Monday, November 30, 2020

Singer sewing machine toothed belt

 During some mending of some old jeans using my 1957 Singer 306K sewing machine, I encountered a jam of some sort and was forced to go digging to find the cause. I eventually found the offender (some balled up thread in the bobbin) but during the careful diagnosing and dismantling of the moving bits inside I found something interesting.

 Now, if you needed a timed coupling between two shafts and Mr Gilmer hadn't invented his rubber toothed belts, how could you make a non slip connection between two pulleys? Here's Singer's solution. 

How about a belt made of 11 wraps of heavy twine with carefully spaced bent steel wires clipped around it? (Simanco Part No. 189651). Singer was one of the first users of the rubber toothed belts developed in the early forties by Gilmer, but this old-school belt is going fine after more than 60 years.

One of my vices is vises, Black and Decker Quick Vise

It looks like a handy device, 4 screws into any handy solid surface and you have a versatile place to clamp all sorts of things. The sheet metal construction keeps the weight down for portability. Owners manual here.


Mercury Scott

 In the late 30s, a man named Laurie Jenks in Croydon, England designed and built what he considered to be modern motorcycle, fully enclosed with a cast aluminum frame, the motor he chose was perhaps not the most modern, the Scott 600 two stroke twin. He got further than most of us with the same idea, he had enough frame parts cast to build the five complete motorcycles, he completed 4, the last was sold as a kit after WW2 and completed in 1959.  The drawings below were done by one of Mercury Scott owners, Derek Moore. 

Article on the Mercury Scott by the Vintagent here.

The last motorcycle to be completed had a rear wheel enclosure fitted.

Mr Jenks also had his own ideas to modernize the Scott engine and came up with a set of rotary valves to fit.  

Classic Motor Cycle April 1984

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Joyce Jacks

 Couldn't have said it better myself! 

Despite the bad play on words, the company is still going strong

Sidecar Sunday

Thanks, Jon!

Happy Thanksgiving to our American friends... 

This actually was part of a Classic Motorcycle postcard series and was labeled "Christmas Turkey,"

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Plath manual navigation computer

During WW2 the Luftwaffe used assorted mechanical and electrical radio directional aids, primitive radars and precision target detection equipment. Flight personnel were given basic training in manual navigation and map reading. 
Personnel who had elected to, or had been chosen to become flight observers undertook further blind-flight and navigational training. Along with the mechanical and electrical radio directional aids, two different models of manual flight navigation computers to assist in navigational calculations which were basically circular slide rules. 

From the auction listing;
 The flight navigation computer device consists of discs roughly 15 cm in diameter, dual sided, multi piece, molded black and white bakelite construction attached with aluminum rivets. One side features a static, molded black bakelite outer circle with impressed white, 360 degree numerical compass markings with the four major cardinal directional points of N, S, O and W (North, South, East and West) and the four intercardinal points of NO, SO SW and NW. (Northeast, Southeast, Southwest & Northwest) This outer circle encompasses a movable, molded white bakelite inner circle which also has impressed black and red 360 degree numerical compass markings, and the outline of an aircraft with directional arrow. Mounted on top of both of these circles is a clear moulded moveable arm with an additional blue directional arrow. The inner circle and arm can both be turned to align with the outer circle to determine the approximate computations. 
The other side of the computer features moulded white bakelite movable inner and outer circles with a static moulded black bakelite circular ring in between the two. The central, movable circle has the addition of a moulded clear bakelite movable arm with a directional arrow. All three circles also have impressed, black, red and white, numerical degrees, temperature and kilometer markings. Both the inner and outer circles and the arm can be turned to align with the static, in-between circle to determine the appropriate computations. The computer also has impressed green script which includes the model designation. "Dreieckrechner Baumuster DR2", Computer Construction Model DR2) "Gerat Nr. 127 107 B". ( Equipment number 127 107 B) "Anforderz. Fl 23825. ( Flight Requisition number FL 23825). "Hersteler. Dennert & Pape Hamburg, Altona". (Manufacturer and Location),and "Fertigstellung Sept 1940 "(Completion date Sept 1940).

The whole system is a mystery to me, how any aircraft could navigate and return to their base after a mission is a thing of marvel to me and although I did learn the basics of a slide rule in high school, how the two can be combined to make an effective workable tool is amazing. 
 More here
Lots of detail here
History of the Plath company here.

Of note; the Luftwaffe used a specific Map, Degree Network Reference System (Gradnetzmedeverfahren) navigation system system that was based on the Greenwich longitude/latitude degree system to pointpoint a precise location. The Luftwaffe's Gradnetzmedeverfahren differed slightly from the systems used by the Army and Navy.

Thanks, Rolf!


Friday, November 27, 2020

Planes in formation, F-86 Sabres

RCAF Sky Lancers. More here.

Powell and Hanmer

 Powell and Hanmer started a company in 1885 to make lighting equipment, their products included carbide and acetylene lamps for bicycles and later motorcycles and cars. They also manufactured various motorcycle accessories, bulb horns, mirrors etc. In 1914 a second factory was opened to build electrical components. They must have worked well because in 1929 Lucas bought the company, to eliminate a competitor. 

Your receipt, Sir...

The once-ubiquitous retail bill-writing machine... please keep the yellow copy... 

