Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Steam train demonstration

David Chatterton (Editor).  The Mind Alive Encyclopedia.  Technology.  Chartwell Books Inc., 1968, 1977.

When early steam trains were just a circus act.

Jeweller's saws

This is a lovely clamp-style saw with an adjustable frame.  Sadly, for such a well-made tool, the manufacturer did not see fit to leave its name on it.

Below, another made by Dixon, apparently a German firm:

Louis A. Shore.  Arts and Crafts for Canadian Schools.  J.M. Dent & Sons (Canada) Ltd., 1946.

The jeweller's saw is in the class of coping saws. The history of the coping saw seems to be something of a mystery.  In the 19th century, there were marquetry saws with deep throats and frame saws with shallow throats used for cutting dense materials. The coping saw appears to be a tool that bridges these two forms. The first U.S. patent for a saw that looks like a modern coping saw is an 1883 application from William Jones for a “saw frame for a jeweler’s saw.”  The following year, C.A. Fenner patented a mechanism that allowed the blade to rotate in the frame (it's amazing in its gizmosity). He called it (most unhelpfully) a "hand saw."  In 1887,  Christopher Morrow patented a tool called a "coping saw," which ironically tensions its blade more like a wooden bowsaw.  After that point, the term "coping saw" crops up regularly in catalogues and patent filings. By 1900, the saw is everywhere.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Case Traction Engines, 1908

Floyd Clymer, Album of Historical Steam Traction Engines, Bonanza Books
The Case Threshing Machine Company had already been in business 66 years at the time of this ad. It was one of the largest manufacturers of steam traction engines and had been building gasoline tractors for more than a decade. After many mergers and acquisitions over the last half of the 20th century the company is still building farm and construction machinery today.

Gilera 124 Speciale Strada

Mount St. Helens & the Railway, 1980

From Railfan & Railroad.  Nov. 1980.  Vol 3 No 7.

"Ironically, the BN owns the volcano."

Osmiroid Basic Calligraphy

Above, the a few pages from a booklet I turned up.  There's lots of information on the firm of E.S. Perry on the web, so I won't repeat it here.  Suffice it to say, that British company has vanished along with so many others.  Personally, I think their branding left something to be desired.  Osmiroid?  Sounds like an ointment for piles.

If anyone's interested in looking at the full booklet, I've uploaded it here:

Monday, June 26, 2017

Making WAVES in WWII

Movie Lot to Beachhead.  The Motion Picture Goes to War and Prepares for the Future.  
By the Editors of Look.  Doubleday, Doran & Co., Inc., 1945.

Vanished Tool Makers: James Hartley & Co., Sunderland, England

I found this beautiful old glass cutter at a ReStore recently.  The handle is a lovely, open-grained wood and the ferrule is brass.  The head is steel, and has a set screw for holding a carrier for an industrial diamond.  The diamond is very worn so this tool saw heavy use.

The firm of James Hartley wasn't really a tool firm--they made glass.  In 1836, the Hartley brothers set up their own glass-making business in Sunderland, on the north-east coast of England, formerly better known as Wearmouth.  There they established the Wear Glass Works and traded as James Hartley & Co.  In 1838, building on German technology, James was granted a patent for Hartley's Patent Rolled Plate.  For the next 50 years, this would be the company's major product..  In fact, by the 1860's, the firm was using this process to make one-third of all the glass made in England and employing up to 700 workers.  Jame's heirs lost but then regained control of the business in the 1890's, but the company was finally rolled up in 1915.  So, my glass cutter is at least a century old.

The story didn't end there, though. One son continued making coloured glass as Hartley, Wood & Co., which was eventually taken over by Pilkington's in 1982. (The British Pilkington company invented the Float Glass Process in the 1950's, a revolutionary method for producing flat glass by floating molten glass over a bath of liquid tin.) The original company continued under the Hartley, Wood name until 1997.  The National Glass Centre was built in 1998 in the interests of preserving the skills of these glass-makers, but went into bankruptcy only two years later.  In 2005, Pilkington was acquired by a Japanese company, NSG.

Man meets train on trestle

George Abdill; This was Railroading, Bonanza Books 1958
The source had no explanation why this man was facing off against the train.
 This spectacular wooden trestle was part of the Kettle Valley Railway of the CPR. Anyone have any estimates of quantity of wood used?

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Kodak Instamatic, 1966

Better Homes & Gardens, July 1966

Flash pictures without changing bulbs every time!  Just imagine!  Introduced in 1963, they kept improving it--see below.

The New Book of Knowledge Annual 1969.  Grolier Inc., 1969.

