"I don't make hell for nobody. I'm only the instrument of a laughing providence. Sometimes I don't like it myself, but I couldn't help it if I was born smart."

1st Sgt. Milton Anthony Warden.
"From here to Eternity"

New Info

Yahoo, in their infinite wisdom, has made itself unusable for reliable e-mail.
New e-mail:
Of course I still check the Yahoo account. They just suck for the day-to-day stuff.

The Wisdom of the Ages

"When a young man, I read somewhere the following: God the Almighty said, 'All that is too complex is unnecessary, and it is simple that is needed',"

Mikhail Kalashnikov

How a Ford dealership got its inventory back in the day.

How a Ford dealership got its inventory back in the day.
"After studying a large scale photo of the truck and its cargo being shipped in knocked-down or partially assembled form, we have been able to determine just what was loaded on it. At least two Ford Model TT Truck and possibly three Model T Car chassis’ minus wheels are loaded vertically on the sides of the truck and on the bed in the center. Crates containing front and rear fenders are mounted on a rack above the cab and the front of the truck. In the middle between the stacked chassis’ can be seen the wheels and tires and other parts. The bed and the rack on the rear are carrying both roadster and touring car bodies. The photo dates from the 1919 to 1924 period".click the pic.
"Here lies the bravest soldier I've seen since my mirror got grease on it."

Zapp Brannigan

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Where the HELL have I been??!!

Ummm... Right here. Just lazy.
Lots of shit been goin' on, lot 'o water under the bridge/over the dam since last year.
Since this is just a loosening-up exercise - leading up my being a more regular Internet pain-in-the-ass - I'll not monopolize a lot of time on tales of my rehabilitation and get right to the many (Not very) things that's been the haps of late.
"I didn't do it!"

Anyway, first some silly shit that further reinforces my fervent belief that this country needs a draft:

One John B. Cavender reckons that the video-game generation may need a heads-up before they decide to put on the suit.
Let's just say; recruiters are lying liars and you could end up having some chick up in your grill - or worse - a fella with a tan better than yours.
Beware. His brother was in and clued him up. For armed is almost as good as having forearms, maybe better.
He's only got one comment (???) so give the brother some love. he's only trying to help.

See also - It's old but can never be read enough -You can go strangle yourself with that yellow ribbon, or, here is what I want you to do instead of shaking my hand

 Whew... this has been tiring.
Me for some beer and fucking-off.

By the way, the file-based, woolly-bear inspired V-42 pictured above was built by my friend/protege/brother/partner/competitor, Donkey.
The bastard.

Go there...

Monday, December 01, 2014

Double Your Pleasure!

Double your fun!
Being a brief foray into the post-war netherworld of large truck payloads, under-powered gasoline engines vs expensive diesels - and the innovations that sprang from this odd situation.
The proud specimen above is the only example ever made of the Eisenhauer Freighter. Other pics of it exist with different (other than cattle truck) bodies but, alas all of them were Photoshopped by means of some 1940's-era, photo-bogusizing system.
Thanks to same system, you can see that the unit could also rock a tank bed.

Where to begin.
My odd obsession with the stone-age simplicity and attendant reliability of straight-six engines has been made evident already. One in particular is a fave.
Chevy 235: Winner of the North Africa, Fuel-Stamina Derby during WW2 - and the engine that safely transported me from third grade up through high-school at which time it served admirably as I bashed it around in the woods like I did with my Dad's pickup - only in a '63 Biscayne wagon.
Not this one. Ours was beige.
But, back to the big beast at the top: You've probably noticed that it had five axles. The front two steered while the first and the third of the rear axles were driven. The rearmost axle also swung free on curves but could be locked in place for backing up.
Fact is: All this under-carriage was necessary just to support the awesomeness of the mill(s) that motivated the unit.
It was two (yes, two) of the afore-mentioned, 235 CID, one-hundred-and-forty-horsepower, bad boys; one mounted just behind and above the other.
And that's what made it go down the road. The front engine drove the first of the three rear axles while the rearward engine drove the last. Each could run separately as well.
The two seemingly extra axles increased load capacity and smoothed out the ride so they said.
Methinks though, the Armstrong Power Steering (TM) needed to nudge those four big wheels around might be why the idea didn't take off.

