Sunday, February 28, 2021

A stylish table

Iron Age Feb2 1893

We saw the device for properly serving sardines from a box the other day, but what of the pickles we like to serve as a side dish? This grabber would be just the thing. But let's not stop there, these chicken-themed egg tongs and boiled egg holders, also maybe a dancing rabbit bowl stand  (below) would be tasty additions to any table.   After all, after a hard day sewing in the company of cherubs, we could all use an elegant and relaxing meal.
 Feb11 1893 The Metal Worker
 Old ads contributed by Ski. Uh, thanks! (I think)

Sidecar Sunday

Original Source?


Saturday, February 27, 2021

Atomic train of the future!

 Atomic was the buzzword in the late 40s and the 50s. The first nuclear-powered generator lit a light bulb in 1948.  By 1955, when this (wisely-unsigned) artists rendition of a fanciful atomic powered train was drawn, the first nuclear power station had only just come online in the USSR, the US would have to wait until December 1957. 
The artist seems to have ben referencing the already obsolete C&O M1 steam turbine- adding a bubble canopy- and I suspect the idea wasn't ever taken seriously, very few mobile non-military reactors have ever been built. The first nuclear powered cargo ship, the NS Savannah, was launched in 1962 and decommissioned in 1970. The two other nuclear cargo ships, launched by Germany and Japan, were also not considered successes.

Zundapp Moped cutaway


Thanks, Rolf!

Morris Minor 1959

 Back in the days when magazine covers were actually paid advertisements.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Record setting in the St Louis Robin


From July 13 to July 30 1929, Dale Jackson and Forest O'Brine flew nonstop over and around St Louis in their Curtiss Robin. A second Robin provided inflight refueling, engine oil, food and a break in the routine of living in the small cockpit. A catwalk was provided so the engine could be serviced and adjusted but impressively, the WW1 era engine ran without issues for the whole 420 hours. 

Thursday, February 25, 2021

The Sports Car Pocketbook

This little (4x6") book published in 1961, is a nice little window into the history of sports cars up till that point. Even the American Big Three gets a polite mention... and the AC cars entry mentions the Ace- pre Cobra!

For Axel, see comments...


 If I can't have an Egli Vincent, I want a Norvin.

This picture, ripped from Mick Walker's Cafe Racers of the 1960s, is of the Bacon brothers, Alf on the bike, Harry standing behind. The bike is timeless, Alf's fashion sense seems more 1972 than the sixties (nitpicking, I know) and Harry is much too formal for either decade!

The fairing appears to be a Ducati Desmo 750 item, or possibly it's an Avon? Someone knows for sure.

We used to make things in this country, #322 Craftmaster

Here's a saw I was given many years ago, accepted solely on the streamline shape of the guard. (I'm not shallow). Just a small quality home workshop tool featuring some nicely styled castings.  Like so many projects, it never got used. 
Craftmaster was a London Ontario-based company that grew out of the Henry Tool company , maker of vices for the Canadian military during WW2. After the war William J. Henry formed the company Henry Power Tools, which made and sold a line of tools that along with the table saws included drill presses, band saws, lathes and others. The company did well, after Mr. Henry passed away in 1947, his wife continued the business till it was sold to Strongridge Ltd in 1953, also located in London. The company continued to manufacture and sell these tools till the mid eighties when it closed due to foreign competition.
 I don't have the room, but having seen the lineup, I wonder who the designer was. I think I need the whole set. 
Canadian Woodworking


Canadian Woodworking

from the collection of Craig

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

D. W. Clarke sewing machine

Machines, Life Science library, 1964

 Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. One of decorative hand-cranked sewing machines built by the D.W. Clarke company of Bridgeport Conn. between 1858 and 1860. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Tom Arter Matchless, 1967

Ken Sprayson built this frame for the Tom Arter sponsored Matchless, first ridden by Mike Duff at the Canadian GP. 

John Phippen photo

Monday, February 22, 2021

Tyre alternatives

 During World War 2 Dunlop came up with this alternative to a rubber tire. File that experiment under "Next!"

Champion sparkplug salesman sample

Thanks, Rolf!

Sparkplug salesman's fancy kit, velvet-lined no less. By the look of it, the owner might have been moonlighting for the Bosch company...

Sunday, February 21, 2021


30 plus years ago I visited a fellow bike-amassing friend, he had acquired a '68 T500 rolling chassis. Mostly there, but the motor was missing. "$50, did I want it?" 
Sure, it's a Suzuki, I'll take it...  
"OK, but you have to take those hulks over there." (the remains of another three newer T500s). 
 I get the junk home, sort it out, a couple of 1977 GT500 hulks (the ones with the disc brake and GT750 tank), another early 70s frame, boxes of partial engines, sundry parts...etc., etc. I don't see an engine number that matches the '68 frame number so I built the bike with a GT500 engine (bonus, electronic ignition!). The other bikes are discarded, left outside, loose parts are dumped in the storage vans. 
 Over the next few decades most of the junk disappears, and every once in a while the remains of the partial engines surface in the vans.  I've moved on, T500 was ridden for a summer, it's parked and off the radar but out of habit, I take note of the engine numbers to see if anything matches with anything else.  All this is done in a unorganized way...  
And then about 5 years ago, in the junk I find an bottom engine case with the right serial for my '68? What the...? Then a matching upper case? I have no explanation for the appearance of these parts. 
Eventually it occurs to me that I should save those cases and if the bike ever gets sold, they should accompany the bike. 
So over the past week I've cleaned them up, assembled them loosely and built a fancy little plywood box for them and marked the contents. I also have a set of the unique 34mm carbs for that bike in there.
 A nice package for any future purchaser/restorer but most importantly, one more little thing cleared out of my endless to-do list.