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Tunnel travel

 Motor inspection tour of the Pennsylvania Railway Tunnel during its construction. The tunnel, consisting of two tubes under the Hudson River, was started in 1903 and completed in 1910. 

The automobile is unidentified. The tunnel, now called the North River Tunnels, is in more use than ever, running trains back and forth into Manhattan and is slated to be replaced in the next twenty years....


British Car Day was cancelled this year but this watercooled JAP powered Morgan was on display at the event a few years ago. 


We used to make things in this country #319, Robin 2160

 The Avions Robin 2160 was a French aircraft certified in 1978. For a brief period (1983-85) there was a Canadian venture to build them in Quebec and an unknown number were built. 

This aircraft seems to have been built in fits and starts over the years by various companies, the most recent attempt in New Zealand between 2004 and 2008.  

More here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Prewar Parking Meter Patents

Top row; Raymond Loewy; Industrial Designer

Second row; David Rockola, inventor of the self-named jukebox- the Rock-Ola.

Third row; John B. McGay, he and a partner, George E. Nicholson, founded the Macnick Company in 1930 to manufacture the first parking meters, an invention of an Oklahoma City publisher, Carl L. Magee. 

He also came up with the idea of inserting a valve into the rim of a tire to eliminate the need for a tube and offered it to the Government as a means of conserving rubber in World War II.

Moto Lucifer

 Great poster for a motorcycle that was built in Paris from 1928 till 56 using proprietary engines of various sizes from 100 to 350 cc.

Senspray carburetor

 First introduced in 1911, the Senspray was a carburetor built by Atco, better known for their lawnmowers. A far cry from the surface evaporators of the previous century, it featured a float-fed fuel supply which was drawn up through a jet into the vapourizer tube in the center of the main air passage, giving good atomization. The vapourizer tube can be adjusted with a knob in the airhorn to expose more or less holes for fuel to spray into the mixing chamber.  The rotary throttle valve with an integral adjustable air valve is controlled by two levers on the handlebar, allowing the rider to refine the speed and mixture while riding. 
Although it seems to be quite fiddly, considering the rider would also be adjusting the spark timing while on the move,  the carb worked quite well and could be adjusted to give both good power and fuel economy.

Pdf of manual at Old mower club

Monday, November 23, 2020

Motor Toboggans

 I sure missed going to all the various shows this year, these pictures of Indian powered Motor Toboggans were at one of the Owls Head transportation shows in 2005.

Hardly Driveable

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Baldwin fast passenger locomotive

 With the Central Vermont trackage nearly complete in 1848, the principals of the company envisioned moving passengers at high speeds, and approached Baldwin Locomotive for a fast passenger engine. The company at that time was building mostly slow 6 and 8 drivered freight engines but they came up with locomotive above. A 4 wheel lead truck provided good tracking, the single pair of 6 1/2 foot drivers allowed high speeds with less rpms. There was an additional set of wheels mounted just ahead of the drivers, these were there to help support the weight of the engine, but could be raised by means of a lever to allow more weight on the drivers for better adhesion on startup.  The cylinders were mounted horizontally in the center of the engine, to reduce the anticipated effect of the fast moving reciprocating pistons and rods. The "Governor Paine", named after the president of the Central Vermont, worked for several years on the line regularly achieving 60mph, but always suffering from a lack of grip. It was rebuilt into a standard 4-4-0 configuration.

CN images

A different rendition.

Sidecar Sunday

Mr MacFarlane with Triumph, Mrs MacFarlane presides over the Rally sidecar.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Suzuki TC250

The TC250 was the scrambler version of the X6/T20 and was available in 1967 and 68.They appear with either painted or chrome sided tanks and there are other more subtle variations. The X6 was replaced by the new design T250 for 1968 but the TC250 continued with the older X6 engine during the same year. Like most scramblers of the day, they only looked like an off-road bike.

Another job you probably wouldn't want to do: Cockle fisherman in Wales


On the vast mudflats off the coast of South Wales, cockle fishermen follow the tides out and pick cockle shells. To support and move themselves and their catch on the soft mud, sleds were made that allowed the fisherman to lean forward onto the frame to support himself while propelling himself with his feet.

Brill Dedenda

Who picked that name?

dedendum (plural dedendums or dedenda)

The difference between the radius of the pitch circle of a gear and its root circle

Update, thanks Dave, 
Page 42 of

Friday, November 20, 2020

Royal Air Force colours between the wars

A Bristol Bulldog displays the pre-1937 RAF silver finish in the markings of No 17 squadron.

RAF night bombing aircraft were finished in a drab dark scheme during the 1925-1937 period. This Heyford is part of the No 99 squadron.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

The end is nigh..

 Associated Motor Cycles was the amalgamation of Matchless, AJS, Sunbeam and others, formed in 1938. In 1952 Norton was added to the group but AMC was struggling in the market. In 1963 the company took on the distribution of Suzuki motorcycles through its dealer network. The zippy 50 and 80cc bikes were popular sellers.

MZ two stroke

Walter Kaaden's 1962 125 cc racer was the first internal combustion engine to reach 200hp per litre. A simple two stroke single with rotary valve intake, and two transfer ports. The magic, the expansion chamber exhaust, is not shown in the drawing. Below a lineup of experimental exhausts used in the development process.

Matt Oxley Stealing Speed  Haynes 2009

Gordon Jennings Two Stroke Tuners Handbook