Thursday, February 28, 2013

Mr. Completely's 2013 e-Postals Have Begun!

 Mr. Completely has posted the first of his e-Postal contests for 2013. The Mr. Completely e-Postal contest is intended to provide a fun shooting skill enhancing event every month for blog followers, and I encourage all of our readers to enter. CLICK OVER to Mr. Completely's post about the March contest, read the rules, download the target, and then go to the range with friends and family for some high quality trigger time. We will be shooting these contests through the month of November this year. Give the blogger hosts a real workout and submit a bunch of entries! You know you need the practice!

Crankin' It Up: Everyone's A Critic

Here are a couple more of our 7" records, and both of them are worn pretty badly. Hot Times On The Levee (by Spencer and Ossman) is unintelligible for the first 1/3, so we skip that; and Brat lets us know his opinion before Sousa's Band can finish Levee Revels. If we don't find some better songs in this old stack soon, we will return to the Roaring Twenties, I promise!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Magic Carburetor You Always Heard About

Ever since I was a kid, I have heard people tell about the carburetor some guy invented, and the gas companies bought the patent to keep it from ruining their business. Well, here's proof! I bet the fellow selling this couldn't keep up with the demand. Model T's would get about twenty miles per gallon chugging down the highway in 1924 when this ad was published, and the possibility of 30 mpg had to sound like magic. This is a pretty good looking carburetor,with a few extras that Fords did not have from the factory. Drivers were expected to tinker with their Fords back then, and the main jet is adjustable as you drive your Model T, on both factory and aftermarket carbs. You will note that there is a drain on the bottom of the bowl, just in case your gasoline is contaminated with water; that was standard, too. It looks like there is also an electrical hookup on this carb; that's an extra. I have seen it on other aftermarket T carburetors, and if you could look inside, you would no doubt see a little electrical heating element that would warm the air-fuel mixture as it heads toward the intake manifold. Gizmos like that sold really well during the heyday of the Model-T. This carburetor is very unusual in that it has a window to check the fuel level in the bowl. I haven't seen that on any other carburetor from that era. Many of the carburetors made for cars back then had a cork float. The float was well coated with shellac, which did not soften or disintegrate in gasoline. If the finish did crack, the carburetor would overflow, and run an entire tank of gas out on the ground, so it was normal procedure to turn off the gas at the bottom of the tank when you weren't driving your T. Modern restorations require a brass float, because our gasohol blends will melt the shellac right off of the float in antique carburetors. Something that has always bothered me about the Model T and other early cars is the lack of an air cleaner. Car owners back then were regularly doing ring and valve jobs on their cars, and most of that could have been avoided if they had only filtered out some of the chunks in the air as they drove down dusty roads. Keep both hands on the wheel, and use a light foot on the pedals.

Eclipse Engine; Air Cooled, Hit and Miss, Hot Tube Ignition, LP Fueled

This air cooled, hit-and-miss governed, hot-tube ignition, LP fueled (That's a mouthful!)  gas engine was on display at Evansville in June 2012 at the Southern Indiana Antique Machinery show.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Ruger's Auction To Benefit Honored American Veterans

Ruger's writeup on "This week’s auction item is a .22 Long Rifle caliber, All-Weather® Ruger 77/22® bolt-action rifle with serial number 701-13344. The testfire date of this rifle is March 25, 1991. This model 77/22, introduced in 1989, was the first all stainless steel, factory bolt-action .22 with a high-impact, all-weather stock. All major components of the All-Weather® 77/22® are heat-treated, ordnance quality, 400-Series stainless steel. Features include a 20 inch barrel; 10-shot rotary magazine; and three-position safety. It also features an injection-molded DuPont Zytel stock that has the Ruger name and logo molded into the scalloped sides. The grooved, slip-resistant inserts on the side panels and forend are made of chemical and impact resistant G.E. Zenoy 6123 modified resin. Other features include integral scope bases of the patented Ruger Scope Mounting System and iron sights. The Ruger 77/22® rifle will be shipped in its original box along with an original instruction manual and paperwork, and a set of 1 inch Ruger scope rings. The rifle is being sold “as is.” The purchaser assumes all liability for its safe and proper ownership, storage, use, and resale. The rifle is a part of the Ruger factory collection in Southport, Connecticut, and a Certificate of Authenticity will be mailed to the winner of the auction. Note: the winner of this auction will be responsible for paying the Federal Excise Tax."

