Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Old Maude

Officially named the J. E Muhlfield after the superintendent of Motive Power at the B&O Railway who worked with Alco to build no 2400, the first Mallet locomotive in America in 1904. Basically two six wheel engines under a single boiler, it weighed 167 tons and the articulated layout enabled it to work the sharp curves on the railway. Although its top speed was only 20 mph it was a great success and soon acquired the nickname of Old Maude, named after a mule in a popular comic strip of the time.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Horex Ad

I found this interesting illustration in the May 1986 issue of the Classic Motor Cycle, it is apparently a vintage (no date given) ad for Horex motorcycles. The article goes on to describe the origins of the name, Ho from the town of Bad Homburg, where the factory was located somewhere on the map (possibly the lower right?) that makes up the background, Rex from the line of canning jars- behind the motorcycle- with which the manufacturer got its start.
The factory closed in 1959.

Manufacturing processes

 These 1960's chopper pipes were on display at the Motorcyclepedia museum in Newburgh NY when we stopped there last fall. I don't find them  attractive but I'm curious about the process used to make them. I'm not sure how a piece of 1/3/4 or 2" diameter 16 gauge steel tubing could be put into three full twists and remain that regular in appearance. Heat must be involved? Ideas?

Not really a mystery Monday...

I wonder what nationality the happy owner is? A friend took this picture at Daytona this year, he's not particularly a Guzzi fan, but it uhm..."stood out".
 I had noticed that myself, having taken the picture below during a visit to Daytona 25 years ago!

Sunday, March 29, 2020

'40 Ford Sedan Delivery


Seen at the Owls Head Museum a couple of years ago.

Sidecar Sunday

 Picture taken near the top of the Bwlch-y-Groes mountain pass in North Wales. Entry 141, Frank and Kay Wilkins, are on a Ariel 650cc twin with Watsonian chair.
 Although never an official Ariel works rider Frank had much works support and was a staunch Ariel man to the end. He was generous with knowledge gained to anyone who was campaigning an Ariel in any form of motor cycling to the extent of regrinding cams and modifying bottom ends of singles to get the maximum out of them for minimal reward. 
 Kay was a wonderful lady as well, renowned for her bottomless bag of boiled sweets which appeared as if by magic whenever a group stopped for whatever reason when out on a run. 
More on the 1954 event can be found on the superb site that follows the history of the ISDT events from their inception. 

 Below, the Bwlch-y-Groes mountain pass, taken in about the same place approximately 2010. Outside of the fact that the road has been paved, not much different!

 Great memories from Jon Hodges

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Proctor Stuka conversion

Three Percival Proctors were heavily modified including adding the gull wings to resemble Stuka dive bombers in the Battle of Britain movie. Surprisingly these "Proctrukas" were allowed to fly, but apparently flying characteristics were not good and the flying footage was not used. Large scale RC models were used instead. 
The side view is less convincing than the 3/4 view below. 

Kitchen sink

Industrial design in America. Monel-metal sink by International Nickel Company. Designed by Gustav Jensen in 1931.

The things we make. Firewood pallets

 Or "firewood huts" as my sister tells curious neighbours. Processing firewood is a never ending task for those who burn wood. I like most of the process, the chainsaw work, the challenge of dropping a tree safely, being in the woods managing the forest, sitting beside the wood stove. 
 One thing I hated was handling of each piece of wood multiple times, saw each length, split it, throw it on the trailer, dump it on the ground, stack again as close to the back door as was practical, etc...
 I reasoned if I could build a pallet that I could carry on the loader forks of the tractor the process could be more efficient. Load once. If the pallets were covered, they could sit out in the wind and sun, drying all summer, and then moved to the back door as needed. 
 The basic construction is 2 inch angle iron with 1/4 inch wire 6 inch concrete reinforcing mesh. I made the first one too big. They are two rows wide, this was 6 feet long and 5 feet tall. That's about 2/3 of a cord and if loaded with unseasoned oak or maple, they tell me it could top 4000 lbs.  From experience, that can/will tip a 6000 lb tractor. So the rest of them are 1/2 cord capacity, 5 feet long, 33 inches wide, and 5 feet tall. Still heavy and it's best to travel slowly with the loader just off the ground.

The various style roofs are just for fun. I'm getting fancy with this one, with decorative picket fence bits.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Meanwhile, in Alabama...

thnx,  Sam!
It's planting season...

