Monday, May 21, 2018

Vincent Norton Special

From another blog, no source given
Beautiful, would that be a Com-ton (Comet Norton)?

Sunday, May 20, 2018

We used to make things in this country; #291 Marine engines, Schofield Holden Machine


Another disappeared Toronto company with little information online, the above ad is from 1909, indicating that they make marine engines, the ad below from 5 years later from a 1914 Popular Mechanics lists the company as an agent for Scripps marine engines. I've never heard of a Schofield Holden engine, I wonder if any exist.
In other news, the only other thing I could find was a record of a court case of the company vs the City of Toronto in 1913. This was about the time of the Ashbridges Bay redevelopment and was about water access for their boatbuilding business and the poor water quality near the new sewage treatment plant.

Sidecar Sunday


Saturday, May 19, 2018

RX7, Third generation



I absolutely loved this car when it came out, hard to believe that was 26 years ago. Looking at it now it does seem to be a bit blobby and shapeless and the similarities to the Miata are more apparent to me. The fact that Mazda is using a car of that age on their stand at the 2018 Toronto Auto Show might say something about the state of the auto industry today. 
Right next to it was their Cosmo, produced from 1967-72, still a good looking car. Only 1176 were produced.

Adirondack/Muskoka chair patent, 1937

Eric Baker Jane Martin, great inventions, good intentions, Chronicle Books, 1990

 Just in time for the May two four weekend! When I found this patent, I was surprised at the late date. Those chairs have been around forever, no? Apparently so, see here.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Norton twin cutaway drawing

Norton twin cutaway. The artist's name appears to be Walion, also no info to be found online.

Supermarine seaplane Lighter

Ellison Hawks, British Seaplanes triumph in the Schneider Trophy Contests, Real Photographs 1945

We Used To Make Things In This Country #290; Railway Lanterns, Hiram L. Piper Co. Ltd.

Guest post from Mic;
When walking across a farm at night, back in the 1980s, a flashlight was a fair choice to light your way. But a kerosene lantern was really the way to go as you could manage it with a known quantity of fuel, and a known length of wick. The mysteries of your flashlights battery and bulb life were a potential hindrance in comparison. In colder weather, it even provided a measure of warmth that a bulb could not match. I don’t know whatever became of the first flashlight I owned, but I still have the blue kerosene lantern my father gave me once I was old enough to be walking in the dark (and responsible enough to manage a combustible fuel device). After my father passed away, I inherited his kerosene lantern. I didn’t give it much thought until recently when I began to consider whether to give my blue lantern to my eldest daughter, and blow the dust off of dad’s oldie for myself. It turns out that dad’s lantern was far more interesting than mine!

Built by Hiram L. Piper Co. Ltd. in Montreal Canada, dad’s kerosene lantern actually started its life as a Canadian National Railways lantern (model 400). The base is stamped 2-58 so the production date would be during the second quarter of 1958. Only the metal components are Hiram L Piper made as the glass globe is stamped as being made in the USA. You can find quite a few varieties of these lanterns, other railroad and marine lighting implements, and various other non-ferrous metal based odds and ends produced by the company on Kijiji and eBay






Hiram L. Piper Co. Ltd. was a Canadian company that traces its roots all the way back to the 1840s. The tinsmith Mr. Hiram Piper produced weights and measures with recorded sales from 1842 (Toronto). In 1857, business operations were located at 83 Yonge St.Toronto, and the building has been restored with this history in mind.
His brother Noah, who had joined the business at some point along the way (it operated as Hiram Piper & Brother for a number of years) continued the family business after Hiram’s death (1866) and eventually changed the business name to Noah Piper and Sons. Of note is that Noah and Hiram had already been successful in producing marine and railway signal lamps by the mid 1850s. While Hiram had not produced sons in his family, Noah had three sons (Henry, Edward and Hiram). In 1902, the company was operating as Hiram L. Piper (presumably Noah has retired or passed away at this point and his son Hiram has taken over) and began large scale production of railroad lanterns. This expansion coincides with a move to production in MontrealQuebec. In 1909 the operation was located at 17 to 23 Rue Normand, and produced a variety of lanterns (including automotive) as well as other metal working services.  In the 1920s operations appear to have moved to 75 Rue St. Remi.


 The railroad lanterns produced were of the kerosene fuel variety originally, but in later years battery powered lamps were produced as well. A paper instruction pamphlet found to accompany some of the kerosene lanterns, however, identifies that Hiram L. Piper Co. Ltd. operates from KingstonOntario (operating address unknown, date of operations unknown). This may reflect a later move of operational headquarters. Most lanterns are stamped with an identifier “Adlake” which refers to the fact that the production is actually under license from a U.S. company called Adams and Westlake.





 Other goods produced by the company over the span of its operations appear to be non-ferrous metal based, and include railroad locomotive components (chimneys, burners, reflectors, etc), egg scales (produced at 555 rue St. Remi, Montreal), fish hatchery equipment, cans, paint trays, etc. In 1929, Canadian Railway and Marine World (vol. 32) reports that Hiram L. Piper, company president, died with his wife in a fire. During World War II, Hiram L. Piper Co. Ltd. is listed as having been a manufacturer of component parts for naval binnacles to be used on Allied ships. Information about company activities becomes scarce after the 1950s. The company is reported to be dissolved in 2013, with three of the four members of the board of directors being of the surname Piper and residing in KingstonOntario. The last listed address for the business, however, is in North BayOntario (8 Ferris Drive). Please post additional information or corrections if you have access to more than what I was able to find. Thanks.








 More weigh scale information here at the http://www.niagarahistorical.museum/ 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

David Rockola


Eric Baker Jane Martin, great inventions, good intentions, Chronicle Books, 1990

The jukebox owes much to Canadian-born David Rockola, who was born in Virden Manitoba in 1897. He was an inventor and entrepreneur who started working at the age of 14 and learned engineering in the oilfields in South America.  He first saw and installed a primitive fruit machine in the Chicago cigar store he was operating in 1919 and from that, in 1926 started building weighing machines and parking meter housings.
 After he lost money in the coin-operated amusement games business, he needed a scheme to repay creditors and so he convinced them to help him buy old jukebox patents and begin designing his own.
 Among the masterpieces that put him in competition with the two largest manufacturers, Wurlitzer and Seeburg, was the 1941 dial-a-song Spectravox (Des. 1 27,924), a wood-grained column with red neon bands and a deflector bowl over the speaker. It was connected to a separate record player, the Playmaster, which was usually kept out of sight behind the counter or bar.

Patent medicine tribulations, 1899

Gunagathon, sounds legit...