Sunday, March 31, 2019

Coghlin Springs, Montreal

In 1858 B.J. Coghlin opened a blacksmith shop in Montreal.  As the years went by the smithy operation expanded into the manufacture of springs for carriages and later heavy duty springs for the railway industry. Coghlin’s business continued to grow steadily and in 1954 it acquired its first mobile equipment subsidiary – a manufacturer of portable pressure pumps by Watson Jack & Co. Limited.  With that the brand “Wajax” was born. Previous post here.

Sidecar Sunday

V Max w/ Vetter sidecar

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Owners manual for the Bugatti Baby

This is a four page manual for the 1927 Bugatti Baby showing technical details as well as the electrical schematic. Being used to the thousand page (plus) shop manuals of today, I'm not sure if this would count also as the shop manual.

After the Type 52 was introduced and was winning races, Ettore Bugatti decided to make a half scale electric version of the very similar Type 35 for his second son Roland. Everyone likes a miniature, the response was overwhelming, so the company put them into production and about 500 were sold. Like the full size cars, they were expensive and most were sold to royalty or the rich and famous.

Family album picture: Jean Bugatti in a Type 43 with brother Roland in the Baby. Sculptures in the windows behind by uncle Rembrandt Bugatti.

The young King Hassan being presented with his car.

Apparently only about a hundred remain and they turn up occasionally at auctions, bringing wildly varying prices. The current record is $110,000 US- enough that the modern Bugatti Company has seen an opportunity and introduced a 3/4 scale, lithium battery-powered replica in case your kid needs a $33,000 toy. Tula Precision has been making their version for 40 years.   Even the ephemera brings big money, the single page flyer below is an example.
The two page double sided owners manual at the lead of the post is available for less than the single page item above. Contact me at and I can put you in contact with the seller.
I found this image somewhere on the net... no explanation but apparently Bugatti wasn't the only company in the miniature car business...

Electric Power in Canada

Wartime poster by Marion Scott.
Text: Canada's developed Hydro resources have increased over one quarter since 1939, and the output of electricity from our generating stations has gone up by one half. This water power is the bulwark of our manufacturing strength in war. It also gives promise of wealth for tomorrow, when more electricity can be made available for new factories, for homes, and farms.

 Update... Here it is in its original colour form. 
Emily Carr College of Art

We used to make things in this country. #300 Curtiss Helldivers

During WW2 at the Fairchild factory in Longueuil, Quebec, 300 Curtiss Helldivers were built during 1943-44.  After the contract for Helldiver production ended, in 1945 Fairchild began building sections of the Vought Corsair and Grumman Tiger Cat but the ending of the war cut that short.  
 Meanwhile, Canadian Car and Foundry (below) built 834 of the dive bombers

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The invention of the Vista Dome

The railway dome car was invented and patented by Canadian T. J. McBride of Winnipeg. Manitoba.  These two illustrations showing the idea are from the May 2,1891 issue of Scientific American. Unfortunately none were never built. The public would have to wait till after WW2 for railway dome cars.

Mr. McBride was a thinking man, he has other patents to his name, mostly having to do with a stove for burning straw. No word on whether it was built either.

No railway here!

Stewart Holbrook,  The Story of American Railroads, Crown Publishers, 1947
Although this poster is dated to the the 1830s in the caption (and 1839 elsewhere), the locomotive pictured looks to be a later (1850s at the earliest?) model. 

Lohmann engine cutaway

This clip-on bicycle engine was produced in postwar Germany, based on a 1947 patent by Walter Teegan and Lohmann for a variable compression engine. As in Japan, fuel was scarce even 5 years after the end of the war so small engines like this were in demand. 
This engine is nominally an 18cc two stroke diesel but it was more advanced than that, featuring a variable compression ratio designed to allow it to burn a variety of fuels. There is no ignition system or carburetor. Attached to the bottom bracket of a bicycle, the motor turned a roller which acted upon the rear tire allowing speeds of 15-20 mph.  
Although it worked ok and ran fairly well, apparently the rider is required to be constantly adjusting the throttle and compression ratio in order to keep the engine running, according to this article online which explains much more about the unusual little beast.

thanks, Rolf!
Jan 1985 The Classic Motor Cycle

Steamboat Osprey

Richard Tapley, Northern Steamboats, Boston Mills Press, 1996
Built in 1895, this cartoon-like 32 foot fishing tug served in northern Ontario, fishing on Lakes Nipissing and Temiskaming, eventually  becoming a 10 passenger passenger boat.  The boat's career ended about 1914 in unknown circumstances.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Braun KT4 transistor radio

The transistor was developed in 1947 by Bell Labratories, the first transistor radio was developed by Texas Instruments and produced by I.D.E.A. (Industrial Development Engineering Associates) of Indianapolis In. It was introduced in October of 1954. Sony bought the patent license and introduced theirs in 1955. 
 Braun was not to be left out and sold this model from 1960-62. More here.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Hand auger bit

I found this old 1" auger bit in a box of tools at home, no name on it anywhere, possibly used for drilling holes for treenails in barn construction.  I assume my father bought it with intent to use, he liked his hand drills and brace and bits. 
The auger looks manufactured but the handle end definitely looks blacksmith or homemade. Having worked with a two handed post hole digger,  I have no interest at all in putting it to work. 

FIAT 1930

Another epic poster...

thanks, Rolf!

Sidecar Sunday

Another job you probably wouldn't want to do- squaring timbers by hand

Logs are squared up in preparation for being boomed together for rafting down the Ottawa river. How many board feet in the one below, I wonder?

Friday, March 22, 2019

Harley Sprint carburetor display

This beautifully done display item apparently sat on the counter at a Harley Davidson dealer to demonstrate the workings of the Dellorto carb on the Aermacchi 350 single (also known as the Harley Sprint).

RCAF Denominational Prayers WW2

Thursday, March 21, 2019

DKW 1936

This poster celebrates their victories in four of five different classes of the 1936 German Championships. 
Poster art by V. Mundorff.
 The artist's name appears on quite a few German posters in the 1930s but there seems to be little information on him online, not even his first name!

When the Harrier was the Hawker Siddley P1127

Development started on this VTOL aircraft in 1957, it first flew in 1960 and was put into production in 1967, now named the Harrier.