Sidecar Sunday

Classic MotorCycle

Sidecar Sunday seems to be getting popular!

 1950 Belgian Grand Prix

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Grim Determination


Program for a Junior Car Club Event, 1931

Thomas Mfg. multitool

Throw away your tool boxes full of extraneous tools, buy one of these!
 The Thomas Mfg. Co. started about the year 1900 and made a line of combination/multitools. They seem to have sold a lot of them, judging the amount of them that come up for sale.
  Information on the actual company is hard to come by.

The Matthews "Never Stall" Monkey Wrench Combination Tool was made and marketed by the Thomas Mfg. Co. of Dayton, Ohio.  It was known as the Windmill Tool. This tool was supposed to be all you ever needed when you climbed up a windmill tower. Their ads pointed out that the Windmill Tool did the work of fifteen different tools. The Patent No. was 933,860 Sept. 14, 1909.

Thanks, Ski!

Friday, February 19, 2021

Triumph TR-7

Original concept sketch for the TR7 by British Leyland stylist Harris Mann. The flavour definitely carried through to production- whether or not you agree with the swoops in the sheetmetal...


Sardine grabber

 Iron Age, Oct 5 1893

Heavily silver plated, so you know it's classy.

National Research Council Tailless Glider

NRC tailless glider being towed on the ground, Arnprior, Ontario, 11 June 1949.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584258)

The Flying Wing or Tailless Aircraft format is a concept that was pursued from the beginning of flight, the Burgess- Dunne was one such early design.

 During the interwar period, research continued in various countries. In Britain, Geoffrey T. R. Hill, interested in designing a safer, more stable airplane constructed, with help from his wife, a working glider in 1924. His goal was an aircraft with no definite stall point and one that was resistant to spinning, making it safer to fly. The glider gained official interest and when later fitted with an engine, was shown at the Farnborough air show.

 The Westland-Hill aircraft company contracted him to build a series of tailless aircraft which they labelled Pterodactyls. In 1932 the final Mark V variant was constructed which was said to have worked as well as conventional aircraft but it was not developed further. There is a popular saying that if a plane looks right, it is right. This one could not be described as such. 

 During the Second World War, Geoffrey Hill served as the British Scientific Liaison Officer at the National Research Council (NRC) in Canada, where he proposed continuing his research. In 1946 a wooden twin-cockpit glider was built and a test program was initiated. It seems a bit strange, the Northrup Flying Wing would seem to have already advanced quite a bit further than this program.

From the Harold Skarup pages, The glider was constructed predominantly from wood with a single spar built from laminated wood supporting wooden built up ribs covered with a relatively thick plywood skin, which resulted in a smooth surface with minimal distortion.  The wing had three distinct sections, comprising a constant-chord, unswept centre section flanked by swept tapered outer sections. Primary flight controls consisted of elevons on the trailing edges of the outer wing sections for pitch and roll, with fins and rudders on the wing-tips for yaw stability and control.  Trim in pitch was achieved by adjusting the incidence of movable wing tips using screw jacks.  For approach and landing split flaps were fitted to the wing centre section trailing edge.

The undercarriage consisted of a retractable tricycle arrangement with auxiliary skids which could be lowered in case the undercarriage failed to extend. Differential brakes were fitted to the main undercarriage wheels.

The pilot and flight test engineer were accommodated in two separate cockpits protruding from the top surface of the wing centre section with the pilot in the port cockpit and test engineer in the starboard cockpit.  A comprehensive instrumentation package was fitted, with automatic recording of time, airspeed, altitude, wing tip incidence, flap angle, side-slip, roll rate, pitch rate, yaw rate, elevon hinge moment, elevon angles, rudder angles, ambient air temperature, normal acceleration (gy), longitudinal acceleration (gz), gyro attitude, pendulum attitude and bank angle.  In addition radio transmissions from the pilot and test engineer were recorded on the ground.

Flight testing of the aircraft began in 1946 at Namao, Edmonton, flown by S/L Robert Kronfeld, AFC, RAF initially and continued by S/L. E. L. Baudoux, D.S.O., D.F.C., F/L. G. S. Phripp and F/L. G. A. Lee.  Mr. T.E.Stephenson was in overall charge of the flying operations as well as scientific observations in the starboard cockpit.  Ground handling of the glider was found to be good, using the differential brakes.  Launches were carried out as aero-tows behind an RCAF Douglas Dakota with a 350 ft nylon tow-rope, at a normal towing speed of 100 mph, but tows at 140 mph were found to pose no difficulties.  Flight testing was carried out predominantly in the glide after a tow to between 6,000 ft and 10,000 ft, testing being terminated at 4,000 ft to allow positioning for entering the landing circuit.  Flight characteristics were found to be good with the exception of poor yaw control at low speeds.

In September 1948, the glider was towed 2,300 miles across Canada to Arnprior, Ontario for further testing, completing 105 hours before the project was terminated. The aircraft was stored for several years before deteriorating and being scrapped in the mid fifties.

Larry Milberry, 60 Years, CanAv books, 1984