100% of the proceeds will go to Honored American Veterans Afield. Click Here to go to the GunBroker page.  This fine .22 rifle will sell mid-day, Wednesday, February 27.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Make It Strong For Monday Morning!

Back To The Old Grind!

Not My Victrola: Downers and Uppers

 I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles, from 1919 is definitely Pre-Roaring Twenties, and is actually kind of a downer if you listen to the words. I've always liked this song, but it is one that can suck you down the drain into a funk if you listen too hard when your mood is dark.  It's still a pretty tune, and I like it anyway. Shared by Lucius1958, performed by Helen Clark and George Ballard.

Bonus! Everything is Hotsy-Totsy, performed by Gene Austin in 1925 should provide a little balance to lift your mood back up. Shared on YouTube by WarholSoup.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Weekend Steam?


 This advertisement is copied from the April 1924 American Thresherman Magazine. It looks like a steam engine, but the Townsend tractor is one of those oddball machines that came out of the developmental years of the farm tractor. The Townsend was evidently designed to entice farmers who were on the fence about modernizing by switching from steam to gas for the heavy work around the farm. These tractors are rare, but you can find a few of them on YouTube if you do a search. Here's one that shows how you start one of these tractors.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Crankin' It Up: An Old Time Double!

The Mrs. and I went to the annual Herb Show at the mall in Mt. Vernon a couple weeks ago, and one of the vendors had a stack of twenty 7" records.  Seven inch discs are around one hundred years old, and these looked to be in good shape, so I didn't even quibble over the $1.00 asking price.  We will play these over the next many weeks, and we will have a good time doing it with Brat's assistance.

The video of the first two records is uploading to YouTube as I write this, and it won't be done until well after midnight, so check back Friday morning after I embed it in this post.  Brat was in rare form, so don't forget to come back.

 And....Here You Go!

Predictable Madness

Ernie Pyle wrote about induced madness nearly eighty years ago, only he was writing about thirst induced madness, rather than psychotropic-drug-induced madness that we are seeing on an all too regular basis.  The most remarkable part of our current insanity epicemic is that the media, politicians, and medical professionals refuse to acknowledge the link between young men taking psychotropic drugs and mass murders, when it is evident to anyone who sees the faces of these monsters.  Instead, everyone tries to pin the blame for mad behavior on the tools that murderers use to commit mayhem.

Insanity can be managed, if you acknowledge it for what it is, and treat it accordingly.  Read Ernie's account of a man who dealt with madness on a regular basis.  The lesson should be applied to the disturbed people among us today.
 *    "Ike Proebstal knew about men who die of thirst.  For thirty-three years he had been a prospector and a mining man among those snaky sands and bare mountains, and he had saved many a man from death.  A fellow down the road said to me, "When Ike Proebstal tells you anything about this country you can bank on it being true."...

..."I wish my brother was still alive to talk with you," he said.  "He had a real reputation for finding missing men.  But I've saved quite a few too.  The first fifteen years we were here, my brother and I rescued at least two people a year, I guess.  There isn't so much of it any more.  The auto has changed that.  People drive right out across the desert, and they can take plenty of water with them.  But even so, there's somebody lost from around here about once a year.

"You know, a  man dying of thirst always takes off all his clothes.  I don't know why, but they do it every time.  Years ago a  man rode into my prospecting camp late in the afternoon.  He was more dead than alive, and so was his horse.  He said he had left his partner under a bush about five miles away.  I started right out.  I ran almost all the way, for I knew I could just barely make it by sundown.  I knew that if I didn't get there before dark I'd never find him, because he'd get up at dusk and start traveling.  They always do.

