6 employees. Eventually the business ended up moving to 65 James St., Toronto (listed address from a Toronto business directory in 1900). Besides running his business, Elijah served as a school trustee for the city. He died on Nov. 1, 1906 in Toronto. His spouse, Margaret Plunkett Westman, died shortly after on Dec. 30, 1906. They had 6 children (Samuel, Clara, Henry, Elijah, Charles, Albert) during their marriage although Albert died at the age of 12 in 1892. There is no record to be readily found indicating what happened to the business after Elijah passed away. If you know more than what I have found, please post a comment. Thanks, Mic

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Obsolete photographic equipment

Antique store on the Danforth

Dennell four, 1906

In the first decade of the 20th Century, Herbert Dennell built motorcycles utilizing inline threes and fours, sourced from JAP. For his frame construction, it appears he did not like to bend steel tubes.

Sidecar Sunday

Classic Motor Cycle Jan 1986

Saturday, May 26, 2018

St Clair Tunnel electric locomotive

Library and Archives Canada Photo
Having found a picture of the St Clair Tunnel steam locomotive, I started wondering about the replacement 3 axle electric locomotives introduced in 1907. Predictably, it's well covered by many already, this is electric engine No. 1307, at Sarnia, Ontario, year unknown. 
                                 More here.

The Busy Bee

I found an article on this little homebuilt three wheeler in the December 1986 issue of The Classic Motor Cycle, it had apparently also appeared in the December 11 1947 issue of Motor Cycling when it was already 27 years old. 
The builder, a Mr. J.A Mills of Mansfield, England, built it immediately after WW1 when new vehicles were difficult to buy. The frame is steel tube, brazed together, the body is plywood built in three parts, lower "hull" with hood and upper tail added and bolted to the frame. The motorcycle based powertrain features a side valve AJS V twin which by 1947 had travelled an estimated 10,000 miles. A quick Google shows it's still around as of 2013, nearing 100 years of age.

Friday, May 25, 2018

St. Clair river tunnel locomotive

Jim Lotz and Keith Mackenzie, Railways of Canada, Bison Books, 1988
Four of these 0-10-0 camelback locomotives, reportedly the largest of their time, were put in service in the St Clair tunnel soon after it opened in 1890. Six trains an hour, consisting of about 30 cars each, moved through the 6000 foot tunnel at three mph.
 A number of asphyxiations led to the replacement of steam with electric locomotives in 1908, an early use of Westinghouse's AC current system. 

BSA Twin cutaway drawing

BSA A7  twin by artist Tony Lofthouse, info here

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Wellington rear gun turret

Two gun rear turret

Frazer Nash 4 gun turret.

 Two air gunners sorting and loading ammunition belts.

Inside view.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Auto Glider Scooter

Now that looks a little scandalous...
The Auto Glider was part of the post WW1 scooter boom in England. Their initial offering in 1919 was a stand-up model (Model A) and despite their assurances that standing was a better way, they soon offered the sit down Model D Deluxe shown below.  In both variations, no starter was provided, the rider paddled the vehicle along manipulating a decompressor lever in order to start it.
 Aside from the awkward engine and drive arrangement on the front wheel, the Model D styling was a big improvement. Despite that, the company was out of business by 1921.
The Classic Motor Cycle Dec 1986

Monday, May 21, 2018

Vincent Norton Special

From another blog, no source given
Beautiful, would that be a Com-ton (Comet Norton)?

Sunday, May 20, 2018

We used to make things in this country; #292 Marine engines, Schofield Holden Machine

Another disappeared Toronto company with little information online, the above ad is from 1909, indicating that they make marine engines, the ad below from 5 years later from a 1914 Popular Mechanics lists the company as an agent for Scripps marine engines. I've never heard of a Schofield Holden engine, I wonder if any exist.
In other news, the only other thing I could find was a record of a court case of the company vs the City of Toronto in 1913. This was about the time of the Ashbridges Bay redevelopment and was about water access for their boatbuilding business and the poor water quality near the new sewage treatment plant.

Sidecar Sunday

Saturday, May 19, 2018

RX7, Third generation

I absolutely loved this car when it came out, hard to believe that was 26 years ago. Looking at it now it does seem to be a bit blobby and shapeless and the similarities to the Miata are more apparent to me. The fact that Mazda is using a car of that age on their stand at the 2018 Toronto Auto Show might say something about the state of the auto industry today. 
Right next to it was their Cosmo, produced from 1967-72, still a good looking car. Only 1176 were produced.

