Tuesday, July 31, 2018

We used to make things in this country, Australian edition, GCS Motorcycle

Made in Australia up till about 1923 by the Stillwell and Parry company of Melbourne, It is fitted with a JAP Vtwin and Burman or Sturmey and Archer gearbox. GCS stood for George C Stillwell, one of the partners.

BMW 2002

My guess is one of the later iyears, the 1974 and later extended 5 mph bumpers does the styling no favours.

Yamaha YZ400 cutaway

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Canadian Northern transcontinental train

Canada Northern, the transcontinental competitor to the Canadian Pacific Railway, started building it's line through the Rockies in 1910, it was finally completed in 1915. Here the first  transcontinental CNoR train pauses on the drawbridge at Kamloops, heading west.

Sidecar Sunday

The Classic Motorcycle Jan 1989

Selden's patent drawing

Above is the patent drawing of George Selden's automobile patent. George Selden was a lawyer and inventor in Rochester New York. After witnessing the huge internal combustion engine displayed by George Brayton  
at the Centennial Exposition of 1876, he developed and patented a smaller version intended for powering a vehicle (as shown above).
As automobiles started to be developed, Seldens patent remained unknown until 1899, when Electric Vehicle Co., a New York producer of electric taxis and streetcars, purchased the rights to it. Gas-engined cars had started to make serious inroads into the electric vehicle market and the company tried to profit from this sector. They formed the Association of Licensed Automobile Manufacturers to license Selden's patent to gas engined automobile manufacturers.  Henry Ford refused to pay and was sued in 1903. The legal battle dragged on till 1911, Ford reasoning that it cost less to fight the patent than pay royalties. He lost the case but won on appeal, arguing that Selden's patent referred to the Brayton constant pressure engine rather than the Otto cycle engine which was the basis for virtually all gasoline engines at the time.  

Friday, July 27, 2018

Grabowsky Power Wagons

The Motor Vehicle company that Max and Morris named after themselves lasted only a short time. After forming the company in 1900 they built one truck and a partial second one, reforming as the Rapid Motor Vehicle Co. in 1902. They completed that second truck and sold it to a company in Detroit, it was probably the only motorized truck in the city at that time. 
The Rapid Motor Vehicle Company went through several iterations but by 1904 had relocated in Pontiac, Michigan and soon were turning out hundreds of trucks per year.
 In 1908 William Durant started buying stock in the company and Max Grabowsky resigned to open the new venture shown above. 
 The Rapid Motor Vehicle company along with the Reliance Truck Company became the basis of the GMC truck line. That name was first used on a vehicle in 1912.
 Meanwhile the Grabosky Power Wagon venture fizzled out, going bankrupt in 1912. The manufacturing assets were purchased by Seitz Automobile Transmission Co., Wyandotte, Michigan, which continued to build the Grabowsky truck for a short time.

St Lawrence Engine company

Antique Boat Museum, NY
The St Lawrence Engine Company of Brockville Ontario manufactured basic two-cycle marine engines starting in 1905. The company was in operation till about 1949 with only minor changes to the design, one being a change to aluminium pistons in about 1935. Much more information here
This company is not to be confused with the earlier Montreal-based company of the same name that built steam engines and sawmill equipment.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

BMW R60 cutaway model

Thanks to Cutaway Collector

Messerschmitt 209

Armand van Ishoven, Messerschmitt, Gentry Books 1975

This was an aircraft designed for a speed record attempt and  was basically the smallest airframe that would hold a Daimler Benz DB 601 V12 and a pilot. It looked vaguely like an abbreviated BF 109 and was so named to enhance the reputation of the 109 which was already in service. On April 25 1939 pilot Fritz Wendell achieved a speed of almost 470 miles per hour. 
 Below, the fuselage in storage at the Polish National Aviation museum in the early seventies. Today it is apparently on display at the same museum.

Know your vintage tires, tyres, tars

Section through Palmer beaded edge tire and Dunlop wired-on rim
John Boyd Dunlop took out a patent on what he thought was the first pneumatic tire, after he made them for his son's tricycle.
 Robert W. Thomson had actually patented the air filled tire in 1845, using rubberized fabric tubes inside leather tires. Those tires were expensive and there was no real market for them so the idea died. 
Dunlop's tires were molded in place, made out of canvas strips and rubber dissolved in naptha and wrapped around a pre inflated tube. ,Repairing a puncture involved dissolving the whole mess with naptha again. There had to be a better way.
 Two methods evolved, both using a U shaped tire with a seperate tube installed. Above on the left is the beaded edge type with undercuts in the rubber edge to lock into a lip on the rim, and on the right, the wire-on type shown on a Westwood rolled bead rim. The bead edge type worked fine till increasing traction put too much side load on the tire, tearing the beads off. The wire-on type- also to become known as the clincher- is still with us. 
Below, manufacturers were quick to recognize the marketing value of a distinctive tread pattern.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Scott diesel outboard

