Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Didn't take them long....

The American Heritage History of Flight, Simon and Shuster 1962
During the First Balkan war in 1912-13 Bulgarian aviators dropped small bombs over Turkish-held Adrianopole (Edirne, Turkey). 
In 1911, the first wartime reconnaissance flight was made by Italian flyers in the Tripolitatian War. Keep in mind it was only in 1909 was the English channel crossed for the first time.

Business end of a coast-defense gun, 1945

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.

We are the Borg.  Resistance is futile!

Vanished Tool Makers: Record Tools, England

Above, my Record No. 044 plough plane made from 1934 to 1970.  A little the worse for wear, but still good.  I've uploaded a 2-page instruction sheet for it here.

Below, the company's planes as offered in a 1990 catalogue:

Below, from the Record Tools Hand Tool Catalogue No. HT90.  

Now one machine did the work that previously required twenty.

Below, their warranty back in the day.  Humourous copy!

The catalogue lists Record Tools Inc. at 1915 Clements Road in Pickering, Ontario.  Gone now.

See my previous post on Marples.  That firm, along with William Ridgway, traded as Record Tools but was bought in 1998 by Irwin, the American conglomerate which closed the Parkway factory in Sheffield in 2003/2004 and moved production to China.  To see the abandoned Parkway factory site as it was in 2013, visit Derelict Places.

In 2016, Stanley Black & Decker bought Irwin from Newell Rubbermaid.  Newell Rubbermaid are the same folks that shuttered the original Vicegrips factory in Dewitt, Nebraska and took production of that quintessentially American tool to China as well.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Old time dealer experiences, Rocky's

photo by Fred
Fred Beddington recalls,

Photo is of Brian Beddington on his C&J XR,  Charlie Chapple of Michigan following on his XR, Western Fair, 74-75 ? Brian managed the fastest time trial at the fairgrounds that day. The then owner of Rocky's Cycle came down into the pits, asked why we didn't come to him for some sponsorship ? I replied, We'd be lucky to get spark plugs and a T shirt in this town ! He took his T shirt off, gave it to us and said, "Come and see me!" Ha Ha! He bought Brian a beautiful set of leathers ! Rockys HD, which I still have. He was good to us.

photo unknown
All the shops in those days were great places to visit, I miss them. As you can see, variety of products. The fella on the right end Lloyd, was the Harley mechanic. A nice quiet man, remained a Bachelor all his life, worked at Rocky's most of his life, now buried in a small gravesite not far from Komoka.

stacked tracks

Turn of the last century. Everyone was proud of their trains and their trestles.

Vanished Tool Brands: "Signal", Sheffield, England

Above, an economy hacksaw I recently acquired.  "Signal" was one of the brands of Cooper and Sons.

Good Reads: An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth

Published in 2013, this is a phenomenally wise and inspiring book from one of Canada's preeminent  astronauts.

If you haven't seen the incredible video of the song I.S.S. played with the Barenaked Ladies and the Wexford Gleeks, click here:

For all of his incredible accomplishments, he retains the common touch for others and the sense of wonder about our species and its place on this amazing planet.  He takes the many lessons he learned in preparing for and executing space missions, and applies them to challenges of our daily lives.  I can't recommend this book highly enough.  It's helped me so much in my own ongoing battle with cancer.

For visitors familiar with my own rants on this blog about thoughtless roadside litter, I found his comments below particularly supportive.  Thanks, Chris, so very much.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Rube Goldberg & Professor Lucifer Gorganzolla Butts, A.K.

For the origins of the professor, click here.

Remembering Firth Motorcycles, Toronto

I used to take the subway frequently to Firth's (at the Coxwell station) to get parts initially for my 1967 Royal Enfield Interceptor and, after 1976, when I bought my 1974 Commando.  Harry Firth was quite the character.   (He once told me, a wet-behind-the-years teenager, "Royal Enfield!  Best bank in the world!  You're always putting money into it!").  Harry was actually issued a U.S. patent for a "combined tail light and end piece" in 1948:

Towards the end of his business days, Harry complained that Norton was shipping him incomplete motorcycles in crates, which would be missing a saddle or some other essential part, but include a snarky note in its place. He basically told me that these stupid actions were killing the Norton company, because he couldn't sell a bike in that condition. (To see some of these clowns, visit my previous post.  Today, what's left of them probably sit around in grimy pubs complaining of the loss of their glory days, and blaming it all on someone else.)

I remember that you had to go up a steep flight of wooden stairs to get to the parts counter upstairs, where a gorilla of a guy named Ron greeted you gruffly and with little enthusiasm.  After Harry retired, I'd heard Ron and Harry's daughter Lois (?) bought him out and renamed it "Loron Motorcycles." 

When they answered the phone, it always sounded like "Moron Motorcycles."  I said as much, and I don't think they appreciated the feedback.

To see some more photos of Firth Motorcycles, visit Moto Code.

Anyway, I was cleaning out some old file folders recently and discovered I'd actually kept a 1978 Firth catalogue!  Below, for your edification and enjoyment from that time machine:

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Unlikely survivor, Chysler K car

Looking at this characterless anemic little wheezer, its hard to believe that it changed Chrysler's fortunes. This one is nearly perfect 35 years later, interior as new and only a bit of rusted rocker panels, something that usually manifested itself after a year or two of use. And hey! Its available!