Here's a thought!
Rather than trying to shoehorn two complete engines into one truck, just shoehorn said engines into one... engine.
This monster roamed the earth powering some of GMC's big trucks in the sixties as a last ditch holdout against diesel. Although a limited number were made, around five thousand, they still enjoy a following. They're still being restored, sold and presumably used. $10,500 at the low end.
This is the GMC 702 V-Twin.
Same general idea as the Eisenhauer above (and others - by the way) but with the two engines all rolled into one.
This was two GMC 351 cid V-6's cast into one block. Folks say that it's two V-6's welded together but; what idiot thinks you can weld cast iron?
“The block is one-piece with over sized bore spacing for improved cooling, and it’s equipped with seven main bearings... It also has a one-piece, hardened forged-steel crankshaft that weighs 180 pounds.”
So, a single block and a single crank but with two distributors running off one drive, four heads and valve covers and lots of inter-changeability with the 351 engine.
That means that each of the fifty-six head bolts needed here were exactly the same as those used on other GMC engines of rational proportions.
In fact, sixty, major parts in all were inter-changeable.  But not the oil pan, it was unique: It ran the full length of the block and held four gallons.

This one's for sale.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

What do you make of this?
Tactical Beard Owner's Club .
Beard renters may apply elsewhere. Thank you.
Actual photo, of actual beard-owner, from actual FB page and I am totally NOT making this up.

What's interesting, strictly for me, is that within twenty minutes of receiving intel re TBOC (Yes, they have an acronym - and why not?)... I found this nugget on Cracked.com (an institution long known for hard-hitting, in-depth journalism):
"4 Ways to Spot an Internet Bullshit Artist".
Okay, just to clear the air: the gentleman pictured above is not the one being referred to here as "An Internet Bullshit Artist". He's just a sad dork with some admirable chin-whiskers but not much in the cookie-dusting department. Good effort though.
Full disclosure: I found this great Internet resource via the Face Book page of a certain poser of some renown but alas, No credit to him.
Back to the TBOC: On their website - and yes they do have one - they'll allow you to apply for membership - only I've just discovered the place and that situation may be a bit shaky. Sorry if I've gotten the hopes up for some of you Tactically-Bearded outcasts, desperately seeking a home but it looks like the standards are pretty high.
I'd say... jerk-off a lot 'cause that helps push those whiskers out (good for the old prostate as well!) and, what the hell, it kills time.
But, as it stands now, I can't make the grade since all I've got is the upper-lip thing going on but maybe I can be grandfathered in based on this:

Or this:
It's a long shot so, probably not.
So what? I wouldn't belong to a club that would have me as a member.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Priority Cargo

Remember this guy? Stupid question; we saw the same pic a few weeks back.
The poor SOB, out in the cold but soldiering on, making sure the product got through in a timely manner.
But, what of the product - what item could have been so necessary to survival in wintertime Wisconsin that this guy had to leave his X-Box to go out and and deliver this load... in the dead of winter?
Based on the shadows, he's driving into the sun either in the morning or late afternoon. Hope it's morning. I wouldn't want to have to pilot the empty Nash back home through this snow especially given the headlight setup that the truck almost certainly ran with.
Which brings us to our mystery cargo: Bicycle lamps.
Like this one. It turns out; I've got one of these banging around the house somewhere. I recalled it while I was spouting off about the hapless lad's cargo earlier but it didn't register 'till later.
Anyway, it's not like buried treasure or anything, just a cool thing from back in the day.
First off; this is a big unit. This thing, which was meant to be clamped onto the handlebar with a handy clip and wing nut, stood taller than a 16 oz. can of your favorite frosty beverage and probably weighed about the same - once it had been fueled up for a night's cycling with sufficient calcium carbide and water.
This was a serious piece of engineering and cool in the extreme, partially due to the faceted lenses on each side which glow red on the left hand side and green on the right just like naval running lights.
What this was/is is a carbide lamp, a simple (very simple) acetylene gas generator.
The bulge you see on the right side in the above photo is the water tank. The other ingredient needed was a powder, put into the bottom compartment.
Calcium carbide is a compound that degrades into acetylene gas when in contact with water.
Pretty simple, a valve controls the flow of the drip of water onto the pile of  CaC2 and, hey presto! Acetylene gas.
They used to generate the gas for welding as well - on the spot.
Acetylene is unstable and, even now, welding tanks are filled with a porous... foam for lack of a better word - just to keep it calmed down.
The sailor at work here is gas-welding - with sources for both gases conveniently out of the picture. Welding shop, USS Prometheus, AR-3, circa 1919.
I'm guessing he's using the same, low-level technology but we won't disturb him to ask.