Adirondack/Muskoka chair patent, 1937

Eric Baker Jane Martin, great inventions, good intentions, Chronicle Books, 1990

 Just in time for the May two four weekend! When I found this patent, I was surprised at the late date. Those chairs have been around forever, no? Apparently so, see here.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Norton twin cutaway drawing

Norton twin cutaway. The artist's name appears to be Walion, also no info to be found online.

Supermarine seaplane Lighter

Ellison Hawks, British Seaplanes triumph in the Schneider Trophy Contests, Real Photographs 1945

We Used To Make Things In This Country #290; Railway Lanterns, Hiram L. Piper Co. Ltd.

Guest post from Mic;
When walking across a farm at night, back in the 1980s, a flashlight was a fair choice to light your way. But a kerosene lantern was really the way to go as you could manage it with a known quantity of fuel, and a known length of wick. The mysteries of your flashlights battery and bulb life were a potential hindrance in comparison. In colder weather, it even provided a measure of warmth that a bulb could not match. I don’t know whatever became of the first flashlight I owned, but I still have the blue kerosene lantern my father gave me once I was old enough to be walking in the dark (and responsible enough to manage a combustible fuel device). After my father passed away, I inherited his kerosene lantern. I didn’t give it much thought until recently when I began to consider whether to give my blue lantern to my eldest daughter, and blow the dust off of dad’s oldie for myself. It turns out that dad’s lantern was far more interesting than mine!

Built by Hiram L. Piper Co. Ltd. in Montreal Canada, dad’s kerosene lantern actually started its life as a Canadian National Railways lantern (model 400). The base is stamped 2-58 so the production date would be during the second quarter of 1958. Only the metal components are Hiram L Piper made as the glass globe is stamped as being made in the USA. You can find quite a few varieties of these lanterns, other railroad and marine lighting implements, and various other non-ferrous metal based odds and ends produced by the company on Kijiji and eBay

Hiram L. Piper Co. Ltd. was a Canadian company that traces its roots all the way back to the 1840s. The tinsmith Mr. Hiram Piper produced weights and measures with recorded sales from 1842 (Toronto). In 1857, business operations were located at 83 Yonge St.Toronto, and the building has been restored with this history in mind.
His brother Noah, who had joined the business at some point along the way (it operated as Hiram Piper & Brother for a number of years) continued the family business after Hiram’s death (1866) and eventually changed the business name to Noah Piper and Sons. Of note is that Noah and Hiram had already been successful in producing marine and railway signal lamps by the mid 1850s. While Hiram had not produced sons in his family, Noah had three sons (Henry, Edward and Hiram). In 1902, the company was operating as Hiram L. Piper (presumably Noah has retired or passed away at this point and his son Hiram has taken over) and began large scale production of railroad lanterns. This expansion coincides with a move to production in MontrealQuebec. In 1909 the operation was located at 17 to 23 Rue Normand, and produced a variety of lanterns (including automotive) as well as other metal working services.  In the 1920s operations appear to have moved to 75 Rue St. Remi.

 The railroad lanterns produced were of the kerosene fuel variety originally, but in later years battery powered lamps were produced as well. A paper instruction pamphlet found to accompany some of the kerosene lanterns, however, identifies that Hiram L. Piper Co. Ltd. operates from KingstonOntario (operating address unknown, date of operations unknown). This may reflect a later move of operational headquarters. Most lanterns are stamped with an identifier “Adlake” which refers to the fact that the production is actually under license from a U.S. company called Adams and Westlake.

 Other goods produced by the company over the span of its operations appear to be non-ferrous metal based, and include railroad locomotive components (chimneys, burners, reflectors, etc), egg scales (produced at 555 rue St. Remi, Montreal), fish hatchery equipment, cans, paint trays, etc. In 1929, Canadian Railway and Marine World (vol. 32) reports that Hiram L. Piper, company president, died with his wife in a fire. During World War II, Hiram L. Piper Co. Ltd. is listed as having been a manufacturer of component parts for naval binnacles to be used on Allied ships. Information about company activities becomes scarce after the 1950s. The company is reported to be dissolved in 2013, with three of the four members of the board of directors being of the surname Piper and residing in KingstonOntario. The last listed address for the business, however, is in North BayOntario (8 Ferris Drive). Please post additional information or corrections if you have access to more than what I was able to find. Thanks.

 More weigh scale information here at the