Thursday, October 19, 2017

Bultaco TSS

1966 6 speed

British American Gas Station

British American Gasoline company formed in 1906, building its first refinery in 1908 on the eastern waterfront in Toronto, sold to Gulf Oil in 1966. This preserved non-operating station is located in Newtonville, Ontario.

Mill girls at work

W.G.V. Balchin (Consultant Editor).  The Country Life Book of the Living History of England
Country Life Books, 1981.

Sharing pictures before Instagram: Polacolor Print Mount

The instructions leave a lot to be desired.  For the story, go to Polaroidland.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Pullman Standard and the New Haven Railroad

Ran when parked...

Project bike at the Milton Swap Meet September 2017

Warner 490 razor blade holder

Above, a tool made to hold safety razors.

U.S. Patent 3,996,665 was issued to Douglas B. Malchow of Minneapolis in 1976 and assigned to the Warner Manufacturing Company of the same city.  Founded in 1926 the company is still around, now apparently out of nearby Plymouth.  A handy way to use old razor blades that had become too dull to shave with, but still sharp enough for shop use. The tool is still available, with prices ranging from $1.98 to $34.33.  Seriously, there's this much variation on the marketplace.  Why?

I thought safety razors had all but disappeared in favour of disposable multi-bade ones.  Turns out, they're enjoying something of a comeback.  See, for example, the Rockwell safety razor, which began with a Kickstarter in 2014.  They sell their razor blades for 10 cents each!

The Common Tools and How to Use Them, 1950's

Above, from The Splendid Book for Boys. (London & Glasgow: Collins. c. 1950's.)  Targeted at British children and adolescents, this article explained how to use a variety of common tools including Warrington hammers, tenon saws, "steel smoother" planes, scribing gouges, pin bits and "Washita" oilstones (which should be treated with olive oil, or a mixture of olive and paraffin).  I've uploaded the entire 10-page article here.

Enlist now!


In 1947, The Dictaphone company replaced the wax cylinder storage media they had used since Alexander Graham Bell started the company. They introduced a new mechanically etched Lexan belt named Dictabelt which was much more permanent. IBM introduced magnetic tape in the early fifties and the Dictaphone company used it alongside their mechanical system.
 Somewhat surprisingly, the company is still around today recording in the medical and legal fields, presumably without the wax cylinders...

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Supercar, 1962

The illustrator, Mel Crawford, was born in Toronto in 1925.  He was a graduate of the Ontario College of Art, Mister G's alma mater.  Among his many art jobs, Crawford painted Howdy Doody, Rootie Kazootie, Yogi Bear, the Flintstones, Twinkles The Elephant, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Scrooge McDuck, Tom & Jerry, and Gerald McBoing Boing.  He passed away in 2015.

Polaroid Land Camera

From the manual for a Polaroid 230 Land Camera.  The Land camera was made from 1947 to 1983. To develop the film, you had to separate the dry print from the wet negative.  The manual urges, "Avoid contact with the chemicals left on the negative after the print is removed.  Fold up the negative with the moist side in.  Please put it in a wastebasket or film box.  Don't be a litterbug!"  I can still remember visiting my parents' cottage to discover that someone with a Land camera had been taken with the view from the dock, and had snapped some photographs, leaving behind the messy emulsion sheets on the shoreline.  That's heavy irony:  the person was sensitive enough to appreciate a beautiful view, but not sensitive enough to keep from despoiling it.

Below, using the Cold-Clip--finally, a technical use for the armpit!

Celebrating the opening of the St.Lawrence Canal

Alexander Ross, The Booming Fifties, Canada's Illustrated Heritage, 1977

1954 Aero Willys

I'm not sure why this is promoted as a Canadian car, as far as I can tell, they were built in Toledo. This was the second last year for the Aero, in all about 95,000 were built.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Aviatrix, 1925

Emilie Loring.  A Certain Crossroad.  Grosset & Dunlap, 1925.

Emilie Loring was a prolific writer of romances and not really a feminist.  So, this cover is surprising for the time it was published:  a woman aviator!  

We used to make things in this country. #275: I.C Line (Index Card Company Ltd.), Toronto, Ontario

I'm a sucker for metal boxes.  I pick them up whenever I find them, because they're so useful for protective storage of small tools, and they're mouse-proof!  Recently, I found this index card box.  Nicely made with a very fine piano hinge.  Pop rivet a box latch on the front, and it will become an excellent tool box.