However, roughly concurrent to the intent welder, we find the above pictured:  Ford model TT truck.
That thing on the running board, just behind the driver's seat - looks like a thermos - that's the gas generator.

The lamps we were talking about initially, "the cargo" were manufactured by the Badger Brass Manufacturing Co. of Kenosha.
At the time of our urgent delivery - 1917 - the company employed 200 people with annual sales near $1 million on an annual production of 100,000 cycle/bicycle and 400,000 auto lamps... Shipments of lamps were also sent to England, Russia, Norway, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, India, Australia, New Zealand, Cuba and the West Indies.
Anyway, back to the poor driver and our wish for him to have been heading out in the frosty morning - pissed-off 'cause the sun's in his eyes. Plus, some dick is there with a camera.
As fucked as his situation may have been vis-a-vis "getting stuck" - which is to say: probably not much - I would think that it could compare to the difficulties inherent in keeping a tank of water dripping when it the temperature is below freezing.
It's not like he had a heater - or a cab and it'd be hard to navigate if you're having to cuddle the gas generator all the way home just to keep the lights on.
Maybe that's why we don't use acetylene lamps anymore.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

"One-Hundred Percent Traction!"

Interpretations of the legend painted on the bumper are welcome.

This doesn't look good.
What I can gather from this photo, when held up to my extensive experience in the construction trades along with my most-perfect knowledge of "fucking-up-at-work"  and the look worn by one recently having done so is this: Hawkeye Lumber and Coal Co's delivery guy has dropped the ass-end of one of the company rigs right into the top of a buried cistern or cesspool and is now waiting for someone else from Hawkeye to come pull him out - along with his, yet to be unloaded, delivery. I can see it now. "I'll just back up onto this bit of ground here so I can get turned around... "
But, based on the source material, the home office may have had another rig that could come to the rescue.
It seems the Hawkeye Lumber and Coal Co. ran Nash Quads (Likely Great War surplus) so I'm sure this hapless putz  was pulled out and on his way in no time. He likely went on to off-load his lumber and head back to the shop; no doubt eagerly anticipating being reminded of this at every company function for the rest of his tenure at Hawkeye.
He may have been thinking about a career move as he sat there.
The reason I bring this picture around is that it provides a nice view of the ring-and-internal-gear drive that was utilized by the Jeffry Quad (Later Nash) and Walter trucks.
You may recall that, in adddition to those others, the under-appreciated star of this post was likewise powered.
As you can see above, the Nash has a differential/transfer case mounted above the front axle - and one over the rear one as well.
Each of these drives a pair of shafts; each of which ends with a spur-gear which in turn drives the wheel via an internally-toothed gear around the circumference of the rim.

Like this helpful drawing which has gone so far as to illustrate where the pistons and crankshaft fit into this whole scheme - in case anyone was unclear on that.
But, this is a Walter drive-train. The same thing only different but that's who I'm leading up to anyway so...
Start with some back story: From here

"William Walter, a Swiss immigrant, came to the U.S.A. in 1883 and established himself as a manufacturer of candy and confectionery machinery. He built himself a passenger car in 1898 and from 1904 to 1909 made high­quality cars, at first in New York City and later at Trenton, N.J. Truck production began in 1909 a t the New York factory on West 66th Street, and in 1911 the first 4-wheel­drive trucks appeared, which were to become the staple product of the company. Based on the French Latil and of similar appearance with radiator behind engine, they were made in sizes from 1 ½ to 7 tons. Conventional rear wheel drive and also front wheel drive trucks were also made, all with internal gear drive to the wheels..."

