Friday, July 31, 2020

Mack truck in retirement

 Here's two things you don't see every day, a vintage Mack truck- parked under a mature elm tree. The Mack tractor is apparently doing promotional work for the Canadian Home Hardware chain (holding up quite well under the onslaught of Home Depot and the like, thank you very much).
The elm tree is a rarity, most of the elm trees in Ontario died in the seventies and eighties due to Dutch Em Disease. It is a fast-growing hardwood and new growth quickly achieves a good size only to have another wave come through again, providing a constant supply of reasonable firewood.
 Between DED, the Emerald Ash Borer and now the gypsy moth, the local forests are struggling.

The Great Epizootic

Humans made poor draft animals. 
Although steampower in railways were the norm by the mid 1800s, steam was not really viable for street railways and various attempts to come up with alternate power, electricity (battery or 3rd rail and wire systems), compressed air, flywheels etc. was meeting with limited success. 
The horsedrawn system worked well enough, and were quite profitable. A horse worked 12 to 15 miles each day and was well taken care of for their 18 or so hours off. But in 1872 the horse population was hit by a flu-like epidemic which killed thousands of horses in the Northeast of the US. It appeared in Canada in October and within a few weeks had covered New England and soon the south, finally spreading across the country, at a rate that was faster than simple horse to horse transmission seemed possible. At one point in Philadelphia 175 to 200 horses were dying daily. After a few months, it calmed down, the disease was less virulent, new horses brought in from the country  seemed to be more resistant and things returned to normal. Stables were rearranged to stop the head to head stabling and new hygienic protocols were put in place. 
 Experiments in NYC with men or oxen replacing horses weren't successful but street railway owners and operators were quite a bit more open to alternatives to animal power, by the early 1880s the first viable trolley cars were starting to appear.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Porsche 1957

Seen at British Car Day 2019.  Not with the other cars.

After the Victory

Two pages from a French children's flip book published in 1919. The theme was rebuilding after the war and featured before and after images reinforcing the idea of a return to normal. 

Jennifer Farrell, World War 1 and the Visual Arts. The Met 2018

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Fowler traction engine

This oddity was built by John Fowler and Co of Leeds, England in 1877. No explanation given for the wheel arrangement.

Wasn't the future wonderful?

This British cartoon of 1828 predicts the steam-powered distant future, picking the year 2000. self-powered vehicles, flight by balloon and personal wings, robot preacher, fuel shortages, equipment breakdowns.

Designer Syd Mead took a shot at it in 1975 below:
He says; "Standard public lease vehicles enter a mobile lobby at left, containing shops, lounges and information centers, loading for the half mile transit to megastructure in background. Corporate and privately leased vehicles in middle foreground, fitted to specific use, await departure. Two personal enclosures float over the parking lane in foreground, while late afternoon strollers walk past an illusion cluster at far right: large sculpture overlooking illusion plaza is monument to first extra-terrestrial visitors.

Ice cream delivery systems, via the patent office

Monday, July 27, 2020

Norton Desmo

With the Formula 1 championship success of Mercedes Benz in 1954 and 55, other manufacturers took notice. Norton, in search of more power in 1957, built an experimental desmodromic version of the 350 and 500 Manx. For simplification both engines used the same bore. 
Both engines were raced at various times in 1959 and 60 but did not show enough advantage over the valve spring version to continue development and the project faded away.

Classic Bike May 1998

Lost, Lonely and Vicious, 1958

The fifties, with the Baby Boom came the Juvenile Delinquent, a whole new genre for Hollywood to exploit!


Sunday, July 26, 2020

Mercedes ad, 1943

Mercedes ad in Signal magazine, a glossy German propaganda magazine available in several languages and many countries during the period 1940-1945.

Dutch language issue from 1943.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Lil' red pony

Massey Harris Pony seeks new opportunities...

Sidecar Sunday


Cannon Ball Baker and the Supercharged Graham

Cannon Ball (Erwin) Baker won the 1932 Mount Washington hillclimb driving a supercharged Graham. Long Manufacturing appears to have been a sponsor. Dana Long is still around, making heat exchangers.
 In 1933 he made his last cross country record run, driving the Graham across the country in 53 1/2 hours. He considered the trip a durability test. Below, Robert Graham, (senior and junior) pose with the record setters. The Graham Paige company stopped automobile production in 1940.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Martin Baker MB-5

The Martin Baker MB-3 was the company's design for 1939 Air Ministry call for a sturdy, maneuverable fighter plane capable of over 400 mph. The prototype was completed in 1942 and test flights showed much promise. Unfortunately it was crashed and destroyed when its Napier Sabre engine failed shortly after takeoff.  The second prototype was named the MB-5. More than a repeat, this aircraft was a new bubble canopy design using a Rolls Royce Griffon engine with contra rotating 3 blade props. Unfortunately it did not fly till May of 1944 and although it too was considered to be a very good airplane with great potential, it arrived too late, jet propulsion had arrived- obsoleting piston powered fighters. The single prototype continued to be flown and tested into 1946. 
The MB-5 was scrapped but for the last twenty years or so there is a replica/tribute being constructed in America by a John Marlin. The last entry on his website is dated 2014, when it was described as being almost ready for short hops. 
The Martin Baker company started developing ejection seats in 1944 and is still in business in that field.  

