Thursday, April 15, 2021

Pioneer chainsaw NU17

I'm not really a fan of old chainsaws, much like old outboard motors they're fun to look at but when I pull that cord it has to start and run. I'm not going to put up with cantankerousness, and with a non-starting outboard out on a lake there's not much option to walk home.

 But saws of a certain age, like this 1961 Pioneer NU17 belong in the so-far-fictitious Museum of Die Casting, being made up of multiple beautifully diecast aluminum parts. This model saw was made in Peterborough, Ontario by Pioneer, another long gone manufacturer. Previous post here.

Looking into the specs of the saw, the engine is 90cc, horsepower unspecified but it was supplied with blades 16-20 inches in length. The weight, though also unlisted in the specs here, is substantial.


Learn to fly with a Herring Curtiss aeroplane


Wednesday, April 14, 2021

I miss swapmeets


AJW V twin

AJ Wheaton was a book publisher but between 1928 and 1939 he also designed and built motorcycles. Starting at his fathers printing house in 1926 he made two motorcycles.  He chose an 1000cc Anzani V twin as the powerplant and welded a frame out of tubes. Sporting a sky blue tank, the resulting motorcycle attracted much interest and the next year he built twenty. 

 This is what Brough Superior was also doing in larger quantities- with better promotion- and this limited the sale of AJWs. By 1930 they were priced the same and John Wheaton realized he couldn't compete head on. 

He tried making Villiers powered lightweights and when the Rudge Python engines became available in 1931, a series of 350 and 500 cc motorcycles were offered, while the V twins were discontinued.

 In 1933 Rudge stopped selling engines, but production carried on using various engines from different suppliers. The depression was further hurting sales and when WW2 arrived the company called it quits. Some estimates say only about a dozen AJWs of all types survive.

Below the 1932 letterhead featuring the logo for the single cylinder Flying Fox. 

More here.


Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Stoval Mfg. Quick Grip wrench

thanks, Ski!

This is an interesting idea for multiplying clamping force in a wrench/pair of pliers. I expect it didn't catch on, I've never seen them before. Stovall / Stovall Mfg. Co., Pt. Angeles, WA

 "Quick Grip" wrench / patent 1361923 granted to William M. Stovall, Dec 14 1920
More here.


Raleigh delivery van

 On display at the motorcycle show at Olympia in 1933 complete with milk bottles, this milk delivery vehicle featured a 600 cc single under the triangular cover, which the driver sat astride. Certainly a stylish device for the urban milkman, but keep it light, most of the load seems to be located behind the rear axle.

Packard Electric

In 1895, Packard Electric purchased the property known as “Neelon’s Mill” in St. Catherines, Ontario and converted it into a factory for the manufacture of transformers, later expanding into electric meters, motors and incandescent lamps. Here two men inspect the lighting product line. 

Monday, April 12, 2021

Villiers V four

Oct '91 Classic MotorCycle
In the early 1960s a man named Bill Hindes saw the new(ish) Villiers 250 twin which in turn was based on the earlier single cylinder 1H engine and decided it would be a good base for a four. His concept was to make a 90° V4 using a single crankshaft with longer crankpins to accommodate two rods. This required the machining of new crankcase halves. If you are familiar with two strokes, you're beginning to realise that the crankcase is not getting pressurized even if all four cylinders use a common crankcase. Mr Hindes' solution was a chain and later belt-driven supercharger to keep a positive pressure in the crankcase. The pressure produced is not recorded but the idea was not to supercharge the engine. The actual intake plumbing does not show up in the drawing above. I suspect the engine would need several kicks to pressurize the bottom end but the article stated the bike had no real vices. The engine was fitted into a Douglas Dragonfly chassis.

Villiers bought the bike from the builder for study and only came to light years later when the premisses were being cleared after the company closed. It is now part of the Sammy Miller Museum. Below are some of the 2T engine parts that would have been part of the build,


Sunday, April 11, 2021

Motorway cap

 But it is Snell approved? Who knew there was an Allied Feltmakers Research Association?

Sidecar Sunday

thanks, Rolf


We used to make things in this country #321 Port Hope File Mfg

For the better part of the 20th Century, Port Hope, Ontario has been a major producers of files and rasp.  Frederick Outram emigrated from England to Montreal and opened the Dominion File Works in partnership with others.  Then, moving along and looking to open his own business, opened the Globe File Manufacturing Company on Cavan St. in Port Hope in 1888. 
In 1901 Globe File Manufacturing Company merged with Rhode Island-based Nicholson File Company, (a company founded in 1834 by William Thomas Nicholson (1834-1893)) and the new owners continued to make files in Port Hope, moving in 1955 to a new factory on Peter St.
The Nicholson company was bought out by Cooper Tools (now Apex Tool Group) in 1976.  The Peter Street Nicholson File plant remained active until 1994 when in response to NAFTA  it moved its operation to Mexico. In many ways it's the old familiar story of  Canadian manufacturing.

The Globe history was a long preamble to the possibly unrelated ad at the top of the page. In searching for information on Globe, I found the above ad in a Canadian Machinery magazine of 1906. It points to another file-manufacturing concern in the city, one that seems to have left a great deal less evidence of its existence. Now I have an excuse for searching for files with that logo in old boxes of rusty files in junk stores... 

