FantomWorks Blog

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Wounded Wheels Raffle

Hey everyone, if you are a Military Veteran designated disabled and honorably discharged or know somebody that is, then this is for you.  Wounded Wheels is holding a raffle to win a day with Dan Short at the NRA Car Show on September 24, 2017 being held in Fairfax, VA.  Transportation to and from Fairfax can be provided if you are able to meet us in Norfolk on the day of the car show.  For more details please review the flyer... read more

1905 Century Camera

Hey everyone, if you have been on a tour or visited our gift shop then you have probably noticed this lovely wood and iron camera sitting in the corner.  Well today, we are going to delve deeper into this mysterious relic of photography history. This is a Century camera made by the Eastman Kodak Co probably around 1905, as the Eastman Kodak company purchased the Century Camera company in 1903.  This one is probably the Grand Studio model and used glass plate film.  For those of us that don’t remember this photography medium, glass plate film also called photographic plates, used light-sensitive emulsion of silver salts coated on a thin glass plate.  Glass plates were far superior to film for research-quality imaging because they were extremely stable and less likely to bend or distort.  Photographic plates declined in the consumer market in the early 20th century as more convenient and less fragile films were increasingly adopted.  Our Grand Studio Century camera sits on a Semi-Centennial #2 wood and iron frame, and was probably from around the same time if not earlier then the actual camera that sits upon it.  The camera stand was sold to professional photographers as the “Camera Stand of the Future”, as it allowed for maneuverability of the camera to be raised or lowered, the use of quieter rubber casters and coil spring counterbalances.  This lovely wood camera comes with a possibly even older brass lens from the French optical company, Darlot, which was founded in Paris by Jamin-Darlot in the 1850’s.  These types of lens saw a boom during the end of the 1800’s as... read more

As, Belgium

Hey everyone, Dan really gets a kick out of seeing his FantomWorks T-shirts at locations around the globe, so we thought you guys might like it as well.  For this one we go to As, Belgium which is a little village of 8200 individuals located in the northern portion of Belgium.  We are very grateful to Dexters who is the gentleman in the photos for sharing these with us.  So come on and lets all learn a little about him as well as what exactly this monument is. Dexters is a 60 year young car lover who has been this way since his father took him to a race at Zolder Terlaemen for his 12th birthday.  Zolder Terlaemen is an undulating 4.011 km (2.492 mi) Motorsport race track in Heusden-Zolder, Belgium and was the location were a popular Canadian Formula 1 driver, Gilles Villeneuve lost his life during qualifying for the 1982 Belgium Grand Prix.  As Dexters grew older, he participated in numerous rallies in Belgium and abroad as a co-driver eventually making it up to the Works team of Datsun.  Datsun eventually changed its name to Nissan around 1982, when that team stopped rallying.  Dexters became a member of the official Scuderia Ferrari Fan club of Belgium and has been an active member of the board since the mid 80’s. The monument that Dexters is photographed with is a dedication to Andre Dumont, professor at the University of Louvain and discoverer of the first coal in the Campine region in 1901.  This lead to the industrialization of the region as well as the opening of 8 coal mines, some of them were still productive... read more

Summer BBQ 2017

Hey everyone, in case you didn’t know FantomWorks closed early last Friday, August 18, for a team event.  Well, we figured that we would share a small inside view into this event, our annual End of Summer BBQ.  This year our good friend Dave let us have this event at his lovely beach house in the historic Willoughby Spit area of Norfolk.  Most of the whole FantomWorks team with their families showed up and and all were welcomed by Dave and his lovely wife. Cornhole and beach horseshoes were set up and played by those daring to stay in the sun. All the kids thoroughly enjoyed the beach as well as the mist fan set up to help cool off the guests.  While the adults enjoyed some beverages and good conversations, Dan introduced all the kids to his “Asalt gun”, which was a fun little gadget that shoots salt at flies.  Everything went exceedingly well, even though we had a small fire while trying to clean the grill.  The burgers and hot dogs went as fast as the grill could cook them and went great with all the side dishes that everyone brought. After everyone filled their bellies and while we lounged around discussing various conversations, the sun began to set on our BBQ.  Once the sun disappeared over the horizon, the games and food got cleaned up and everyone made there way home, we all said goodbye to yet another summer at FantomWorks. Dave in his super-sized beach chair. The gang’s all here, now lets start cooking. Dan fly hunting The crew telling stories Segway on the beach Children in... read more