She's a bit pricey but check out the color options!
I don't recall the vintage of the above advert but, based on a tentative date of 1915, our friends at the Inflation Calculator figure that, in today's bucks, the modest six-ton listed would be close to $140,000.
They weren't giving them away but I doubt you could get a six-ton 4X4 nowadays for any less.
I don't even know where you'd ask.
 The Walter trucks had an edge in the traction business that the others hadn't.
"100% Traction" and "Four-Point, Positive Drive". They weren't just slogans.
Sounds right gimmicky, don't it?
This next advertises the "Walter Snowfighter" circa 1932.
Now, the Quad had fore-and-aft, locking differentials - and four-wheel steering available as an option.
1959 Walter. The "V" of that plow is six-feet high at the front.
 Even so, the hapless Hawkeye employee in the top photo was stuck.
Even if he'd had a Walter his shit was ragged. His frame was on the ground. He could spin all four wheels all day long and all he'd be doing is throwing dirt around and even that wouldn't last long.
But we can't leave it at that with the Nash.
This next Nash is hardly an incompetent rig.
It's right in the shit, doin' the duty, carryin' the freight; making sure those "Solar Lamps" (TM) and products of the Badger Brass Co. get to wherever they were needed on this snowy-ass day.
Very pretty scene although the driver seems to be missing the aesthetics.
Blind to joy I guess. Sourpuss.
Back on topic; if you'll go back to the rather garish Walter ad above, in the text, you'll read: "Automatic Locking Differential".
What the hell was that?
The same '59.
 A digression: The secret was: The worm-drive.
A worm-and-gear is a very cool thing in that, depending on the pitch of the screw on the "worm", it has the option of allowing the transmission of power in only one direction.

Sub-digression: The sole advantage that worm-drive Skilsaws offer is this: When sawing nasty, unpredictable material - like reinforced concrete, any shock the blade happens to run across is stopped at the worm and therefore isn't passed-on to the motor bearings.
Makita's "Hypoid Saw" ("Lighter, no nasty gear-oil!") doesn't have a worm and gear so... if you have one of these all you've done is that you've bought yourself a heavy saw with the blade on the wrong side.
Sorry. Sore-headed rant from a carpentering geezer who's sick to death of the hype surrounding the "Worm-drive Skilsaw" and its dragon-slaying capabilities.
Another in a succession of Walter Snowfighter porn.

 Back - again - to the topic at hand.
The Jeffry/Nash above had locking differentials  fore-and-aft which are way cool. Therefore it should have been able to get itself out of most difficulties it was likely to run across.
Problem: You've got no steering when the differentials are locked. Straight-ahead is the only way you go.
 Off-road racers and drift cars will have welded differentials but that's only because they're able to get enough speed to drift through turns. Hard to pull off with a five-ton truck.

1920's NYC Department of keeping horseshit wind-rowed until it can be picked up - oh, and snow in the winter. Front and belly-mounted grader blades.

The Nash could get itself unstuck as well as any but - unsticking accomplished - it was going to be moving in a straight line until those axles were unlocked.
Walter's sloganeering wasn't bullshit by any means - except for that "Speed" part of the "Traction, Power, Speed" line. These top-ended at around thirty-five.
Now for the secret: If you understand how a differential works, congratulations. I have to relearn it constantly.
If you need a refresher,  here's a cool video that spells it out clearly - with Tinkertoys! You'll have to just power through the first couple minutes. It really isn't just about motorcycle... ballet or whatever they call it.
What Walter did was to substitute worm-gears for spider-gears which, through some pitch-of-the-helix voodoo, resulted in a truck where all four wheels were powered no matter what and traction and power remained constant no matter what sort of grip each wheel could manage.
Short version: Take a "four-point-positive-drive" Walter. Then jack it up so that all but one wheel is off the ground.
All the plow-related stuff spoils the look, don't you think?

