Monday, January 31, 2011

warp speed poster

Well not quite in the Star Trek sense, but it has the effect nevertheless--a good one to print out for the wall! 

It has a good message to it, too.

Commer Vans, 1940s

English advertising for Commer vans of the postwar 1940s, a make of which many examples came to New Zealand in the 25 years or so following WW2.

Dakar Rally this year is in South America for the third year in a row

Because of political disturbances and security threats along the route of the famed Dakar Rally's traditional route in Africa, the race has been runing in South America since 2009. Started in 1979, the race originally began in Paris, France and finished in Dakar, Senegal, but in its South American guise, it begins in Buenos Aires, on the Plaza de la Republica and runs through Patagonia, the Andes Mountains, along the shores of the Pacific Ocean in Chile and back to Argentina through the Atacama Desert, the driest place on earth.

the Cathedral of Cars

The 1959 Cadillac was probably the most exuberant standard production model car ever produced in Detroit or anywhere else.  The rear fins and the chrome reached their maximum extent, and reflected the space age rocket afterburner theme.  The fins quickly receded after this, but the afterburner theme continued for a few more years, particularly with Fords.  Above are pics of the Eldorado 2-door model, convertible and hardtop versions.

Hickson Road, Walsh Bay, Sydney, 1949

A photo dated 3 March 1949 with an interesting mix of pre and postwar cars ad trucks.  This former warehouse area has been rejeuvenated in recent times. (State Records Office of NSW)

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Alger (Algiers) 100 years ago

View taken from the amirauté (admiralty)
 The amirauté and the port des torpilleurs (port of small warships?)
 Palais consulaire and Boulevard de la République
 étude clair de lune, le mole et le phare (moonlight study the mole and the lighthouse)
Further to yesterday's post, here are some old scenes of the port area.

Dutch Mouse Noses and Dog Heads

Muizeneus and Hondekop - mouse nose and dog head - are the nicknames given to the electric multiple unit sets from 1946 and 1954, known more officially as mat' 46 and mat' 54, i.e. matériel from 1946 and 1954 (see earlier post about the Blokkendoos from the 1920s). 
The mat '46 sets were built by Allan, Beijnes and Werkspoor between 1949 and 1952 and used in 2-car and 4-car (2 x 2-car) compositions .

The mat '54 series were built by Allan in Rotterdam between 1956 and 1958. They were noted for their heavy weight per passenger (886 kg). Three versions existed, consisting of two, three or four coaches. To modernise the Amsterdam–Brussels service accompanying the finishing of the electrification between Roosendaal and Essen (respectively the Dutch and Belgium border stations), 12 EMUs were built to run in multiple unit with existing ones except that the special variant could run under 1500 V DC (Dutch system) and 3000 V DC (Belgium).

A hardcover book on them is still available (in Dutch).  (These photos from fansites)

1957 Chevrolet Nomad

Produced from 1955 to 1957 as a two-door station wagon, the Chevrolet Nomad is one of the best regarded GM vehicles of the period by aficionados. In 1957 the V8 engine displacement increased to 283 cubic inches (4,638 cc) from 265 in 1957, with the "Super Turbo Fire V8" option producing 283 horsepower (211 kW) with the help of continuous fuel injection.

While considered by many to be to be a milestone vehicle design, GM discontinued the original Nomad Sport Wagon at the end of the 1957 model year due to low sales and the introduction of a new body for 1958. The Nomad continued to the 1961 model year, then was dropped, only to be revived again between 1968 and 1972.  (Publicity photos and Pat Durkin photo)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

steam locomotive KA 949 at Otaki

Wait a minute - wasn't KA 949 the locomotive that was wrecked in the 1953 Tangiwai disaster?  Yes it was.  This is actually KA 942 playing the part of KA 949 in a movie about the disaster, seen here at Otaki on 6 December 2010 which was standing in for Taihape (where the old station has now gone, and even if it was still there the electric catenary would now be anachronistic).  KA 942 has played KA 949 before in a David Sims program for TV.

A Rob Martin photo from the Mainline Steam website.

the Port of Alger (Algiers)

A 1920s poster for the 4th national loan, credit foncier (property or real estate finance) of Algeria and Tunisia and a recent photo of the port of Agiers.  Some history and info about the port is on this webpage.

London to South Africa by BOAC and SAA

BOAC = British Overseas Airways Corporation (merged with BEA into British Airways in 1974), SAA = South African Airways. Although the aircraft is only small in this poster from 1950 it possibly relates to BOAC's recently arrived fleet of 22 DC-4M-4 aircraft which they named as their "Argonaut class", each aircraft having a classical name prefixed with "A". The Argonauts were delivered between March and November 1949; they flew to South America, Africa and the Far East from London Airport (later Heathrow) until 1960.

Dunkerque, France

Spelt in English as Dunkirk, meaning 'dune church', this French port located only 10 km from Belgium is best known for the mass evacuation of some 338,000 Allied soldiers following the collapse of the French defense against Hitler, which took place between 27 May and 3 June 1940.

One notes the reference to Folkstone on the poster featuring the 63 metre tall lighthouse or phare from 1842.  Folkstone is the subject of an earlier post.

