Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Crystal Palace

 I've seen lots of info on the exhibits at the Great Exhibition of 1851, held at the Crystal Palace in London. It was a huge structure, very advanced for its time, standing 128 feet tall and being 1850 feet long. The building was made of glass panels held in a cast iron frame, it must have been stunning. Incredibly after the exhibition it was dismantled and moved to Penge Place in London where it stood from 1854 till 1936, when it was destroyed by fire. Fire?

Austro-Daimler 1913

 Shown at the 1913 Salon, this sporty little number is at the height of fashion with its light wooden torpedo body, minimal front fenders and oh-so-stylish windshield(s).

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Kawasaki H1 1970


We used to make things in this country, #327 Toronto Elevators Linseed Oil

 This product dates back to when the oil of milled flax seed (see previous post) was the new miracle substance. This can was sold as a wood finish and I remember my father using it to refinish gunstocks.  Linseed oil was also a waterproofing agent for canvas, used in paints and varnishes and was the basis of linoleum,  Being that it was presented as a new magic elixir, the oil was processed into different types of feed for various kinds of livestock and even showed up in medicines for people!

 Toronto Elevators, a part of Montreal-based Linseed Oil Mills, built the plant in 1910 on Wabash ave near Sorauren Ave in west Toronto. This was a small industrial area south of and conveniently near the CN/ CPR rail lines. A number of paint and varnish manufacturers set up nearby, providing employment for local people for the first half of the century but the market declined as cheaper substitutes replaced the industrial uses for linseed.  Toronto Elevators merged with Maple Leaf Mills in 1961 and the company closed in 1969.

Monday, June 28, 2021

Prototype Boss Hoss?

Of course, someone saw this and that sitting in a garage and though, I bet I could... Once you've managed to fit a flathead V8 in a motorcycle in a stylish way, what more would you want to do?

 Ok, a Lincoln V12 might be a good challenge...

thanks, Glenn!


Sign of the times

 No trespassing, people were never allowed here...

Airplanes in Formation, F84 Thunderjet


Saturday, June 26, 2021

Custom cars in the seventies

The answer to.... I'm not sure what... but if you wondered where your mother's living room furniture went... 

"Function Car" from TAG, not sure who they are or were...


Only in the finest milling establishments...


Friday, June 25, 2021

Ellerman and Bucknall Steamship Company

The short-lived Ellerman and Bucknall Steamship company was formed in 1914 from the amalgamated shipping companies that John Ellerman has been involved in and the struggling Bucknell shipping company which Ellerman purchased in 1908, the name change finally happening in 1914. WW1 decimated the fleet and Ellerman bought another shipping company in 1916, the name being changed to Ellerman and Wilson. During WW2 60 out of 105 ships were sunk and during the containerizing of cargo in the sixties, the competition brought more changes. The musical chairs of company names continued till the Ellerman name finally died in 2004 under the ownership of Hamburg Sud. 

Diamond Calk Horseshoe Company adjustable wrench

Unusually, this adjustable wrench has company name on both sides of the handle, "upside down" on this side.

in 1908 the Diamond Calk Horseshoe company started making horseshoes and calks (traction inserts for horseshoes) in Duluth, Minnesota. By the 1920s, with less market for horseshoes they had branched out into railway supplies and wrenches. The business was successful and they continued in the tool business, adding pliers of different types. 

The company remained a family business longer than most, being sold to Triangle in 1981. See Alloy-Artifacts for an extensive company history.


Thursday, June 24, 2021

Chev van

Ahh, my misspent youth- right there at the curb. I owned a succession of these, from a 1962 model to 1970. The motorcycles and campers it carried, the adventures. Wonderful. The friends I moved, and moved... and moved. Ohhhh, cold and drafty, noisy and rattly, hmmm, manual steering and brakes, 3 on the tree, drum brakes, beam front axle... hmmm.
Nice to look at but he can have it.

Electricity is the future

On a drive around southern Ontario last weekend we ended up driving along the edge of the Niagara river, approaching the Falls from upstream, not how it's usually done.  As the rapids started to form in the river a few hundred yards up from the falls, we came upon this palace of a building. 

Turns out it is the former Toronto Power Generating Station, built in 1906 to supply electricity to the City of Toronto, 75 miles away. Designed by architect E J Lennox, clearly no expense was spared in the decoration. It is an unusual example of the Beaux Art style applied to an industrial building but hey, electricity is the future!  This was their solution to making a utility building in what was already a major tourist attraction. It couldn't be an eyesore. In 1922 the generating station was acquired by Ontario Hydro, who operated it till 1974.  