1920 Improved Universal Reboring Tool

Hey everyone, this week we would like to give a big thank you to Armand for donating this weeks Antique Showcase item and the newest addition to the future FantomWorks Museum.  Armand was gracious enough to donate his antique reboring tool from the 1920’s and Dan was very excited to get one of these wonderful examples of mechanics’ tools.  Armand’s donation looks pretty much complete and is in such good shape that the instructions for it are still attached to the lid of the box.  This large set would have been a workout to use as well as carry around. The smaller companion box is what we believe to be the special tool designed for Ford engines.  These two items have found a home within our future museum and the aged smell of engine oil has grabbed our heartstrings with fond memories of a bygone era.  So here we will share what we have found out about our newest addition. This is an Improved Universal Reboring Tool produced the Universal Tool company out of Detroit, MI probably in 1920.  The one we have seems to have been produced at the main production factory in Garwood, NJ.  “This improved type of reboring tool consisted of a pilot head with six cutter surfaces which are universally adjustable.  A bevel expansion ring is fitted into the cylinder which is to be rebored and the bevel pilot head acts as a centralizing device.  There is also an over-sized ring which follows in the new cut thus insuring an absolutely rigid tool and perfect centering device.  This new model will rebore practically all makes of... read more

A Hidden Remodel

Good news, everyone, we have a remodeled and much improved bathroom now.  For those that had taken the tour in the past will know that the visitor bathroom here at FantomWorks looked bad.  It was small, dark and cramped with a feeling reminiscent of the gas station bathrooms of old. But not in a good way.  So after much work, the building crew here has completely revamped the bathroom and turned it into something we can happily invite guest to use. There’s a door there… New toilet goes in Toilet is in The vanity and sink are in Left side of the wall Right side of the wall Hidden behind an unassuming bookcase, that most people just walk by without a second glance, is our guest bathroom.  We removed the stall with the normal style toilet and have replaced with a suspended tank style toilet.  The walls have been insulated and dry-walled then adorned with a small sample of Dan’s collection.  The wood wall behind the sink as well as the wood vanity are a luscious dark wood stained that work beautifully with the brass mirror frame and faucet.  So if you are ever here for the tour and need to use the facilities, it’s behind the bookcase and enjoy the history that is hanging on the wall.  Stay tuned as we continue to improve our shop and preserve this great historic... read more

Featured Showcase: Judge Tribute

Hey everyone, this week for our feature showcase a really gorgeous 1969 Pontiac GTO from Mark located on the East Coast of the United States.  Mark has owned this GTO for about 15 years now, but has had a long history with the GTO, which began his senior year of high school in 1969.  Back then, his brother had come home from college and his mother was looking to replace her ’65 Mustang, so they all made a visit to the local Pontiac dealer.  First spotting a beautiful LeMans, the two brothers were soon drawn to a Midnight Green, 4-speed, 400 c.i. 350 GTO.  Being immediately sold, the two just needed to convince their mom how much a better and safer car this GTO was then the LeMans.  After a little bit of sales-pitching the brothers accomplished their mission and the GTO was theirs.  Or more accurately, theirs on the weekends as their mother drove the car to her job as a high school guidance counselor.  The next year, the charismatic duo successfully convinced their mother that this GTO would be the safest car for them to drive to college in.  Feeling slightly guilty, for a short while, the boys left off to college leaving their mother with a brand new, bare bones, under-powered Chevelle. Flash forward a couple of decades and Mark got the bug to find another ’69 GTO.   The one he ended up getting was this Judge Tribute out of Akron, Ohio.  This GTO was built Dec. 13, 1968 in Framingham, Mass. and was originally sold by Jones Pontiac Co. in Lancaster, PA.  Born with... read more