The poster from 1927 advertising cargo to North Africa seems a little strange; one would have thought sending it by rail to Marseille and by sea from there would have been shorter and quicker.

The Storstrøm bridge, Denmark

Connecting the islands of Falster and Masnedø in Denmark, the 3.2 km long, 9 metre wide Storstrøm bridge, opened in September 1937, was at the time the longest bridge in Europe. It has one rail line and two road lanes, and until the Farøbroerne or Farø road bridges were opened in 1985 was part of the main road between the islands of Falster and Sjælland (Zealand).

A 7½ minute compilation of filmclips, silent but shot on colour Agfa film, of the opening ceremonies (on the Danish King's birthday) is on this webpage and a 6½ minute arty type film from 1950, which includes aerial flyovers and a few ships and trains is on this webpage.

in the wilds of Norway

A scene on Norway's Dovrebanen (Dovre railway, the main line between Oslo and Trondheim) where the line is at its most spectacular in a canyon between Otta and Dovre. Here the railway line winds here along one side and the road along the other. The narrow pass is the connection between the lower and upper Gudbrandsdalen or Gudbrand valley. Snow flurries in this view from 3 October 2009 add to the drama. (from

Friday, January 28, 2011

the Urnersee, Switzerland

At first sight this could be the steamer Earnslaw on Lake Wakatipu, but it is actually the Urnersee or Urn Lake, part of the Vierwaldstättersee in Switzerland, and the name of the vessel is not recorded. 

Well, having mentioned it, let's include a photo of the Earnslaw from 1912 on Lake Wakatipu too; next year will be its centenary.

Uncle Joe's airshow, 1935

Six-engine aircraft with fixed landing gear flying askew?  Imaginative licence on the part of
Gustav Klutsis (1895-1938) who created this poster in 1935 to show his adulation for Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin (who in 1938 ordered his execution).  The planes that fly over Red Square in Moscow are named "Vladimir Lenin", "Joseph Stalin", "Maxim Gorki", "Mikhail Kalinin", "Vyacheslav Molotov" etc. and the formation on the far right draws the letters of "Stalin." The message at the bottom proclaims, "Long live our happy socialist motherland! Long live our beloved, the great Stalin!"

Uncle Joe first used his warplanes, with Hitler's connivance, in September 1939 to invade the eastern half of Poland, followed a couple of months later by Finland and then the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia (Klutsis's homeland) and Lithuania in 1940.

Göschenen then and now

 Views from the 1890s of Göschenen in Switzerland and a recent photo by FP Finnes.  This is the station in front of the north portal of the 15 km Gotthard rail tunnel underneath the Gotthard Pass opened in 1882.  The Gotthardbahn, electrified in 1920, is the most spectacular and famous railway in Switzerland, and arguably in Europe, and sees a lot of freight traffic over it between Germany and Italy.

The station is also terminus for a metre-gauge line connecting with the Furka Oberalp railway which crosses the top of the alps in an east-west direction, this line can be seen on the far left of the recent photo.

The township is at 1111 metres altitude and has a population of a bit under 500.  At present a second deeper and longer tunnel through the Gotthard is being built, due for opening in 5 years from now.

The German 'Bierbike'

Here's how to work those beer calories off, at the same time as you drink!  The above example was seen in Berlin's Potsdamer Platz on the afternoon of the Germany-Argentina World Cup match last year (which Germany won).

Translated blurb from the site:

"Our beer bike is equipped with everything you need for an unforgettable experience:

     * depending on the bierbike model, seating for up to 16 people
     * round wood table
     * Sound system with CD player (or input for MP3 etc) for your favorite music
     * dispensing system, including carbon dioxide supply
     * Large canopy with sufficient vehicle storage option
     * Lighting system
     * unbreakable plastic glasses and beerbike mugs
     * ashtrays and trash buckets

"The large bierbike has room for up to 16 people. In Cologne, Freiburg, Leipzig, Frankfurt am Main, Mannheim and Belgrade small beer bikes are also available that allow 10 people to travel.

Presumably the person steering consumes low alcohol beer only.

1957 Fiat 500

Publicity photos for the 1957 Fiat 500, manufactured from 1957 to 1975 in 2 door sedan and 3 door estate car variants.  The engine size (2 cylinder) was 479 cc, hence the 500 name, and its shape and popularity made it probably Italy's most iconic small car, although a being so small (only 3 metres long) it is a little hard to compare it exactly to the Morris Minor and the Citroen 2CV.  It was known in New Zealand as the Fiat Bambina.

CN locomotive throws a piston - a reasonable distance

This is Canadian National locomotive number 2699, a 212 ton machine powered by a 183 liter, 4,400 hp V16 4 stroke diesel engine.

Shortly before this picture was taken, while working under load, 2699 experienced what is known in the trade as a "catastrophic uncontained engine failure". The train was passing the town of Independence, LA, at the time.

The first picture below shows that the engine exploded and one of the 16 cylinder-packs that form the engine was ejected through the engine bay body side and thrown clear of the locomotive.
In addition to this the piston from that cylinder was thrown free by the force of the failure. It was ejected so violently that it traveled through the air and crashed through the roof of a nearby home where it imbedded itself in an interior wall.

Thanks to Peter for sending this in.