For some reason, the cards came with organizers bearing the months of the year.  I don't know what purpose this was intended to serve, as usually such cards are organized alphabetically or by subject.  

Located as 2652 St. Claire Avenue, the Index Card Company of Canada was a going concern by 1951, at which point it was listed as having more than 50 employees.  It's trademark wasn't filed until 1965.  It was acquired by Esselte Pendaflex at some point, probably in the 1980's when that corporation was in full acquisition mode.  ("Pendaflex" was the first hanging file folder, created by that U.S. company in the late 1930's.  The firm is now just Pendaflex.)

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Supermarine Stanraer

Larry Milberry, Aviation in Canada, McGraw-Hill Ryerson 1979
Canadian Vickers built 40 of a total of 57 examples of the Supermarine Stranraer flying boat for the RCAF. They served on both coasts in coastal antisubmarine patrols and were retired in 1946. Several were sold to private operators and used in airline service into the sixties. 
Only one remains, in the RAF museum at Hendon.


D.S. Halacy, Jr. Illustrated by Al Andersen and Robert D. Smith.  Ripcord. 
Whitman Publishing Co., 1962.

The TV show Ripcord aired between 1961 and 1962 for a total of 76 episodes.  

Opening Narration:

"This is the most danger-packed show on television. Every jump, every aerial maneuver is real, photographed just as it happened, without tricks or illusions. All that stands between a jumper and death is his RIPCORD." 

You can see an introduction to the show and unreleased pilot on youtube.

A toy parachutist based on the TV series was sold in stores.  It had a plastic parachute and you tossed it into the air.   I seem to remember having one. 

For more fascinating information about the show and the stuntmen involved, go to  

Mead Cycle Company "Ranger", 1912

I found this ad on one of the back pages of an old boys' flying adventure book from 1912.  Some book publishers used to sell advertising space in their books.

Apparently, the Mead Cycle Company was actually a British company out of Coventry and Birmingham, with an office in Liverpool.    They also made motorcycles.  The company disappeared in the mid-1920's.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Sidecar Sunday

Davenport swap meet, 2017

Koh-i-Noor Acetograph Technical Fountain Pen

Koh-i-Noor Hardtmuth was founded in by Joseph Hardtmuth Austria in 1790!  In 1802, he patented his process for blending clay, graphite power, soot and an organize binder to create the first pencil lead. In 1848, the business relocated to what is now the Czech Republic.  It expanded to the U.S. in 1890, with a branch in Bloomsbury, New Jersey.  In 1899, the company took its current name, inspired by the famous Koh-i-Noor diamond (Persian for "Mountain of Light") which was the largest diamond in the world at the time, and part of the British Crown Jewels.  The company was taken over by the state following WWII, but returned to private hands in 1992.  In 1999, it was acquired by Massachusetts-based Chartpak, Inc.

Distracted Rocketeering

The Splendid Book for Boys.  London & Glasgow: Collins, c. 1950's.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Standard Vanguard

1955-57 model seen in east side Toronto. An unusual, and I would suspect not particularly valuable find.

Chrysler Sales Corporation, 1925

DAIE wrenches

I recently stumbled across this oddball metric wrench.  I can't find any online references to this company, which I suspect is Japanese.

We used to make things in this country. #274: Northern Tool & Gauge Ltd., Ottawa, Ontario

Above, a 16mm school film projector that was being thrown out some years ago.  I rescued it at the time, and recently donated it to the Frontenac County Schools Museum in Kingston.  

There's very little information on the Northern Tool & Gauge Ltd., other than a remark that its lathes were dedicated to war work during World War II.  I don't know if projectors were their sole product, although you wouldn't think so from the company name. It's also interesting that the company's location is given as Eastview (Ottawa).  The Ottawa neighbourhood of Eastview was renamed Vanier in 1969.

There is a sticker on the projector that reads "Crawley Films Limited, Ottawa":

Frank Radford "Budge" Crawley has been described as "Canada's answer to Sam Goldwyn."  Who knew?  The company he founded lasted from 1939 to 1982.  In 1980, Crawley was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.