But what to do with it now? It's all fenced in and boarded up. Not a church, dance halls are no longer in fashion, my vote is to rejuvenate the turbines, modernize the control systems, put it back to work and open it up for tours. It could be a monument to modern renewable energy, much more dependable and predictable than wind.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Another job you might not want to do, filling wing tanks on an aircraft carrier

There must be a better way!

Gillett Royal Yeast Cakes


Perusing a local flea market, I ran across this display box of yeast cakes, fortunately the boxes were empty. I was trying to visualize what 60plus year old yeast might look like. Once again a name I'd never heard of but this was a company with a large presence in the kitchens of the past.There is a even a modern reprint of the Royal Yeast bake book.

The E. W. Gillett Company, Ltd. was founded in 1852 by P. W. Gillett in Toronto, Ontario. The factory, located in downtown Toronto made Royal Yeast Cakes, Magic Baking Powder and perfumed lye and other baking related products. Below, the E.W. Gillett Co. Ltd. building in 1898.

Urban Toronto

Toronto, Canada: The Book of its Board of Trade, 1897-98, page 133, City of Toronto Archives.

 The building was destroyed in the great Toronto fire of 1904 and the company took out the following ad in The Globe newspaper on April 12 1904;
 "Our entire plant (building and machinery) was totally consumed by the awful conflagration which swept part of Toronto on Tuesday night, April 19th, and we must therefore ask your indulgence for a few weeks. Fortunately we have a duplicate set of machinery stored safely in another building, and this will enable us to turn out goods within a reasonable time. Every Wholesale Grocer in the Dominon has a stock of ROYAL YEAST, GILLETT'S LYE, MAGIC BAKING POWDER, Etc., so we are hoping, by the careful use of goods now in their hands, that no one will be inconvenienced. 'Gillett's Goods Are the Best,' and will be more popular than ever."

The company moved out of downtown in 1912 to a much larger factory located, I believe at King and Dufferin Streets (below). Seems like the management was ahead of their time, they also provided up-to-date dining and shower facilities, on-site barber shop, tennis courts and bowling greens on the factory lawns for their employees.
In 1929, the brand was merged with other companies to form Standard Brands, Inc.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Studebaker race team

The team at Indianapolis, 1932. 
 Number 22, Cliff Bergere was the highest finisher, third place.


Motorcycle sport stamps from Hungary

 These stamps, part of a series of sport stamps, were released in 1962. They depict various types of racing. I like the diagonal orientation. I should have checked, the originals are in colour. 

Monday, June 21, 2021

Carden Cyclecar

Sept 88 Classic Motor Cycle

 Wooden body, skinny little wheels, ski-like fenders, a ridiculous horn and only 300 lbs. Are there brakes at all? The 700cc 2 stroke twin would have made this an exciting ride in 1916. John Carden built these cycle cars from 1914 to the early twenties before moving on to small tanks. Patent on the powertrain here (thanks Rolf!)

Note: This post is attempting to balance out the recent car-engines-in-motorcycles series.

We still make things in this country, Atlas Steel Limited


Painting by Fred Finley.

The caption read,  Scene from the North Plant Forge Department, Atlas Steels Limited, Welland, Canada, showing a 12,000 lb pneumatic hammer and a 1000 ton press. 

Date is unknown. The plant is still very much in business, now called Valbruna.

Apologies for the image quality, I photographed this print, hence the the glare in a few spots. 

Here is some information from the National Gallery about the artist and a picture of him here.  More from the Agnes Etherington Art Center here

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Brough Superior?

Dec 84 Classic Motor Cycle
Who among us wouldn't want a nice stylish Brough Superior sitting in the garage, big V twin JAP motor filling the frame, feeding into the twin fishtail mufflers...

 Here are two models that in my opinion fall short of that Brough appeal, The Brough Superior Dream, above with its stacked horizontally opposed engine and below ( continuing the car engines in a motorcycle series) the Austin-engined inline four longitudinally mounted which drove not one but two rear wheels. Both just look wrong to me.

Feb 87 Classic Motor Cycle


Sidecar Sunday


Richardson wrench

Seen at a local flea market today. a number of Richardson wrenches. I've not seen the name before but they do resemble Craftsman wrenches. I can find no further info on them, the back just says Drop Forged Tool Steel with a 900 series number depending on the size.

 I see a Richardson patent from 1863 for the first ratchet wrench and on ebay is a bicycle wrench marked Richardson Chicago, it does not look related.

Aerite foot pump

This is a nice solid foot operated air pump probably from the 1950s and made in England, just the thing to keep in the trunk of your car for emergencies. 

I used foot and bicycle pumps far too often when I was a kid, I'm a compressor fan these days.