1974 TS185

Many years ago, I used to run a 1977 version of the TS185 in the local enduros, great bike although outclassed by the time I got it. It went the way of all things and I put the word out that I was looking for another. This 1974 model appeared in my circle of friends and soon I had acquired a 20 year old virtually brand new, never been licenced, never been dropped sweetheart of a bike. I've been using it casually on the farm ever since. Always a one- three kick starter, it runs along happily at 20-50 mph, the motor purring and chuckling to itself. 
Still on the original tires 25 years later, I think it may have had the spark plug replaced once and I had to de rust the tank a few years back. The never-dropped aspect ended when a new rider we were teaching hit a tree. Oh well.
 Definitely a keeper.

A few years ago, it was joined by a blue 72, once again a pretty bike. Two of them was unnecessary, I found I never rode it so it got passed along to a good home.

Mibro Plane

We covered Mibro Tools of West Germany in another post, readers keep finding more tools we didn't know the company made. The company logo was the name overlaying a diamond shape. Here is another tool with a different logo, how do we describe that shape, a curved rectangle? The plane itself looks like a plain midrange workman-quality tool. 
There is a modern Canadian tool company of the same name, and the logo is different again. Inquiries about the relationship between the companies go unanswered. 


thanks, Ryan!

Chrysler Hemi Pace Car

Chrysler, celebrating the introduction of the Firepower Hemi V8, provided the Indy 500 Pace Car in 1951. The engine was the future, the stodgy styling, not so much.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Harvard production


In January 1940, the Noordyn factory in Montreal got an order to built Harvard trainers (Texans to our American friends). By the end of the war they had built 2800 planes. This view shows nearly completed aircraft being worked on outside. The company also continued making Norseman bush planes, some for the United States.

That's horsepower!

In 1872 the Empire Agricultural Works of Cobleskill NY was producing a comprehensive line of treadmill-powered farm machinery. Steam engines were making inroads, but horses were still the main power source on farms. 

Washing machine agitator as art

Andrea DiNoto, Art Plastic, Design for living, Abbeville Press, New York, 1984

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Glamour-style your car, 1954

Right next to the fender skirt and wheel spinner aisle...

Homesick farmer

During a Sunday drive we came across this display in a good solid neighbourhood of Kitchener, Ontario. It looks like a farmer moved to town and wanted to bring his toys with him. The Ford 9N or 2N (painted like an 8N) on steel wheels is not a common thing but probably best as a static display. I wonder what the neighbours think of the manure spreader.

Steam Carriage of 1827

With steam powering ships and trains by the mid 1820s, a British inventor, Goldworthy Gurney adapted the technology to the roadgoing coach. The picture above shows the vehicle, with driver out front steering small guide wheels to help steer the main carriage front axle. The boiler- burning coke as a fuel- is located at the rear with a steam engine acting upon the rear wheels.  Sixty gallons of water were carried in a tank under the floor.  From the artists rendition it looks remarkably resolved.
 The coach could make the 100 mile run from London to Bath reliably. He made several versions of the coach and within a few years others had constructed and were operating 20-40 similar vehicles. The public was not ready for such technology and Parliament placed a prohibitive road tax on the steam carriages, driving them out of business.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Aircraft Insignia, Germany and Allies WW1

Bruce Robertson, Aircraft Camouflage and Markings, 1907-1954, Harleyford Publications, 1956

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Chevrolet for 1958

The 55-57 Chevrolets were a good looking, well proportioned car with modest tailfins that grew incrementally through the three year run. The 1958 model was bigger, longer and lower, with almost nonexistent tailfins, exactly the opposite of what Ford and especially Chrysler, were doing. 
The Chevrolet sold well, but was dumped at the end of the year as GM rejoined the trend to the exaggerated tailfin look for 1959 and 60.

C. Edson Armi, The Art of American Car Design, Pennsylvania State University Press 1988

Sidecar Sunday


Thanks, Rolf!

Made by Sallheimer & Strauss, circa 1930

The inspiration for the toy, a Royal sidecar. 1928