Thursday, April 30, 2020

Early brake experiments

Not sure how the brakes work on the tractor portion of this truck, but the brake block against the wagon wheel of the trailer, activated by a long rope is about as primitive as it gets!

Rally around the flag!

As a publicity stunt to celebrate the success of the Austin Mini, The Daily Express arranged these cars into a British flag.
 I'm not going to count them, but in those pre digital days, apparently 804 Corgi toys were used to plan the actual layout.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Bradford-Penn Cream Separator Oil

A product from the American oil company with offices in Toronto, this was back before free trade. I'm not sure why the -60 degree rating is important, what temperature does milk freeze at?

Velorex Oscar three wheeler

 Complete with fabric body in unattractive shades of brown. Seen at the Motorcyclepedia museum in Newburgh NY last year.
Update; I originally posted this as unknown make, it wasn't for long, apparently it's a Velorex made in Czechoslovakia in the 1950s, powered by either a 250 single or 350 2 stroke twin. Thanks JP., Pzak..

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

MV 125 frront suspension

Here's an interesting variation on the telescopic fork found on a early 50s MV 125cc racer.  The sliders are just sliders, joined with a yoke, the spring and damping action of the suspension is contained in the central spring unit mounted between it and the top triple clamp. Not sure what the advantages might be other than the quick change aspect. 
May 1994 The Classic Motor Cycle
DMV Typhoon and Hornet (below)with similar design Metal Profiles fork, built in the mid-sixties.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Monday Mystery II, Motorcycle cutaway

 Here's another cutaway model of an obscure motorcycle. It'a two stroke single of about 250cc but with longitudinal crankshaft, hand shift and shaft drive in a rectangular steel tube frame . My first guess might have been a Ner-a-car but we think it is of German manufacture. Once again, guesses?

thanks again, Rolf

Monday morning mystery

Found in an old wooden mechanic's workbench drawer, this set of steel comb-like things are a mystery to me. The various comb thicknesses range from .018" to .040" and there are no markings on either them or the steel case.  I think they might be a set of shims for some use but what?

Update: The readership sure pulled through on this one, turns out they are a set of combs for applying a faux-finish oak grain to otherwise featureless wood such as poplar, giving the impression of a higher quality wood.  Done right, it can be quite convincing.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Know your Suzuki T20

Also known as the Hustler, Super Six or X-6.  A superbike for 1966.

Sidecar Sunday

A German team gives it their all, attacking a Welch hill with their BMW outfit in the 1938 ISDT.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

ZB-47 Sub Machine Gun

The ZG47 was a postwar Czech development of the submachine. It's main thrust was to eliminate the protruding magazines that made other designs awkward to handle.  The magazine laid flat under the weapon, the shells pointed upwards and were fed through a wheel into the chamber. The wheel was turned by a rod attached to the bolt. The result was an odd mechanism that was expensive and required precision machining to work reliably.
 To hold the firearm, the right thumb was inserted in the larger hole with the trigger being in the smaller one. 
More here.
Manual with many illustrations here.

Triumph Werkes 125 Cutaway model

A very nicely done cutaway model, this is another of the two piston, one combustion chamber type of two stroke motorcycle engine, this one being built by the German TWN company. 
This cutaway model was an operating display complete with plastic case and base in which the electric drive was hidden.

thanks, Rolf!

Friday, April 24, 2020

Reynolds tubing, 1948

Schwinn Dealer Derailleur Demonstrator

 The derailleur gear system has been around since 1912, invented in France. I can picture the conversation. 
"The worst thing about chain and sprockets is that sometimes, the chain comes off the sprockets, how can we turn that into a feature?...... " 
"Voila! Here's a system where we make the chain come off the sprockets purposely and look, now you have have different speeds!" 
"Bet ya can't do that with both sprockets!"
"Oh yeah? Watch this. Now you have a lot of different gears!"

I think it was the sixties before they were introduced on this side of the Atlantic and potential buyers had to be skeptical of the system. Schwinn made these chrome plated displays for their dealers to demonstrate the concept. 

 Incidentally, both these devices are available for sale, located in Europe, contact me for details.

thanks, Rolf!

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Fortune Magazine cover, November 1939

Cover art by Fred Chance
Dramatic cover art. WW2 was 2 months old when this was published, though the US had not yet joined in. 
 Henry Luce, who built a publishing empire in the first half of the last century with Time, Life and Fortune magazines said in Fortunes's first issue in 1930:  Business takes Fortune to the tip of the wing of an airplane,and through the depths of the ocean along be-barnacled cables. It forces Fortune to peer into dazzling furnaces and into the faces of bankers. Fortune must follow the chemist to the brink of worlds newer than Columbus found and it must jog with freight cars across Nevada's desert.
Aimed at business leaders, the magazine cost $1 when a Popular Mechanics magazine cost 25¢. It is still being published 90 years later.
Fred Chance was an American illustrator who started working for various top magazines in the 30s. His career spanned 50 years.

Schwinn bicycle

TsKB-50 Aerosan,1940

Oh, those Russians. 
All you need to know about the design specs here.

The final Schneider Cup, 1931

Monday, April 20, 2020

Empress of Britain on June 15 1939

The Empress of Britain leaves Halifax Harbour on June 15 1939, escorted by three Stranraer flying boats. 
Onboard is the ship's smallest complement of passengers, just forty people, King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and their entourage of thirty six plus a photographer and two reporters. After a stop in St Johns, Newfoundland, the ship carried the Royal party on to Southampton. 
A few months later the ship returned to Canada with its largest passenger list, filled beyond capacity, arriving five days after the start of WW2. It was then converted to a troop carrier and for nearly a year, carried military personnel all over the world. 
On October 26th 1940, off the coast of Ireland, the ship was hit by bombs in an attack by a German Condor. The resulting fires caused the crew and passengers to abandon ship. While the hulk was being towed, it was torpedoed by U boat U32 on Oct 28 and the Empress of Britain sank.

The Stranraers, part of a fleet of 8 remaining of 40 built by Canadian Vickers, served on anti-submarine patrol with the Canadian air force till February of 1945, never having seen any actual combat.


Home of the future, 1957

Now, with corona virus shield domes!
 and for those dome dwellers; a special section on how to have fun outdoors!

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Flink motorcycle

I happened upon this oddity at the Chief Blackhawk vintage meet at Davenport Iowa, I thought it was just an interesting old homemade special with a Husqvarna engine.
 However, it turns out that the motorcycle was the work of a Swedish machinist, Gustav Flink,  who in 1955 started modifying the new Husqvarna 175 two stroke engine for racing, 
This led to him designing and constructing his own competetive 250 in 1965. Soon he was designing an innovative new chassis for it and several prototypes were made.
 Full story here, told better than I could.