Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Distinctive Boats (ii)

This is undeniably distinctive, and desirable:

She's called Sharpness, and she's a tunnel tug, built in 1908 for service on the Severn and Thames canal and later used on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal. She was derelict and unsound in 1990 and her upperworks have have been altered slightly for cruising but otherwise she's original, apart from her engine. She's very elegant, in a workmanlike way, and her lines, only slightly refined, could form the basis of a very fine 'replica', certainly something different from the usual unappealing and uninspiring 'traditional' waterborne self-catering holiday chalet that is the contemporary cruising narrowboat.


From the top, the photographs, which are presumably in the copyright of the site owners and have been used without permission, were taken from the following sources:
The blog The Travels of Little Blue Narrow Boat, at
The blog NB Armadillo, or simply Armadillo, at
The blog Granny Buttons, at

Monday, 13 July 2015

Two Distinctive Boats

While browsing the web, I came across these two boats, which took my fancy.

The first is an electrically powered river cruiser built in 1905:

More photographs of Wayfarer, and other electric boats, can be found here, at the web site of the Electric Boat Association.

The second, one of two built of iroko on oak, in 1967, is described as an 'estuary' narrowboat, a term I've never heard before:

She's called 'Lutra Parva' (Little Otter) and was for sale in November 20012 for £25,000.00, which some considered expensive in comparison to other vessels available. What makes her unusual is her V bottom, which I think justifies her not unreasonable asking price. More photographs and further information can be found here, at House of Hurley, a personal web site that doesn't seem to have been developed beyond its beginnings.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

More than Just a 'Big Boy's Toy'

The photograph shows the armoured train constructed for the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, presumably during 1940, which is said to have brought down at least one German aircraft. This is definitely on my 'should I ever win the Euro Lottery' list, without the machine guns of course.

I found the photograph from a link given here (1).

(1) In the comment by Clive Mortimore, on 06 Apr 2014, at 23:20.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

A Spitfire Flying Dray to Ferry Beer to France

This Spitfire was adapted to carry beer to France for the comfort of British troops serving in Normandy after D-Day:

Here's a close-up of the unusual jettison tanks:

The load was reportedly known as the Model XXX Depth Charge. Very witty.

Details of the aircraft and the reason for its modification can be read at Zythophile, here.


More photographs of this stylish, if rather heavily overworked (I don't like the polyurethane epoxy finish on the unpainted wood, or the chromed hull and deck fittings.) launch, at the Daily Mail.

Madelvic Horseless Carriage

This is another early electric vehicle, The Madelvic Horseless Carriage:

You can read about it here.

A Heilmann Horseless Carriage

This unusual machine consisted of an electric tractor unit coupled to a conventional horse drawn carriage. The electric tractor unit was designed by J. J. Heilmann, who also designed a very promising steam electric railway locomotive that used high speed steam reciprocating engines to power a generator but had the disadvantage that it required a crew of four, making it commercialy unviable.

The photograph was taken from Just a car guy (who found it at Philippe Boursin's French website HISTOIRE DE LA VOITURE ELECTRIQUE), which I found via Hemmings Daily.

A Nice Gaff

I could be very comfortable here.  I would have to live alone, of course, as a woman is highly unlikely to keep the place tidy or to resist the temptation to fill those shelves with glittery trash.

The picture was taken from here, as was this:

The house would benefit immeasurably from the more inspiring surroundings of a relatively unspoiled landscape.

The same images can be viewed at this site.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

French Army Kites for Reconnaissance

The kites were also capable of lifting a man in a wicker basket. They were, apparently, flown when windspeed reached ten metres per second, which, at thirty six kilometres per hour, or approximately twenty two and a half miles per hour, was too high for balloons. The idea of man lifting kites was conceived and developed by the American aviation pioneer Samuel Cody (see here) (1), who was employed by the War Office from 1894 onwards and who patented a design in 1901 with which he was towed across the channel by rowing boat in 1903. The British army began using man lifting kites for observation in 1906. However, according to this web site (Carnet de Vol), his attempt to interest the powers that were in powered aeroplanes was unsuccessful as the Imperial Defence Committee (Aerial Navigation) decided that such craft were of no military value.

The device looks like fun and a scale model of that rig might be an interesting project.

This is the aeroplane Cody presented to the Imperial Defence Committee in 1908:


1 Correction: I've discovered that Cody simply modified the kite designed by Lawrence Hargrave (see here, here and elsewhere) almost twenty years earlier, after emigrating to Australia. I think another post, about Hargrave, is necessary.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

A Spokeless and Hubless Wheeled Bicycle

I like it and would happily ride it.