Thursday, March 30, 2023

Ariel Leaders

A minor celebration for the 25,000th Ariel Leader off the assembly line in June 1961. There were 30,000 of the two stroke twins made  before the Ariel factory closed in 1965. Below, some of those engines being assembled. 


RI logo wrench

This was the first Rhode Island Tool I've seen, a lucky find in a New York City junk/collectable store. Definitely has the plain, early 20th century look about it, not sure of they came with black paint.

According to Alloy Artifacts, the Providence Tool Company split into the Household Sewing Machine Company and the Rhode Island Tool Company in 1883. Rhode Island Tool made nuts, bolts, and tools, at 148 West River Street, Providence, looks like the buildings are still there. When the company closed is uncertain.


Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Twirlybird amusement park ride

I remember these from my childhood, the carousel type ride was a go-to for the 5-7 year old for sure. Nope, I DO NOT need one now.


Glasscutter collection

On a recent visit to Wheeler's Maple Products, we took a tour of the attached farm (many chainsaws) museum but also took a moment to appreciate that there are all sorts of tool collections.


Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Cycle car chassis

Build your own!

Motorcyclist Magazine, June 1940

Cristine Somer-Simmons. The American Motorcycle Girls:1900-1950. Parker House, 2009

 A little cheesecake for the vintage motorcyclist... reused as the frontispiece of the book The American Motorcycle Girls:1900-1950.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Le Car

 More fun than any cheap car should be able to deliver...

Sidecar Sunday

MotorCycle Illustrated Nov 4 1915

 Effie and her mother made the cross country trip in two months in the rig, becoming the first female motorcyclists to do so.

Saturday, March 25, 2023


 Still a very good looking motorcycle.

Below; even upside down.  Steve McLaughlin gets it all wrong.

Dome P2

Minoru Hayashi founded the Dome company in 1975, his intent being to design and build both road and racing cars. Hayashi already ran Hayashi Racing in Osaka which was a prosperous aftermarket supplier for street and competition cars. The company decided that they should do a showcase concept car, and the Dome Zero was the result, shown at Geneva in 1978. This car was the successor- P2, shown at the Auto Expo Los Angeles.

Trying to describe it, it definitely shows signs of being derived from the sharp-angled show cars of a decade earlier, ie Lancia Stratos 0, Maserati Boomerang or Ferrari Modulo, the windshield could be left over from a Lancia Stratos. But still a sharp=looking car that probably wouldn't be out of place at a car show today.

Road and Track, Sept.1979


Friday, March 24, 2023

Lang Lathe/ 9.2 shell rabbithole

thanks, Gary!
This picture seems to be a demo of the metal removing capabilities of a heavy duty Lang lathe. A search for information on the Lang lathe led to the ad below from WW1, this machine's only purpose was for the manufacture of 9.2 Howitzer shells. A search on the 9.2 led to Wikipedia who says, "In World War I British service, the gun served only on the Western Front with 36 British, one Australian and two Canadian batteries. Batteries increased in size from four guns to six during 1916–17. So there seems to be only about 200 of these ponderous beasts in use, they can barely be counted as portable, requiring 36 hours to set up. Once set up they were known for their accuracy.
But as we see in the Ukraine these days, artillery requires a lot of ammunition and there are lots of pictures of crates and racks of just-manufactured artillery shells on the streets on Toronto and presumably other cities..


Royal Garrison Artillery David Gibbons


And although these below are not 9.2 shells, some idea of scale of artillery usage.

Velocette KTT exploded view

The Velocette KTT was introduced in 1929 as a production racer version of the OHC KSS. The small oil line to the head is the oil feed to the cam and rockers, the large ones are the return drains.

The KTT was the first motorcycle to be fitted with a positive stop foot shift, the industry standard ever since.


Thursday, March 23, 2023

Triumph Trackmaster frame

Lindsay Brooke, Triumph Racing Motorcycles in America, Motorbooks 1996

  This Trackmaster frame was commissioned by Triumph in 1967 as an official Triumph replacement for a stock Triumph frame, it was constructed from chrome moly tubing by Ray Hensley of SonicWeld frame fame. They were stamped with a Triumph part number to allow it to be used as a "factory frame" as the rules then specified. Compare to a Harley XR750 frame below, these frames, unlike  roadracing frames, were intended to flex.
Previous post

Maybe your great-grandfather's Oldsmobile...