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Lanchester wick carburetor

 Back when carburetion for the new internal combustion engine was one step from witchcraft, fuel generally was metered through a screw valve into the intake air flow using gravity, or the even more unlikely surface carburetor. The Lanchester carburetor was basically a surface carb utilizing a wick and enhanced with a tube moving hot air to aid evaporation. Starting the engine must have been a chore. The "float bowl"was filled periodically with a hand pump.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Lotus Elan

Lotus Elan fibreglass bodies were molded in one piece using a complicated multi-piece mould which had to be disassembled afterwards. Here a raw body rests among the Europas.  

Oct 1992 issue of Thoroughbred and Classic Cars


Still viable 50 years later, though the car does look a bit insubstantial...


Greetings from Wolfville NS, 1908

 Just another ship postcard addressed to Annie Griffin of Eagle Ontario. This is a fairly unremarkable view of Wolfville, Nova Scotia, pretty sure it would look much the same today.

However, on the back the obscurely signed sender, possibly O. Y. ?, mentions a new character, Jessie. ( Not very interesting, but it's water-melon season)

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Canadians in Italy

The caption in the book "The Way We Were" by Ken Bell read, "A Sherman tank gets minor repairs as it waits for engineers to clear mines from the road ahead. " 
I can't make out what they're doing, what minor repairs are possible when hundreds of pounds of tracks and bogies are involved? But things are obviously relaxed and far enough away from war to attract an audience.


Lamborghini and Pirelli

 I never thought I'd ever post an image of a Lamborghini on this blog, but I think a stylish 30 year old Pirelli ad is OK...

Messerschmitt KR175s

photo credit Ian Hopkins

Get 'em while they're hot!  Just off the production line at Regensburg 1954

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Sawing logs

Here’s a nice 16 foot red oak log dressed out to 12" x12” before being reduced to more useful sizes. The log became available when a tree died, I don't have any particular plans for the wood but didn't want it to go to waste as firewood. The saw is a mid-eighties locally built bandsaw mill powered by a 10 hp Honda motor, generally starts first or second pull.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

One of my vices is vises, Henry L. Hanson of Canada

 This clamp-on vice proudly proclaims its Canadian origins, but I can find no reference online to any Canadian connection to the Henry L.Hanson company of Worcester Mass.- covered in this earlier post. The company was known for their taps and dies, but they also made (or just sold) micrometers.  Having a separate factory in another country to make a completely different product line seems to make little sense, and I can find no reference to the location of that factory. Another little mystery...

thanks, Dave!

Speed and how to obtain it, seventh edition


Monday, April 5, 2021

Steamer Macassa

Looking online, apparently a popular subject of postcards, the boat was built in 1888 by William Hamilton & Co., of Port Glasgow Scotland and sold to Hamilton Steamboat Co of Ontario.

1905 lengthened from 154 to 178 ft. 

1911 Niagara Navigation Co Ltd, Hamilton Ont

1912 Richelieu & Ontario Navigation Co Ltd, Hamilton Ont

1913 Canada Steamship Lines Ltd, Hamilton Ont

1927 Owen Sound Transportation Co Ltd, Owen Sound Ont and rebuilt as MANASOO

 15/09/1928 foundered off Griffith Island, Georgian Bay, Ontario on passage from West Bay for Owen Sound with cattle. 16 lives lost. Capsized when her cargo of 116 cattle apparently shifted to one side, overbalancing her.

 I suspect that was 16 human lives and all the cows.

Toyota comes to America, 1957

Toyota came to America to sell cars in 1957. Only 287 Toyopet Crowns and 1 Land Cruiser were sold that year and after continuing poor sales they abandoned the effort in 1961. In 1965 they returned, selling 20,000 new and improved Toyota Crowns. The Corolla was a further hit when it arrived in 1968, giving the company a solid foothold in North America.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Picture without expanation

This picture was presented in the April 1989 issue  of Thoroughbred and Classic Cars as part of a feature on photographs from 1964. Why is this guy in a Triumph Herald running over his girlfriend?

Sidecar Sunday


Friday, April 2, 2021

GM, Forward from 50

In 1958, GM turned 50 years old. As was noted in a NASCO bulletin, (Parts & Accessories, a division of GM-Holden in Australia);

 JULY. 1958 Forward from Fifty is the slogan of General Motors who, this year are celebrating their Golden Anniversary in the automotive field. It is a slogan that typifies General Motors progressiveness in the fifty years that have passed since the General Motors Company was formed in 1908.

Then follows a timeline of GM achievements, but no mention of any anniversary celebrations... 

But there were celebrations: a variety show and even a record album. There were even special logos on their service manuals. After years end, the fancy logos disappeared and it was back to business.



Four years before, GM had built their 50 millionth car, also cause for celebrations.  Brochure here.

thanks, Drew!


Happy Birthday, Mike Hailwood


Mike Hailwood, nine time world champion and successful Formula 1 and 2 racer was born on April 2, 1940. After a full life and a return to motorcycle racing at 38 he passed away much too early after a car accident on March 21 1981.

July 1981 Road & Track