Thursday, October 20, 2016

Three-Wheeler Thursday 10/20/16

Original Steampunks Kim Oman, Frank Baumgartner, and camera-shy Andrew Kozinsky build a car, and the Associated Press sends out a wire-story that was eventually picked up by Popular Science magazine.

From the June, 1940 issue of Popular Sciencemagazine

But the lads had been steaming for some time before Popular Science went to press, as various newspapers ran with the AP copy well in advance of the magazine's 3-month publishing lead time. This from the March 4 edition of Journal-Every Evening (The News Journal) of Wilmington, Delaware:

Punksteam 3

On the same day the Asbury Park Press ran the same article under the title "Trio Builds Steam Auto," as did the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader-The Evening News under the heading "Boys Build Steam Car To Burn Wood, Operates Cheaply." Then, on March 19, 1940 the Journal-Every Evening returned to the story and published the same photo that would appear in Popular Science:

Punksteam 2

On the same day The Bee of Danville, Virginia ran the same photo and caption on their "Pictorial News of the Day" page under the heading "New Jersey Boys Build Land Steamer From Spare Parts."

Popular Science notwithstanding, the big moment of glory for the lads—at least for Kim and Frank— came when Roland Jack Scott (known professionally as R. J. Scott) immortalized them in his syndicated Scott's Scrap Book (published from 1931 until circa 1967), which copied its concept from Ripley's Believe It or Not. This cartoon panel is from the May 22, 1940 edition of The Logan Daily News in Ohio:

Punksteam 4

There are other news items out there, but you get the idea.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Trailer Tuesday 10/18/16

Billy, the Hot Rod, and the Trailerette.

From the May, 1954 issue of Mechanix Illustrated via Modern Mechanix Blog

Original caption:
TRAILERETTE built by Charles Rucker of Flint Mich., for his seven year-old son, Billy, is 32 inches wide and 40 inches high. Billy hauls it around with his battery-powered “hot rod.”

Monday, October 17, 2016

Monday Melbourne Motorcycle Maidens 10/17/16

Two members of the Melbourne-based Militors and a German motorcycle—a 1939 Zündapp DB 200.  Circa 1941

Photo from State Library Victoria

From Wartime Associated Heritage by National Trusts of Australia:
[One] paramilitary all-women organization was the Victorian based Militors.  This group was formed in Melbourne in August 1940.  The women who volunteered for this unit were generally of a younger age, fit and healthy and able to undertake training and discipline.  Similar to the Women’s National Emergency Legion in Brisbane, the Militors were trained in first aid, military drill, rifle shooting, Morse Code communications, transport driving and other military skills.  Training was often done under the supervision of male serving or reserve military personnel.  By 1941 the Militors numbered about 300 volunteers.  But there was little or no encouragement or support from the Government for the organization and by December of that year the Militors disbanded.
The disbanding was announced in a small article buried on page six of the Friday, December 5, 1941 issue of The Argus newspaper (Melbourne):


In Germany, the Zündapp Derby series DB 200 was nicknamed "the farm motorcycle."  It had a single-cylinder, 2-stroke, air cooled, 198cc engine, with front and rear drum brakes, six volt battery ignition, with the shifter on the side of the tank.  In production from 1935 to 1940,and again from 1947 to 1951, some 96,499 were produced.

Meanwhile, eight years later...

Pat Hansford (left) riding a circa 1949 125cc BSA Bantam D1 (available in any color you want, as long as it's Mist Green), and June Parker on a silver circa 1940 250cc BSA C11, tour Victoria, Australia as volunteers selling raffle tickets to aid the building fund of the Middle Park sub-branch of the Returned Soldiers' League.

Photo from Lesley Mitchell via Weekend Notes

The photo above appears to have been taken during the same photo shoot as the one below for The Mirror newspaper:

From the Saturday, April 9, 1949 issue of The Mirror (Perth) newspaper.

Actually, the volunteer tour around Victoria was pretty much a one-woman show. June and Pat had begun the journey in March—just a month before their picture was taken by The Mirror. Shortly after that photo, Pat was injured in a car collision, and June continued the tour alone.

According to similar articles appearing one month to the day apart—one in the July 19, 1949 edition of The Camperdown Chronicle, and the other in the August 19 issue of The Horsham Times—June Holroyd Parker, daughter of the former three-time mayor of Ringwood, joined the Land Army at the age of 15. After the war she continued outdoor life and did seasonal work such as fruit picking and tree pruning for about three months each year. She would then take an extended vacation. In 1948 she used that time off to cover a large swath of land while volunteer fundraising for the Red Cross, gaining £500 for the organization. This she did by hitchhiking from town-to-town, which prompted her to buy the motorcycle.

During her raffle ticket selling tour she camped out and preformed her own repairs. In the year since she bought the "Beesa" she did not have a single mishap while traveling every day—except when she climbed on a bicycle for first time in months and fell off, breaking her collarbone. By the time she got to Camperdown (on the back of a wood truck, since the motorcycle had suffered a puncture severe enough that she needed a new tube) she had a total of 10,000 miles on her BSA, and had sold £550 worth of raffle tickets towards her personal goal of £1000 worth. When she hit Horsham she had added 1,000 miles and £250 respectively to her totals.

It was said that she had plans to do an "Australia-wide" tour starting the next December, but as of this writing I have no information as to whether or not that happened.

In the original picture above Pat is on a then-new circa 1949 125cc BSA Bantam D1, while June is on a older circa 1940 250cc BSA C11. In another photo that accompanies both of the articles in the The Camperdown Chronicle and The Horsham Times, June is astride a BSA Bantam D1, albeit with a different number plate. It is my guess that she acquired the Bantam from Pat after Pat's unfortunate accident, so that she would have a newer, more trouble free motorcycle with which to complete her goal.

BSA experts please feel free to correct me.

Oh, and the raffle prizes?  Nothing short of phenomenal:

The Age
From page 4 of the Saturday, December 17, 1949 issue of The Age newspaper (Melbourne).

Sunday, October 16, 2016

On The Nightstand

Uncommon Carriers by John McPhee

Street Sweeper Sunday 10/16/16

1913 Renault Balayeuse (Sweeper) Type DM


Here I was thinking that no one paid attention to old street sweepers (let alone garbage trucks) like they do vintage fire trucks or ambulances, when lo and behold, Jesse posted a couple of shots of a beautifully restored one of these over at justacarguy.

Photos from Renault via Autoviva/Salon Rétromobile/des Renault/extra-ordinaires/Slideshow.

Saturday, October 15, 2016