" Well, I found him.  He was lying there on the sand, naked as a baby.  A few feet away was a tripod made of short steel tubing about two feet long, with a kettle hanging on it.  I kicked the tripod down and stood there and called to the fellow, 'I've got some water for you.  Come and get it.'  The fellow raised up.  His face was black as coal and his tongue was swollen and sticking out of his mouth two inches.  He jumped up and ran at me and tried to take the water away from me, but I handled him all right.  I'd brought a canteen of water and a whisky glass.  I gave him just one small glass of water.  Then I made him put his clothes on and told him if he'd follow me I'd give him a drink every hundred and fifty yards.  The boys back at the camp had built bonfires so I could find my way back.  When we got about halfway I asked the fellow how he was feeling, and he said fine, that he was sweating.  So I said, 'All right then, you can drink all you want now.'

"He told me later that he was crazy and yet he wasn't crazy.  He said he saw me standing over those steel bars, and he knew why I was doing it.  He said if it hadn't been for those bars he would have killed me to get at the water quicker."

People who have taken anti-depressant drugs have told me that part of you is placed up on a shelf, and you are watching yourself as if you are another person when you are on these drugs.  The advertisements on television that push these drugs always warn you to tell your doctor if you are having "Thoughts of Suicide."  That sounds more like an admission of the problems with these drugs, than advice.  Anyway, the behavior associated with these drugs is predictable, just as the behavior of a thirst-crazed man is predictable, and managing the resulting behaviors should be child's play for medical professionals, but no-one seems to be working on it.  Pushing the pills, and passing draconian laws that will solve nothing, is what we are getting from the folks who call themselves professionals.  The folks who think they are better than the rest of us all need to sit down and be schooled by the likes of Ernie Pyle and Ike Probestal, the desert rat who  actually helped people who had gone mad.

*Cactus Country, from Home Country, by Ernie Pyle, copyright, 1935- 1940, Scripps-Howard Newspaper Alliance; Copyright, 1947, William Sloane Associates, Inc.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Sounds From Long Ago: Putt-Putt Cars

A C. B. & Q branch line ran past the grade school that I attended many years ago, and one of the treats we had as kids was seeing and hearing a Fairmont section car going by during our recess breaks. When the rail inspector slowed down we always loved it when he opened up the throttle and accelerated with his putt-putt-putt; so I love to check out the Fairmont engines we see at engine shows. This engine has a great set of pipes added, but I guess the only way to hear one of these making real, authentic sounds is to find one in use at a railroad museum. In addition to the coasting, backfires, and loud putt-putts, these engines need the sounds of steel wheels on rails to be correct.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I See Dead Cars

This one is in the wilds of Wayne County.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Ruger's Auction To Benefit Honored American Veterans Afield

This week, Ruger is auctioning a rare and extremely desirable: ".222 Rem. caliber stainless Mini-14® Ranch rifle with serial number 188-54599. The rollmark date of this rifle is May 19, 1992. It appears this rifle has not been fired beyond normal factory testing. The Ruger® Mini-14® Ranch rifle was first introduced in 1982, and was described in that year’s firearms catalog as a rifle that “incorporates an ideal scope mounting system – integral scope bases in the receiver accept the proven solid steel Ruger mounting rings . . . for correct, comfortable scope use and convenience in carrying. All the basic Mini-14 design have been retained in the Ranch Rifle.” This auto-loading rifle features a stainless 18-1/2” barrel, steel receiver and trigger guard, a fold-down rear peep sight and blade front sight. Other features include an American hardwood stock with a molded sporter-type metal butt plate, ventilated glass fibre hand-guard, integral scope bases, sling swivels, and a 5-round magazine." (Quoted from Ruger's GunBroker description.)

100%  of the proceeds from Ruger's auction will go to Honored American Veterans AfieldClick here or on the picture to visit the GunBroker page for this fine Ruger rifle.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Good Old George Was A Rye Man

Back To The Old Grind!

Not My VIctrola

Moonlight, by Carl Fenton's Orchestra, 1921; shared by 240252.

This is a great dance number, and we have posted  our own record of this song, with Frank Crumit singing.  You will really enjoy the colorful slide  show that runs with this song.  The Roaring Twenties wasn't all black and white!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Weekend Steam: A Nice, Long Train Ride

CSXBoy187 shares some great video of a pretty little locomotive. CSXBoy tells us on his YouTube post that this engine appeared in the movies 3:10 to Yuma, Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?,  and True Grit.