Another job you might not want to do, scientific experimenting

"Personal safety is overrated" department. Scientific experiment taking place at the Ford Rouge River plant in 1959. Personally, I think it looks just like some fun with dry ice, but I'm not a scientist...
A large collection of historical photos at the plant at  DETROIT NEWS ARCHIVES
Henry Ford wanted a single central location to build his cars, from raw material to finished product. It's an astounding facility. 

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Last of the Featherbeds

The Featherbed frame was introduced 1950, the first road going bike to use it was the Dominator 88 500 twin in 1953. Norton enlarged the twin to 745cc in 1961 and the Atlas was born. The line continued through the sixties and although the parent company, AMC, went bankrupt in 1968, the model survived the rationalizations of the new administration. 
When the Isolastic-frame 750 Commando was introduced in 1968, the old Featherbed Atlas continued along side but the success of the new Commando killed it for 1969.

Model T on tracks

I can't find any info on this image, but it appears to be a demonstration for the military of an adaptation of the Model T. It looks like it might be fun to play with. 
What model tank is that in the background? 
 The vehicle is entirely coated with mud, as you'd expect of something without fenders but somehow the driver in his black overcoat is completely untouched. Staged? 

Wednesday, March 25, 2020


The wetbike was developed by the Artic Cat company, it was a planing watercraft, powered by a pumpjet run by a Suzuki 2 stroke engine. They were sold through the 80s but developments in personal watercraft put them out of business.

Dehorning shears

 Here's a nasty brutal tool. I watched these shears in action when I was a kid. The cow was secured in a stanchion and then had its head tied down to the floor with a rope. The jaws are placed around the base of the horn, and a man with all of his strength and weight on the nearly 3 feet handles, "snips' off the two-plus inch diameter horn. The cow explodes in pain and shock, blood squirting everywhere.
 The guy then packed some gauze into the wound and within minutes the cow was back eating. Jeez, there must be a better way. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Monday, March 23, 2020

Get creative, make something

A public service ad from 1918, showing people how to make a rudimentary face mask to try to avoid the deadly influenza. Can't get much simpler than that!

Winnipeg Free Press

Monday Mystery, Ray Bronson

This image came from the Antique Automobile July-August 1985 issue, they asked who is race car driver Ray Bronson and can someone identify the race car he is in?
 I didn't find any online evidence that they found answers, but I believe I found out that Ray Bronson was a notable welterweight boxer in the Indianapolis area, check the similarity of signatures...  Although the car he is in has no fenders, it does have headlights, so is it a race car? But what make and model of car? I'd pick one of the local manufacturers, Marmon or possibly a Duesenberg? But remember, Mr Bronson was a small man so maybe the car isn't as large as it appears.

Hoosier State Chronicles

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Blair Trucks

 In 1911 Frank Blair, having invented and patented his direct drive truck, made a pitch to the town of Newark, Ohio about building his truck in their town. The Newark Machine Company agreed and enthusiastically reorganized the company into the Blair Manufacturing Company.
 The truck was unique in that the troublesome universal joints of the time had been eliminated by mounting the engine and rigid drivetrain on a pivot at the front and at the rear axle so the engine and driveline moved with the sprung axle. Another unusual feature was that the engine was located between the seats but this was billed as a feature, the vehicle could be shorter and more maneuverable. Powertrain was bought in, Continental supplied a 4 cylinder engine, 3 speed transmission and worm gear axle.
 The company was successful and although body styles changed, the chassis remained the same from 1911 to 1918. The company had no dealer network so sales were limited but farm machinery and other products kept the company profitable. The success attracted investors and the company was bought out in 1918.

Domestic DKW RT125

As part of the wartime reparations, the plans of a German 125 utility two stroke were distributed between the allied countries.
 The USSR, England and US all saw manufacturers build their version. The HD Model S was introduced to a largely disinterested public (and management?)  in 1948 and various iterations were in production till 1966.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Stanley scraper

I've been using a handheld scraper on a woodworking project I've been playing with, as I make nice curly shavings it occurred to me that scrapers must have been in use long before someone invented sandpaper, whenever that was.
 Only problem with a scraper is that it's tiring to use, the operator applying pressure with his fingers. When I found this Stanley scraper at a local antique shop I pondered buying it and putting it to work.
In the end I decided against it, so when I got home I checked online for identification, although it didn't have a model number it does resemble the #282 model below. Possibly it's an early version of the tool?