Friday, September 28, 2018

Little blue Magic Motor (and Outfit B)

A little bargain bought online last week. Postage actually came in at triple the purchase price, but still not too bad.

This is a little Meccano 'Magic Motor' in the pre-war blue colour. The printing code on the box dates this to 1938, correct for the blue motor with a mazac (zinc) pulley and this type 'A' of winding key.

Somebody has written '2/-' on the box in pencil. That will have been the price - so probably this was written on it in the shop already. This advert in the March 1938 issue of the Meccano Magazine confirmed that 2 shilling was indeed the price in '38. Not pennies, but not too expensive either and the cheapest motor on offer.

This is too good still to be repainted and works fine, it will go with the re-created 'blue & gold' outfit. This set of re-painted vintage parts has slowly grown. Over the past year the parts from lots that were too far gone and rusty were cleaned and repainted in the blue and gold scheme. To keep it all together and make it easy to use and store, a new box was created from paperboard sheets.

This box and the set of parts were based on the 1934 Outfit B. With 3D-printed pegs and clamps in a 'stringing-card', the parts are laid out the same way - it does have a certain 'presence' when opening the box.

For comparison, below is an image of the Outfit B from the '34 catalogue (this and more images in the NZMeccano gallery).

Something different with the newly created box, is that it's constructed as a two-layer box with a lift-out tray. This makes it practical to store any additional parts as they are periodically added to the blue and gold collection of parts. Quite a lot of parts have been added beyond the B...

There are actually two parts in the above image with their original finish still - the bright semi-circular plate and a square plate. They are right next to each other, upper-right of the bottom layer. The blue colour varied quite a bit.

The instruction book contained a page with a selection of models from the previous pages, modified to be powered with the little clockwork motor. Now with a matching blue Magic Motor in the set, some of the little colourful models will be set in motion too.  Fun little puzzles to make!

Friday, September 14, 2018

D&P Kubus Rechenstab

A while back, I managed to snag the little instruction booklet that goes with an erly 20th century Dennert & Pape sliderule. In addition to the explanations on the use of the 'Normal' sliderule, it also contained a chapter on the 'Kubus' sliderule.

Guess what turned up.

Somewhat worn and damaged, this sliderule came in a small lot. It has a replacement cursor or runner, but otherwise it is period. The original would have had a narrower aluminium framed single-line cursor. This three-line cursor looks like a late thirties to early forties item, but of course fits this rule fine.

The early Dennert & Pape sliderules have a year code in the well; this specimen was manufactured in 1920.

Very plain, simple sliderule with only added the E and F scales (according to the invention of Max Rietz). The well is plain with only the German patent number for the metal tensioning plate design.

The metal tensioning plate was rather rusty, now cleaned up. The label with conversion tables is quite unreadable. From what remains, it contains the conversion factors for many measurement units that are long obsolete - such as the Prussian 'Ruthe'.

The scales were cleaned up first with a rubber eraser and then a light steel-wool polishing. The three tensioning screws all needed loosening, as the rule was keeping the tongue in a very tight grip (not letting go!). A small snippet of lacquered cream-coloured paper fills in a missing corner of the right-end of the D scale - still visible as off-colour, but less jarring than dark wood.

Now with an actual 'Kubus Rechenstab', I can continue with section II of the little manual! :-)

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Wrong period

Spotted today - a typewriter for the right price, but of the wrong period for my collection. (And am out of storage space in any case :-)

For a very reasonable 10 euro, a quite modern looking Olivetti Lettera DL. Even though it is a late 1960ies design that was made into the seventies, to me the styling looks ahead of its time. Would not look out of place in an eighties' setting. (The design was commented on some years ago on The Filthy platen. Having seen it, it really is a striking design.)
As is often the case, the machine seems to work just fine with a remarkably friction-free touch. Not so sure about that plastic ribbon, but that's about all.

It'll have to go, the thrift shop is closing down. Somebody will for sure get this, and then be getting a fine writing machine :)

Friday, September 7, 2018

A beautiful database

One of those things that were once common and have quietly disappeared - the card index to the library.

Not only does this index survive, it really is the most beautiful database I've seen. For data protection not a firewall or virus-scanner - but a fire-extinguisher and climate control.

(It's the index of the Carnegie library in Reims, finished in '27.)