In 1963 the Scott-McCullough company built this prototype 15 hp diesel outboard engine.  The benefits of fuel economy and low speed torque were offset by its weight- over 200 lbs! It never went into production.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Lucas Ad 1948

I'm not sure how ruins would sell electrical components, but it's a nice distinctive ad, Can anyone identify the castle? 

Watchmaker vises

A reader writes; My grandfather was a watchmaker, and I have the remains of his toolbox. 
Looking online, although there are a good number of Imhoff & Lange tools of all types and also some Hugoniot Tissot, I can't find any information or history of the companies themselves. The world of watchmakers does seem to have disappeared.

Markings are, from the left:

2] Pat'd Aug. 10 1875
3] [no marks]
4] [lion symbol] L.HUGONIOT TISSOT, The L stands for Lucien
5] [small five armed sunburst symbol]
6] [lion symbol] L.HUGONIOT TISSOT
7] ACIER FON?? [also 'P' in an Ace of Spades border]

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Mile-a-minute Murphy

In 1899 "Mile-a-minute" Murphy made bicycle history by riding a mile in 57 1/2 seconds. His pacemaker was a railroad car rebuilt with a special windbreak that did not give him the aid of suction. It required one of the speediest engines of the line to go as fast as he could ride.

Today the record for pleasing men and ???? still belongs to Mail Pouch Tobacco.

Murder on Wheels!

A 1952 release from RKO Pictures. I've never seen it.

J.A.Prestwich engine cutaway

Thanks to Cutaway collector

Wednesday, July 18, 2018


How it used to be done.

Company Photographer

E J Hart, The Selling of Canada, Altitude Publishing, 1986
William Notman was a Scottish Canadian photographer who was active during the later 19th century. He set up his business on Bleury St in Montreal. According to Wikipedia he was the first Canadian photographer to gain international acclaim.
 His photography for Canadian Pacific during the construction of the transcontinental railway was valued enough that a train car was assigned to him and converted to a photography studio and darkroom for his use. 
The main body of his work- photographs, negatives, books etc. are now part of the McCord Museum of Canadian History in Montreal,

1909... New speed record for Los Angeles to San Diego!

Records are where you find them I guess....

Monday, July 16, 2018


Cemoto was the Bultaco importer, This obviously isn't a Bul but anything to sell a few quarts of oil!

Messerschmitt M23

 The Messerschmitt M23 was a handsome two place monoplane with acrobatic capabilities, designed in 1928-29. The first engine fitted was a mere 20 hp but succeeding variants used different engines, eventually breaking 100 hp. The aircraft utilized fixed landing gear and featured folding wings. About 100 were made between German and Romanian production.

Willy Stor flying upside down. He became an aerobatic champion in this plane in 1935-36

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Redline Can Am

The lightweight flattrackers of the 1970s were good looking bikes. Unlike today where modified motocrossers make up the support class, these bikes were built up of frame kits from specialist manufacturers. The big horsepower king of the 250 motocross class was the Can Am engine and Champion made a frame to suit. The paint scheme looks like a direct ripoff of the then-new Yamaha Molly-designed "Track stripe" pattern. Still looks great!

Sidecar Sunday

Classic Motor Cycle Oct. 1985

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Marvel carburetors

I have much experience fiddling with dirt in the Marvel Schebler carb on various old tractors, but I never knew the history of the company. 
George Schebler and Burt Pierce of Indiana were working on carburetion for a motorcycle in 1902. They formed a successful company but Schebler sold his shares 10 years later. Pierce continued working on his version known as the Marvel, resulting in a patent in 1908.  By 1928 both companies were merged and formed as Marvel Schebler. In the decades to follow the company changed hands many times but the carburetors kept being made and today they are still in business building carburetors for aircraft. 

KLG sparkplugs

KLG are the initials of Kenelm Lee Guiness. part of the Guiness brewing company. He was a automobile racer who designed and marketed a better spark plug just before WW1. He continued to develop more reliable sparkplugs for RAF aircraft during the war. In 1927 he sold the entire business to business to Smiths. Smiths continued to grow the business and 1960 acquired Lodge spark plugs. KLG spark plugs are not common these days but they continue to be made under license by the Enker company of Bosnia.