Thursday, December 31, 2020

4 inch Nails


I stopped at a friends tonight to return a tool I had borrowed, conversation ensured of course, and eventually the price of nails came up. Everyone uses nail guns and construction screws, and the old framing hammer and 4 inch nails technique is disappearing. Except for me of course, I'll drive a few nails in the small building projects I do... So he hauled out the remains of a 50 lb box of 4" nails and asked I wanted them. Trouble is; where would someone use 4" galvanized finishing nails?! 

Also, note the poor quality control on the galvanizing process on the top nail. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Miss Unsafe Brakes

Here's a well dressed model working a stand at the 1939 Chicago Auto Show. I have some questions. The machine she is demonstrating looks to be possibly a disc sander on a pivot, is she grinding those (asbestos) brake shoes?
  The discs all over the backdrop read Brakes Certified, which doesn't seem to make sense, was the company named Certified Brakes? Nothing definitive comes up on Google. 

Btw, we have no evidence this is David Aldana's mother.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Hot Rod Fords

The Ames company of Owensboro, Kentucky started building carriages in 1891 as Carriage Woodstock Company. In 1911 it was reorganized as two companies, Ames Motorcars and Ames Body. The car business lasted till 1915 but the body making division was doing well making racing and speedster bodies for Ford Model Ts. These were marketed to "The young fellow who wants something snappy, something that by its very lines, denotes speed."
 There were 6 different styles and about 60,000 bodies produced in all between 1915 and 1925 when Frederick Ames, having suffered a nervous breakdown, passed away. The company started producing upholstered furniture, and soon the production of car bodies came to a close.  The Model T went out of production in 1927.

Making granite columns

By August 1899, the first block of granite 64 x 6 x7  feet and weighing about 300 tons had been cut from the granite ridge. Standing on the block are Superintendent Edward Russell and the quarrymen.This photograph appeared in many national publications and drew the country's attention to the enormity of the jobs being done for the Cathedral.

Some years ago I was visiting the museum of the Historical Society of Vinalhaven Me. and happened upon the entries of the dealings of Bodwell Granite Company with an order from the St John the Divine Cathedral in New York City. The story as I remember it was that in about the year 1900, the Cathedral ordered a number of columns 125 feet long and 6 feet in diameter. The granite was duly cut out of the quarry and set up on the lathe but unfortunately the column cracked while being turned, so another piece of stone was brought up and they tried again. This also broke. A theory was proposed that perhaps vibration was causing the breakage and that possibly turning the stone under water might be the solution. That also apparently didn't work and the company proposed doing the column in two pieces. This solution was accepted, the work was done and the columns were shipped to New York. 

 Unfortunately the visit was a family one,"C'mon, dad, lets go! and I have not been able to visit Vinalhaven again to make sure I got the details exactly right. But think for a minute what it takes to work with chunks of stone that size- largely by hand- without modern technology and machinery...  let alone imagining, designing and building a lathe to work with material that large and heavy. For reference, granite weighs about 175 lbs per cu. ft. An incredible achievement. 

More of the story and details of the lathe at

I'd like to thank Vector Warbirds for his contributions to this post. 


Sunday, December 27, 2020

Lawn Tractors


Sidecar Sunday

Another of the Classic MotorCycle postcard series.
 I have no idea what is going on, but I don't see Captain Doakes anywhere.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Blohm and Voss BV 238

Following the development of the 6 engine BV222 Wiking seaplane and it having attained production status, (if 13 units total could be considered production), work began on the BV-238 which was even larger. It had one of the largest wingspans of the time (197 feet), and weighed the most of any plane up to that time, 220,000 lbs fully loaded. Development was started in 1941, flight trials were finally carried out in 1944. However it was strafed and sunk by Allied planes while docked on a lake near Hamburg, by either American Mustangs or British Typhoons, depending on the story. It was salvaged but later towed out to deep water and sunk. Other prototypes were in progress but were never completed.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Merry Xmas

 Here we have a Canadian stamp celebrating the great expanse of British Empire, and probably the first known use of the abbreviation for Christmas.

The Shepherd


ouldn't you know it, I'm searching for an image of an RAF Vampire to illustrate this post, the only one I can find in my book collection is one in Swiss markings!

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has a Christmas Eve tradition, the reading of "The Shepherd" a story by Frederick Forsyth about a Vampire pilot flying home for Christmas. We missed the actual CBC presentation (6:30 pm) but here it is. Enjoy!

1961 Ford Galaxie

 Just the car for suburban living! Available with a choice of engines from a 223 six or a choice of V8s from the 289 all the way up to a 390 cu. in with three 2 barrel carbs. Performance sells!

Update, a friend wondered what colour the car actually was so she colorized it using Algorithmia. Not perfect but creamy yellow might be close...

thanks, Kate!

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Hesketh collection

Hesketh swag! You didn't buy the bike but you can buy the shirt!


1974 Toyota Trucks

 I keep thinking there should be a market for a small scale truck again. These days the bikes would be in a 20 foot trailer behind a jacked up dual cab 4WD pickup truck.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

300SL Roadster headlight trim

Bruce Thomson

The Mercedes Benz 300 Gullwing was produced from 1954 till 1957 and was the fastest car in the world at that time. A mere 1400 were made before the company changed to the 300SL Roadster, with convertible top and conventional doors.  Slightly more of that model were made, 1858 units were constructed before production ceased in 1963.  Although the roof was the big change between the models, other details were changed, including the headlight trim. I'll use Bruce Thomson's beautiful art to illustrate the difference.

 A friend in Holland tells the story of someone buying a 300SL Roadster project and asking him to find the unique headlight trim. Eventually the parts are found, purchased and proudly presented to the friend. "Oh, too late, I sold the car without them...".

 The way these things go, years later the headlight trim pieces are found on the shelf... so now they're up for sale. Excellent condition, though they may have been rechromed $1075 USD for the pair, shipped from Holland.


Sidecar Sunday


1903 Paris-Madrid Race

Antique Auto , July-August 1989

 This commemorative ceramic sculpture depicts the winners of the Paris-Madrid race of 1903, racing in clouds of dust. The race was run on public roads, the first leg was from Paris to Bordeaux and due to deaths, injuries and the large number of accidents, it was halted after the first day. After the timing was sorted, Fernand Gabriel and his Mors was declared the winner, runner up was Louis Renault in his own racer. The sculpture is very well detailed, showing things like radiator tubing and the faces are apparently recognizable. 

The sculpture was part of the Raymond E. Holland collection of Automotive Art which was apparently sold off sometime in the 90s. The scope of the collection was the subject of a 1990 book by the director of the museum, The Motorcar in Art.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Friday, December 18, 2020

Rescue at sea

Larry Milberry, 60 Years, CanAv books, 1984

 A Canso struggles into the air after rescuing 6 survivors of a crashed Liberator bomber in the Atlantic. July 6 1945

Hesketh Introduction, April 1981

It is rare that anyone has the chance of seeing the fulfillment of a dream. For me it started 4 years ago, with the decision to create and manufacture a British motorcycle which would cater for the requirements of the true enthusiast It has been achieved without compromise and with the finest attributes of tradition and modern-day refinement.
I hope that you will be able to share with all of us at Hesketh Motorcycles the experience of owning and riding the finest road motorcycle in the world.
 The Right Hon. Lord Hesketh

 Previous post here.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Suzuki Colleda Seltwin

The Seltwin was a new-for-1959 spine framed 125 cc two stroke twin with "modern styling".  It was sold till 1963. 

Ray Battersby, Team Suzuki, Parker House 1981

Roy Bacon Suzuki Two Strokes Motorbooks 1981