Saturday, October 31, 2020

Production tool

 Big Time. A 1958 Buick is driven into and posed inside the 350 ton, 46 foot tall hood-stamping press in the Flint, Michigan GM plant. Is that machine still working, I wonder?

La promenade en Torpedo

 This is considered to be the first rendition of a motor vehicle in European art. On top of an architectural rendering of a house and gardens, another artist later added the motorcar with passengers. France, 1896.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

DR Big 50

 Suzuki introduced the 750cc single cylinder four stroke DR Big in 1988, it was never sold in the US but it was reasonable seller in Europe. Suzuki then introduced this 50cc 2 stroke replica for the Spanish market, kind of ridiculous!  More here.

Airbus, 1982

A300, and the smaller A310 was about to be introduced.


Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Short Solent

Not enough detail but, Youtube

One of my vices is vises, P&B

"Here, have this..." Helping a friend moving house and I acquire another vise with an unfamiliar name. Parry and Bott (previous post here) of Birmingham made hand tools, mainly spirit levels and braces- and apparently also vises. There does not seem to be much information on the company online but according to Grace's Guide they were acquired by Rabone Chesterman in 1971.


Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Atlantic steam locomotive model


This large scale model (56" long) of an Atlantic wheel arrangement (4-4-2) steam locomotive is a bit of a mystery. We know it was built in the 1880s to demonstrate an unknown patent. The patent likely has something to do with the sliding mount and possibly an equalizing suspension of the lead truck but that's not certain.  The maker of this model is also unknown, there are no markings or identification anywhere on it. 

Thanks, Rolf!

Hungerford suspension bridge

 Another fine mid 19th Century photograph by Roger Fenton.
 The Hungerford chain suspension bridge over the Thames was designed by Isambard Brunel and opened in 1845. The House of Parliament is under construction in the background.  More on the construction here.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Shell Company of California

 Todays adventure in typography- use the word "Quality" in the least reassuring way...

Monday Mystery, Sorby Auger

A reader sent in these images of an old auger he has, with the question, what is the tool's actual name?
  It seems to be (more or less) a 1/2" spoon bit but with a flat end, it makes a nice 90° square corner hole. As a hand-operated auger, it would seem to be not a very efficient way of drilling a hole, but it does give the advantage of not having a lead screw to limit the drill depth. 

Sunday, October 25, 2020


 New Zealander Jimmy Cullen (Squadron Leader) proudly poses for a publicity shot with his new Tempest V On April 15 1944. I found this image in the 1974 book Typhoon and Tempest at War. As you do, I started wondering about this proud young man, No probs, the internet knows...

Sidecar Sunday

 It's all about the goggles...

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Seasonal photo


What the heck, let's do a simple autumn colours picture, taken about a week ago...

Bench grinder, tool rests

Just a simple spindle-type bench grinder with separate motor.  Really, the only thing unique about it are those nice curved cast aluminum tool rests, they look like they belong to something else.


GM design sketch

 Suggested Oldsmobile front end for 1937, April 17 1936.
George Snider, William McVaugh Jr.

Harley Earl Sketchbooks.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Siemens electric locomotive

After the post on the Siemens first electric locomotive a reader sent the images of the model above. It's the drive axle and integral motor from a more modern Siemens locomotive.  The model is nicely done, desktop-size with wheels about 3-4 inches in diameter. 
I described the first locomotive as geared but it appears it's more likely that it was like this design, direct drive.
 The owner of the model has decided it's time to part with it, if he could only find it in his storage! Email me if interested, he'll find it. 

Thanks, Rolf


Thursday, October 22, 2020



First motor car race

 According to Antique Auto, Vol 53, #4 this 1895 painting is the first known rendering of a motor race in the USA.  The lead driver is said to closely resemble Elwood Haynes, the first to drive a motorcar in Kokomo Ohio during the July 4th parade the previous year.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Komet Me 163S “Habich” two-seat trainer glider

Captured by the Russians:  Free rides, any volunteers?


Vintage BBQ chicken recipe

 Here's something different for the blog... you're kidding... cooking?!! 

 A few years ago, I was looking for a recipe for green chile and I was thoroughly disgusted with one that started with, "Buy a can of enchilada sauce..." Really? start with an unidentified, undefined mass of commercially canned glop? Move along... 

But, the attached recipe must have originated in the fifties, and there is no doubt that it's from another era, a time of TV dinners and canned everything, featuring exotic ingredients like ketchup, prepared mustard, Worcestershire sauce... and it wasn't anywhere near a BBQ but crap... can't deny, it actually tastes pretty good and it's easy to make... substitute any collection of chicken parts...

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Jacobs chuck

 A great design that they got right. A hundred years later they're still right.
I have an old Craftsman 3/8"drill dating back probably 40 years. For some time now the chuck has been acting up and I realise there is another rescued chuck in a junk drawer.
 Simple to replace really, open the jaws as far as they will go, and look in, there is a #8 screw- left hand thread, remove that, and tighten the short end of a large allen screw into the chuck, give it a sharp rap with a hammer in a clockwise direction and the chuck screws off. Except it doesn't; and I try various tricks until the chuck is reduced to junk, and the drill is disassembled. With the shaft in a vise, still nothing so I cut into the thread area with the angle grinder, when it finally comes loose. 
I pick up the replacement chuck and- it's the wrong diameter. 
So. Metal in the scrap metal bin, cord on a hook, screws in a drawer and the case halves into the garbage, no one around here recycles glass filled nylon. 

Racing accident

Feb, 87, The Classic Motor Cycle 
On the right hand turn at Three Tree corner at the 1927 Crystal Place meet, Karl Pugh drops his OK Supreme and we get a bottom view of his bike. 

Did you hear the news?

 Excelsior AutoCycle does good, but look at those ears! 

It appears the F.A.M. Endurance run was a big thing. 

Monday, October 19, 2020

Monday Mystery, Richards Wilcox

Here is an interesting device made by Richards Wilcox (whom we've covered before, here). Although they made tools, they specialized in garage doors and mechanisms. A reader found a stack of these things and wondered what they do. The view above certainly looks like door hardware, and the rounded housing holds a spring-operated tape as shown in the last image.  My guess is some sort of door closer? Thoughts and guesses welcomed!

Douglas torsion bar suspension

Another under-engine suspension system. Torsion bars seem an elegant solution, but that's an awful lot of parts and machining!