if you then put it in gear, that one wheel will pull the whole truck off the jacks, stands - whatever.
It's beyond my pathetic ken to understand but the Walter, positive-drive system is with us still in the aftermarket drive train products offered by R.T. Quaife Engineering, Ltd. of Britain.
Anyway, as you may have gathered, the niche the Walter Motor Truck Co. ended up occupying - at least in the New England area was snowplow trucks.
I grew up in Montana and so I thought we'd invented winter.
Back home, a big snowplow would be the same county, five-ton dump that they'd use to haul crushed-rock fill potholes and other dump-truck type activities during the summer. And they were, largely equal to the task.
Upstate New York is a whole 'nother kettle of fish I gather.
Likewise Wisconsin.
Above the Mid-West take on the problem, a rotary plow from the Winther Company of Kenosha.
The badass rig pictured: Its snout sported a giant Waukesha, straight-six engine of around 1000 cubic-inch displacement... and it just powered the blower.
This massive powerplant was only detailed to chew up snow - and toss it to the side.
To move it around,this thing ran some sort of conventional truck engine.
That engine is located at the other end and, if you squint your eyes just right, this thing looks like it was a giant snow-blower grafted onto the ass-end of a 4X4 truck - with spiked wheels.
That's about what it was. Of course all the controls and drive elements were turned around. A rear-engine Mad-Max-mobile.
Now, I'll randomly salt some Snowfighter porn which can be found... around. Randomly.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Red Follows Black. A Sad But Expected Day.

The formation held upon initial knowledge of the long-anticipated-but-dreaded-nonethesame, retirement:
Of my 3/8" drill.
Sad, very sad.
Above we see my Sioux 8000, purchased twenty-years ago last winter - being followed at a respectful distance by its successor.
Regarding the black beauty above, today, its Daddy (I apologize in advance to any FaceBook pet geeks. No disrespect meant), which would be me, noticed a sad wobble in the chuck of his tired old soldier.
In the rear: a veteran but still ready to step into the breach. Thank God!
The Milwaukee was there to fill the gap simply because I bought it to fill-in for the Sioux when,after her initial, six hard years she was laid-up.
At one point prior she spent ten days of an Oregon February, exposed to the elements - and on a plastic-lined table with a raised edge at that. When I got back to the job to recover my submarine, all I did was take apart the two plastic, clamshells that make up the case of it and, after shaking out the water, put both chunks on the dash of the pickup, facing the sun. I drove home with those halves still there and ran the defrost full-blast.
In the morning, a WD-40 shower and some grease in the proper places and she was back in the game.
For several years. Then her switch gave out in the middle of hanging gutters on a job with more money available than time so, I took her to the doctor and told them that, while they're fixing it, they should replace that piece of rebar that Sioux had seen fit to use as a cord.
In the meantime, I bought the only equivalent in town, a Milwaukee that was identical in every respect but for that being-red thing. That and a nice, long, rubber cord.
Anyway, back in the day, the Milwaukee was the same drill as the Sioux.
Now-a-days, looks like their latest offering .
The Sioux 8000's last company ID photo.
just might be shit.
And I don't mean "The shit".
My Milwaukee kicked as much ass as the Sioux had.  It's just that the mechanism was newer and stiffer and... I am crazy.
And it was (Is) red!
Anyway, when the black one was released from the hospital (With an eight-foot rubber cord! installed), I/everyone forgot all about the little red drill 'cause...since she was here first...
The Sioux got the glory and well-deserved it was while the Milwaukee languished.
It was used briefly by a helper who found the drywall screw-gun to be fast and intimidating so rather than using the depth-setting, drywall screw-gun... thing, he used the Milwaukee to gently dimple-in the screws while he was screwing-off drywall.
Anyway, it resulted in a dead switch for the little red guy. Switches seem to be a weak point.
The tool guy said that it and the Sioux are identical - but that Sioux parts cost more.

Now the Milwaukee's back and glad I am of it.
This is the best designed 3/8" VSR drill I've ever used. I love it. and I'd hate to have to get used to something inferior.
In closing, it's worth noting that, although the new Milwaukee version may blow, Sioux still makes theirs and it looks very similar to the old one but I'll bet it's got some gross squishy rubber bits.
But - it's available at a bargain basement price.
Just for yuks, here's the new-and-improved Milwaukee.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

"Rollin' Coal" With The Poles

I want to assure everyone; there is no "Polack joke" forthcoming. We'll get to the countrymen of Copernicus, Joseph Conrad and others soon enough.
Homegrown stupidity is the first order of the day.
"Rolling coal" is the most recent iteration of the testosterone tantrum of the toddler demographic that feel it needs a 3/4 ton, short-bed, lifted pickup... with a boss diesel!
Their need is real.
Their masculinity is under such threat during the daily run from Mom's house to their shit-job, busting tires at the truck stop...
That... every now and then, ya just gotta roll coal on some dumbass, Prius pussy.
There are some of these morons in my world
Check it.
Oh, and enjoy the spelling.

