In the summer of 1888 Bertha Benz, accompanied by her two teenage sons, was the first person to drive an automobile any significant distance. As a publicity stunt she drove her husband's experimental, three wheeled, benzene fueled, internal combustion powered, Benz Patent Motor Car Model III to visit her parents. The all day road trip took them 106 kilometres from the workshop in Mannheim to her families home in Pforzheim. And then a few days later back again by a different route so as to expose the automobile to as many people as possible. Along the way she filled up at apothecaries; the first of which bills itself as the world's first filling station and is still doing business today as a pharmacy.
A short history of the thimbles one might find in the English countryside. Also crotal bells and Gunter's chain markings. [more inside]
Every year for the last 50+ years the BC Ministry of Transportation has had a instrumented truck drive every mile of every highway in the province to record highway conditions. Part of the instrumentation is millions of pictures (one every 10-30 metres). The Ministry has compiled selected sets of those pictures from 1966 into video photolog trips of selected highways. Highway 1 from Lytton to Revelstoke; The Island's Malahat; Highway 99 from Horseshoe Bay to Squamish; [more inside]
Dave's Classic Limousines is dedicated to documenting Limousines prior to the Super-Stretch era and features pictures and descriptions of Custom Coachworks cars and one offs (home built and commercial) plus a page devoted to presidential limos. [more inside]
What tools did the Vikings use to construct their ships? During the early years of the Song dynasty, while Sridhar Acharya's concept of "zero" was making it's way westward and a pair of anonymous Anglo-Saxon poets was committing the tale of Beowulf to animal skin, a Viking craftsman lost his tool chest. It is speculated that the chest fell overboard off a ship or through the ice into what was then a swamp on the modern island of Gotland, Sweden. The chest was unearthed in 1936 when a chain attached to the chest got caught on a farmer's plow. In it were the tools a Viking blacksmith/ship builder would need to ply his trade. Named the Mästermyr chest its discovery was a boon to archaeologists, historians, re-enactors, woodworkers and blacksmiths. The original tools (catalogue of the items) were restored and put on display. Numerous copies and tributes of the chest or selected tools have been made over the years including a complete replica of both the chest and contents made using period techniques as a 'net project of a blacksmiths and woodworkers. [more inside]
Machinery Scans a showcase for some of the most detailed advertisement engravings produced. During the later part of the 19th century most machinery and equipment makers spent large sums of money to have their tool or piece of machinery converted into an engraving for advertising. The scans are of engravings produced from the 1850s-1890s.
Alloy Artifacts an "online resource for 20th century hand tools and the companies that made them".
Pictures of military subjects, many of them annotated, from all over such as Russia, Malaysia, Japan (Special Police), Ireland, Cyprus, Sri Lanka and Canada. [more inside]
Preserved in the cave excavations of Mogao and listing 1,339 stars the Dunhuang Star Chart is the oldest graphical star atlas known to exist. Dated to between 649 and 684 AD, it features two sections. The first consists of 26 diagrams of asterisms (including a recognizable Big Dipper and Orion) and the second contains 12 star maps each showing a 30 degree east-west section of sky in cylindrical projection plus an azimuthal projection circumpolar map. Star positions are accurate to within 1.5 degrees and it includes some stars in the southern sky. [more inside]
Real time Dracula "Experience Bram Stoker's Dracula in a new way -- in real time. Dracula is an epistolary novel (a novel written as a series of letters or diary entries,)" Whitney Sorrow is posting each entry in real time starting on May 3rd the date of the first diary entry. [via]
The Fovant badges, "an historic and unique cluster of military badges cut into the chalk hills of Wiltshire", are one of many hill figure sites in the UK. [more inside]
National Geographic Map of the Day. Previously featuring maps that run the gamut from automotive discovery and exploration; through literary, witchhunts and imaginary; to historical and Olympic.
Hammer quiz. Identify the intended use of speciality (mostly vintage) hammers. A sister site of Puzzle Photos (previously). [more inside]
Junior General is intended to promote the use of historical simulations as a tool for teaching history by providing free resources that anyone can use. To go with their teaching scenarios they make available thousands of paper solders for download and printing. Everything from stone age primatives thru Myceneans, Confederate gunboats to US Iraq infantry and futuristic Cyber Assault Droids. Also available are accessories like castles, houses, trenches, battering rams and hangers.
An espalier is a plant trained to grow flat against a wall, fence, or trellis. Developed by the Romans, they were popular in Middle Age Europe as a source of fruit in castles and monasteries because they could be grown against the keep's stone walls leaving open space unencumbered. Now they are an excellent choice for apartment and condo dwellers with small yards. For larger yards espaliers can be used as a decorative feature, to provide shade or to increase the variety of trees under cultivation. University of Florida PDF detailing the technique.
Digitized Book of the Week. An eclectic collection of works digitized from the Library of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. They include books and serials from its collections that focus on Illinois history, literature, and natural resources; rural life and agriculture; railroad history and engineering; and works in translation. A project of MsMolly.
LA6NCA's WW2 German Radio Collection Pictures and a little history on many WW2 German radios including a cute as a button spy radio and the Lichtsprechgerät 80, an incoherent light audio transceiver. Also featured are a few photo essays of the equipment in use (Enigma, Luftwaffe Signals unit redeploying). [dorian
The Online Guide to Traditional games has a short history with pictures of many games that were in existence prior to 1900 and are still played today. Some, like Mancala, much prior to 1900. Also collected by the same author are the rules for many of the games.
Vintage Projects do it yourself plans, vintage reprints and building ideas from the 40's, 50's and 60's for farm, workshop, woodshop, machineshop, kids and camping. Includes plans for a pop-up camper, toy excavator, snow blower, and concrete block machine.
Old Wood Working Machines. Covering only North American manufactures, the OWWM website (referred to as the mothership) has 1160 scans of manuals, flyers, catalogs, and sales literature dating back over 100 years. The FAQ is extensive and has exploded spinning off many pertinent articles. OWWM also has almost 2200 user submitted, machinery profiles showing machines as found and/or restored. One of the highlights is a write up on what appears to be the very first (PDF) Delta Unisaw which was built before WWII and aside from mostly cosmetic changes is still built today.
Knight's American Mechanical Dictionary Containing over 3000 pages the Knight's American Mechanical Dictionary was billed as A description of tools, instruments, machines, processes and engineering; history of inventions; general technological vocabulary. Published in 1876 it is a great resource for those trying to figure out how things were done in the time of our great (great?) grand parents. Ilustrations, upwards of 5000 engravings, include a ride inside monocycle, trestle bridges, compound microscope, clod crushers, washing machines, spoke driver, hydraulic wagon-tipper, and a farmers tool-house. Warning: the book has been scanned in and all the item links are to 100-150K images.