Make a pot of coffee; this video is 41 minutes.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Crankin' It Up: Another By Paul Whiteman

Here is the flip side of Two Little Ruby Rings;  I Found A Four Leaf Clover, also by Paul Whiteman. Brat is really enjoying himself as we let him participate.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Pith On The Inside Shows Through On The Outside

One of the characteristics of oak twigs is the angular exterior.  You can roll a twig between your fingers and tell whether it is an oak or not, by the sharp edges around its circumference.  Post Oak (above) and bur oak both have extra stout twigs, and those edges are not really evident, but the other oaks all show the angles on the ends of their twigs.  The stout twigs of post oak are really good for showing the star shaped oak pith to students, because the pith is easily seen without magnification.

Black oak has much slimmer twigs, and if you don't know what you are looking for, you can miss the star in the middle.  Black oak, red oak, and shingle oak have very little meat surrounding the pith on the tips of twigs, and the star shape really comes through on the outside.

This is one of those Statcounter-created posts.  I like to see what brings folks to this little blog, and someone did a search a few days ago for "inside of an oak twig."   If someone makes that search again, they might see the picture they were looking for.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Crankin' It Up: A Special For Valentine's Day

My Bundle Of Love by TrueBlueSam Gene Austin recorded this romantic little sentiment in December, 1925. Valentine's Day is coming right up; don't forget!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Happy 179th Birthday

I have mentioned William Tweed before. He is the oldest ancestor that I have pictures of. He was born near Fort Wayne, Indiana on February 12, 1834. His family moved to Oquawka, Illinois while he was still a young boy. Abraham, his father cleared a farm at the river bluffs across the Mississippi from Burlington, Iowa, but he died and the kids were all taken in by an uncle. William was eleven at that time, and did not like the way he was treated by his father's brother, so he got on a horse and rode back to Ft. Wayne to live with an aunt. He came back after several years and took over the affairs of his brothers and sisters.

During the 1850's he and a brother went to Kansas as part of the anti-slavery movement in Kansas. He enlisted in the Tenth Illinois Infantry in 1861, and left his wife, Mary, to manage their farm and care for their two babies while he helped put down the rebellion. Most of the travel in the Infantry was by foot, and the Tenth Illinois went from Southern Illinois, through Tennesee, Georgia, the Carolinas, and ended up at Wahington, D.C to be mustered out.

He returned to farming after the war, but packed up and homesteaded in Nebraska during the 1880's. Mary died in 1911, and he moved to Oklahoma to live with his son Clarence, then later moved back to Oquawka to stay with his son, Moses. He died March 25, 1925, and he was shipped by rail to be buried next to Mary in Bassett, Nebraska.

I am always amazed by amount of traveling that went on Before Cars (B.C.). People used to travel great distances on foot or on horseback, and they did not have cushy hiking shoes. William Tweed: a real Travelin' Man.

Win a New AR-15 Rifle...*

*...If you are an Iowan!  Iowa Gun Owners will draw for a lucky winner on Friday, February 15, and all you have to do is go to their website and enter.  The rifle is being donated by Superior Arms of Wapello, Iowa.  While you are the Iowa Gun Owners' site, do the right thing and make a donation.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Hey, Garage Putterers!

Here's an easy project you can do while you are straightening up your workbench.

Ruger's Auction To Benefit Honored American Veterans Afield

This fine Ruger Super Blackhawk will sell Wednesday on GunBroker.  Ruger is donating 100% of the proceeds to Honored AmericanVeterans Afield.  Click Over and place a bid to be a good-deed-doer, and buy a great gun.  A full description is on the GunBroker page for this revolver.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Weekend Steam: George Kester's Engines

 My nephew Josh just had his tenth birthday, and his Kester's Collectables engine this year is a beautiful green Huber.  Josh has been getting one per year for several years now; George Kester has his address in his Rolodex.
The Russel was his first one, then the Oil Pull, the Minneapolis, the Avery Yellow Fellow Separator, then the Avery Undermounted, and this year the Huber. 

These engines are made in Illinois by George Kester, and you would be hard pressed to find a nicer American-made toy for a kid.  You can Click Here, or the link on the left side to visit George's website.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Crankin' It Up: Paul Whiteman

Recorded by Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra, September 1, 1922; from "Daffy Dill."