Chain repair pliers

These are stamped “J.N.M. & Co., Pat July 26-10 Re Aug 2-15, on one side, and “Necessity” on the other. 

They are J.N. MacDonald chain repair pliers.  In 1910, paved roads were few and far between, and tire chains were essential to navigate the much more common mud roads (see 1917 ad below). The inventor was listed as residing in Hartford, Connecticut, and the 1910 letters patent state that “This invention relates to an improved implement for repairing chains, such as the tire chains of automobiles and the like…and by the use of which links may be expanded and again closed as may be required.”

A later patent was assigned to James M. MacDonald of nearby Wethersfield, suggesting the possibility of a family-owned tool business.  


Saturday, June 24, 2017

Sidecar Sunday

Terrible thing to do to a Suzuki RG500!

Belsaw belt sander

Monte Burch.  Gun Care and Repair.  Winchester Press, 1978.
Nice little machine!

The Family Handyman, April 1985
The Belsaw company started in Kansas City, Missouri in the 1930's. In 1983, they merged with the Minneapolis, Minnesota-based Foley Manufacturing Company to become Foley-Belsaw.  The companies split apart some time later. Foley-United makes tool grinders. Belsaw today seems a shadow of its former self, but still makes molding pattern knives and supplies parts and manuals for the older machines.

Industrial Design, 1954

Cool cover for a trade magazine.

Friday, June 23, 2017

1957 Chevrolet 6400

1927 Miller race car

Images from Griffith Borgeson, The Golden Age of the American Racing Car, Bonanza Books 1966
In 1926, in an effort to slow cars down, the American Automobile Association spec'ed an engine size of 91 cu in (1.5 litre) capacity- down from 122. Miller refined his supercharged inline 8, installed it in both front and rear race cars and at Indianapolis in 1928, Leon Duray's car set a lap record of 124.02 mph that held for 9 years. A closed course record was set at the Packard test track of 148.2 mph and a speed of 164 mph was set at Lake Muroc, indicating an output of 285 hp at 8100 rpm. 
About fifty 91s were built before the rules changed again in 1929. 
 Cutaway drawing by Clarence LaTourette
 Transverse cross section
Leo Goossen was the designer and draftsman for Harry Miller. Here are his notes for cam timing.

Killingworth High Pit

The Manitoba Readers.  Fourth Reader.  Thomas Nelson & Sons.  Clark Bros. & Co., Ltd, Winnipeg, undated but c. 1898.

Situated in Newcastle, England, and long closed, this is where George Stephenson, the famous railway engineer, began his career.

Mystery Bracket

I've had this odd bracket kicking around for ages.  It's about 11-1/4" long, and the 4 holes are tapped 10-24.  A search for RW No 4 yields nothing.  The M-logo on it is interesting.  I'm thinking it might have come from a machine tool.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Vanished tool makers: Cooper & Sons Ltd., Sheffield, England

Above, a ratcheting screwdriver I found in a thrift store. Other than that the shank was bent and rusty and the ferrule a little crushed, it was in fine shape, and the ratchet selector works just as well as when it was first made.  It's now straightened up, cleaned up, oiled up and ready to be put back to work.  Below, the same tool in a 1939 advertisement:

There's not a whole lot of information about this company on the web.  They go back to at least the 1930's, producing tools at their "Fuluse Works":

Below, their name on a vintage rose bit in my collection:

Also, a hacksaw frame as a later offering from the firm:

Below, a 1951 ad:

Cooper & Sons also made razors under the Fuluse brand name at their Lockfast Works, also on Hermitage Street in Sheffield.  It was presumably for this product that the company was bought by the knife-making firm of Joseph Rogers & Sons in the mid-1960's.  The two firms were combined at a location at St. Mary's Gate. Through various mergers, Rogers itself was acquired by Richards, which filed for bankruptcy in 1985.   I expect that the tool-making business ended much sooner than this.

Fix Your Bike

A useful manual for maintaining and repairing bicycles, at least those manufactured up until the middle of the 1970's.  The person pictured on the cover is peculiarly androgynous. I can't find anything on the author, although the two people he mentions in his dedication were founders of the Rochester Bicycling Club.  I mailed the book off to my son to help him work on an old Raleigh Sprite a neighbour gave me.  I love the maxim: "Bikus Non Lubrium Bustibus."


J.H. Williams & Co wrench

An old but not uncommon tool, this 7/16- 3/8" open end wrench shows sculptural qualities you don't see in tools today.  The jaws appear to be intended for square head bolts.