Stupidity break concluded. We will be revisiting the fuel issue though.
My brainwave: Hemp-oil fueled, diesel-electrics.

Come in... see.
Chevy had to work hard peddling trucks in the '30's. The economy was in the toilet and most of GM's big-truck business was being hogged by Chevy's in-house competitor and older brother in the truck game, GMC.
Not to worry, General Motors had fingers in a lot of pies. In the late thirties they made a deal with Lilpop, Rau and Loewnstein, a long-established, Warsaw manufacturer of rail-cars, to produce - under license - both Chevy trucks and the very upscale Buick 90, in Poland.
Then bad things happened. Adolf and Joe, charter-members of the Silly Moustache Club, decided that they could haggle over which part of Poland they would each receive during the upcoming readjustment of Europe's borders and, whatever the result, the Poles would just have to... handle it.
And handle it they did. Even though Poland was overrun in the very opening of WW2, the people of Poland operated the largest underground resistance movement in occupied Europe - from day-one right up to the end of the war - which is where Kubus came in.
Late summer 1944; the Soviet army was nearing the outskirts of Warsaw so the Polish Home Army thought to help the situation along - make it easier for Joe Stalin's boys when they arrived - and to lay some prior claim on their city before the Russians started measuring for new drapes.
This effort manifested itself in the two-month-long, ultimately futile bloodbath known as the Warsaw Uprising; not to be confused with the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising which took place the year before.
Then, after the PHA was fully committed, the Russians decided to sit on their hands rather than enter the city. Meanwhile Roosevelt bailed on providing support despite Churchill's pleading.
The 20,000 to 40,000 strong Home Army slugged it out with the German occupiers for 63 days before finally calling it quits. I realize I've painted the uprising in very broad strokes. That's because this is about the hardware, one specific piece in particular.
Kubus was banged together in thirteen days in the auto-repair shop of one Stanisław Kwiatkowski.
The starting point comprised a ton-and-a-half Chevy 157 (The wheelbase in inches) which had been converted to wood gas. Armor, in the form of chunks taken off captured German vehicles or just what was around, rounded her out.
You can read about the ad-hoc armored-car here and well you should.

At this point, all I can add to the saga of Kubus, apart from my admiration at the sheer audacity of it, is that they maintained the Chevy grill look.
See, if all they wanted was airflow through the radiator, any sort of opening would have done.
I'd have cut dragon's teeth into the grill. That would look badass.
Those classy Poles instead gave tribute to the donor vehicle and gave Kubus a '38 Chevy grill.
Gotta love them.

Which brings me to the final bit - and the title.
Kubus, the little-metal-shop-project-who-could was powered by wood.
Probably charcoal in the case of Kubus. Charcoal = less efficient use of fuel but a smaller gas generator on-board.
This is how depression-era/wartime Europe along with most of the third-world dealt with "fuel uncertainty". The third world is still doing it.
I've thought the wood-gas concept was cool since the first time I heard about it.
Now I've come to think that: as a fall-back position for a society suddenly cut-off from the petro-tit, it is easy and cheap and altogether the shit but... slightly underpowered.
Seems that wood-gas - bitchin' as it is - only packs about 85 % of the energy punch provided by good old gasoline.
Still, wood grows out of the ground while the  petro-chems; not really.
For the record, Kubus was only one of hundreds, if not thousands of vehicles that motored on through various fuel vagaries with this butt-simple scheme on-board.
Okay, waxing eco-maniacal.
Closing with this art work I recently acquired courtesy of our old friend George Hill.
We see: Saint Reagan driving a lifted (I assume 4X4. The photo is indistinct) Ford Mustang with a Pabst Blue Ribbon paint-job, superchargers upon superchargers and the only vanity plate one would expect on such a patriot-mobile.
What's more, the front-end must be tight on this rig.
Check it out.
Ron's using his right hand to fire at the evildoers (Through a hole in the windshield; likely caused by some hippy throwing a concrete-filled condom. They (I) totally do that.) while his left is just hangin' on the window ledge like...
ain't no thang.
That's a president.

Locations of visitors to this page