 Discontinuing the Curved Dash runabout at the end of 1907, Oldsmobile had been starting to build larger, more modern vehicles the year before. Powered by four cylinder engines of 30-40 horsepower, the more expensive models got a 450 cu in. 6 cylinder engine of about 50 hp.

For comparison, the Model T in its first year sold for $950. a Packard Model 30 was around $4000. The average wage for a male was about $11 per week. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Ford Pinto Pangra

The Pangra was a kit car based on the Ford Pinto developed by the Huntington Ford dealership in Arcadia California, soon after the Pinto was released. The idea was was to make a higher performance sportscar by turbocharging the engine, stiffening the suspension, adding wider tires and giving it a sporty distinctive look with hideaway headlights. Analyzing all these decades later, it is definitely an improvement on the basic Pinto look but not really different enough? 
Estimates are that 20-50 were sold with many more partial kits sold. 
Story here. Another article here.


Oil glasscutter TC600

 Here's a nice Japanese-made Toyo glass cutter, the handle is a reservoir for lubricating oil. It looks well made.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

US Army's first airplane

The Wright military aircraft approaches a pylon in a demonstration flight, there seems to be a definite lack of military uniforms in the audience.

Signal Corps Specification Number 486 was issued December 23 1907 to provide the US Army with its first heavier-than-air aircraft. Requirements were as follows:

It must be easily assembled and disassembled so that an army wagon could transport it. that it be able to carry two people with a combined weight of 350 lbs, and must carry sufficient fuel for 125 miles,  it be able to reach a speed of at least 40 mph which would be calculated during a two lap test flight over a 5 mile course,  that it would be able to demonstrate that it could remain in the air for at least 1 hour. 

The Wright brothers provided a wooden framed aircraft with a 25 hp engine driving two propellers, landing gear was two skids. it actually doesn't appear much different than the original 1903 model. 

The aircraft was demonstrated in September 1908. On one flight a propeller split, the airplane glided down to a height of 75 feet and then crashed to the ground, killing passenger Thomas Selfridge. 

The Wrights returned with a new plane in June 1909 and over the next two months it was demonstrated adequately and accepted. New army pilots were trained during the course of the next few months.

Ford Model A, 1928

 Here's another ad for the new Model A; again directed at women, the selling points being safety, comfort and ease of handling. This was a complete opposite approach to the Jordan Playboy ad campaign of a few years earlier. And the production numbers were a bit different, from December 2 1927 to Feb 4, 1929, one million Model A's were sold.

Monday, March 20, 2023

Wheel Maintenance

 Just chuck that into the lathe and clean up the flanges, OK?

Monday Mystery, INDEX 24mm wrench

 Not really a big mystery, but I can't find a manufacturer named Index, so it might actually be a tool for "indexing"? Thoughts?

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Motorcycles on record albums, Roy Orbison

 In this case, the motorcycle relegated to the back cover... but still!

Sidecar Sunday

Survey says, 8 out of 10 motorcyclists do not prefer a sidecar outfit.

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Kent Moore wrench

Here's a nice water or fuel pump wrench, special tool J-4242. I can't find much info on the origins of Kent Moore, but for years they produced specialized service tools, equipment, and diagnostic instrumentation for the most of the major players in the American automotive industry, 

In early 1982, Sealed Power, a engine component manufacturer acquired the company in a cash and stock transaction valued at $70 million.  An important step in Sealed Power’s campaign to diversify its product line, the acquisition of Kent-Moore provided a new direction for Sealed Power’s relationship with the auto industry. Although Kent-Moore dealt directly with the same automakers that Sealed Power had supplied since its beginnings in 1911, the specialty tools that it produced relied on the introduction of new automotive models rather than on the volume of production. Each new car model requires a set of specialized tools with which dealers can service the vehicles, and the Kent-Moore division works directly with manufacturers before new vehicles are introduced. Kent-Moore also had significant overseas operations, including a partnership in Japan, that allowed Sealed Power to expand its foreign presence.

In 2013 SPX was acquired by Bosch but I believe the tools are still being manufactured.