Thursday, February 7, 2013


What Barn?
Nothing to see here, folks; just move along.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

This New Ruger Is Guaranteed To Aggravate Your Gun-Itch!

Jeff Quinn of Gunblast has posted a YouTube review of an exciting new model from Ruger. This Shopkeeper version of the Bearcat has a bird-head grip, and it really improves the Bearcat for ease of packing around on your hip.  Twenty-twos have been getting quite a bit of attention lately as a viable option for self defense, and they are fun and economical to shoot.  Single action revolvers are very user friendly for folks who have trouble racking the slide and manipulating controls on semi-autos, and you can get off your first shot just as fast with a single action revolver as you can with other pistols.  The Shopkeeper is available from Lipsey's, and you will need to go to their website to locate a Lipsey's dealer near you.  You can Click Here to go to the Gunblast website to read Jeff's review, and it is time well spent, with chronograph information for a variety of .22 ammo out the three inch barrel of this little gun.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Ruger's Auction To Benefit Honored American Veterans Afield

 Ruger's HAVA auction this week is for an M77 Police Rifle in .308 Win.  This fine rifle appeared in a trade show twenty years ago and has been locked away since.  Ruger sold another just like this rifle recently for Project Valour-IT, and it went for the bargain price of $965.  Folks are paying attention better this time, but the price is still within reason.  This auction is sceduled to end at 12:30 PM Eastern, Wednesday, February 6.  This rifle is too good to pass up, so go to GunBroker and place your bid.  

The next vintage Ruger on the block for HAVA is this 1975 vintage Super Blackhawk in .44 Magnum.  Click over to GunBroker to read the full description for this fine gun. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Sometimes You Get Lucky

Walking an old road into a creek bottom to look at land on the other side of the creek, after a night of heavy rain, you wonder if you can find a way to the other side.  Sometimes you can find a logjam to cross, sometimes you have a long drive and walk in from the other side.  Last week I got lucky!

Dry Fork, northern Wayne County.  A bit deep for wading after a night of thunderstorms.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Dust Yourself Off and...

...Back To The Old Grind!

Not My Victrola: Step Lively!

Stumbling is a song we have loved for years, and EdmundusRex has posted a 1922 recording of it by Bennie Krueger's Orchestra.  This version is perfect for showing off your best Fox-Trot and Charleston moves.

If you want to hear the lyrics to this fun little song, CLICK HERE to go to the Frank Crumit recording we posted in November.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Weekend Steam: A Question and the Answer!

When you go through the drive-thru at the Dahlgren, Illinois People's National Bank, you will see this painting by a local artist of a 4-4-0 locomotive in front of the Dahlgren depot.  One day I sent a camera in to the teller and asked her to take a photo for me so I could see it better.  Wonder of wonders; it looked like the engine is the General, of Civil War fame.  The General was hijacked by the Andrews raiders on April 12, 1862 at Big Shanty, (Kennesaw) Georgia.  The plan was to burn bridges between there and Chattanooga, but it didn't work out too well, and most of the Andrews raiders were hung as spies.  I read the book by William Pittenger a couple times when I was in junior high, and saw Disney's movie about the Great Locomotive Chase when it was shown on TV in the early 1960's.   Susan and I saw the General when we did our Marching Through Georgia vacation several years ago.

The burning question after I looked at the painting up close was, did the General actually come through Dahlgren?  The General was put in top notch condition, and toured the country during the Civil War Centennial.  Click Here to go to a couple of websites about the General.  The black and white photographs from the restoration and tour are especially fascinating.

 So, the General was restored, and did a nationwide tour, but did it actually come to Dahlgren??  Recently we were visiting with one of the neighbors and these snapshots were produced.  These are snapshots taken when our friend was a youngster, and she witnessed the General steaming through northwest Hamilton County.

Our friend's parents took these photos as they followed the General down IL Hwy 142.  What a memory!

Search the Internet, and you can probably buy a copy of the Great Locomotive Chase by Disney, and watch a pretty good dramatization of the events around the General in 1862.  Many Thanks to our friend for letting me scan and post these photos.  Photo Credit: V Stull.