A Mechanics Library

Hey everyone, this week we take a look at a couple of really cool donations from Doug and their new found home, our Mechanics Library.  Doug was great enough to donate his copies of a Winton Six Model 24 Care and Operations manual and White Model 45 Five-Ton Truck from 1920.  These two great examples are in excellent condition and will find a home in our Mechanics Library, that is if we can get them away from Dan.  Currently they are in Dan’s personal library within his office since he wants to read through these examples of automotive history.  Hopefully once he has finished them they will find a good home in the mechanics library where other examples of manuals from a by-gone era are located. White Model 45 Five-Ton Truck Manual Winton Six Model 24 Care and Operations Manual Their current location within Dan’s personal library. Library started as a parts desk. Some of the manuals residing in the library. Manuals to the Left Manuals to the Right More manuals. Almost Done… Now for those that don’t know the White Motor Company was an automobile, truck and bus manufacturer in Cleveland, Ohio from 1900-1980.  The company was founded and developed by three sons of Thomas H. White, a sewing machine manufacturer.  Rollin, Walter and Windsor diversified their father’s company by creating the White Steamer automobile in 1900, and ultimately ended up creating the White Motor Car company in 1906.  The company shifted its focus to the manufacturing of trucks during World War I and after the war became the number one manufacturer of trucks and custom vehicles.  During... read more

A Look Back at a Long Road

Hey everyone, this week we look back at the long road the shop has traveled to get a “Museum” in place.  Started not too long after the shop was ready, the space that is currently referred to as the Museum, began as a large brick warehouse located behind the Boat Shop.  Many, many years later we are finally close to having a display area for the wonderful Antique Americana that Dan has collected over time.  Hoping to be open to the public soon, we are finishing up the area by cleaning up the clutter and organizing the collection.  The road has been long and indescribably rocky but we have overcome the monumental task of restoring an old warehouse into two working spaces, dealing with the leaky roof of an almost hundred year old building and the damaging effect that had on a wood floor.  So hopefully in the near future, tours will be able to visit this wonderful room filled with the variety of items from the past, that we at FantomWorks fondly refer to as the Museum. Started as a large warehouse located behind the original Boat Shop. Adding the floor support structure. The floor is in and the project is halfway done?? The stairwell leading up is now in place, no more ladders!!! The wood floor is not yet in place and the collecting already starts. Wood floor is finally done, if only the issues with it are. Is it finished?? Done, now just need to organize the... read more

1905 Barrel Scale from Computing Scale Co.

Hey everyone, this week we showcase something that anyone who have been inside the Malt Shop at FantomWorks has seen.  This is one of the pieces from our “museum” that has not quite made it upstairs to the “museum”.  As the “museum” is still under construction, we have decided to post some of the displays here.  Once this area is completed the “museum” will display some more of the antiques and collectibles that Dan has acquired over the years, during the weekly shop tours. This is a early 1900’s Horizontal Barrel Scale Style #144 from the Computing Scale Company out of Dayton, Ohio.  This one was probably produced between 1905 and 1910, as the last Patent date was in 1904.  The ornate brass, glass and cast iron scale would have been used for computing weight and price cost in a mercantile or general country store during the beginning of the 20th century.  Our model, S/N 334514, still works and only shows its age in the missing flakes of paint around its base and by the discoloration of the paper barrel used to as its display.  The beautiful brass plates are all engraved accenting the glass viewing ports on either side of the computing barrel.  For those not familiar with the Computing Scale Co., later known as the Dayton Scale Company, they built and marketed the first computing scale in 1891.  In 1911, they were part of the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company before becoming a division of IBM in 1933.  Not long after the Dayton Scale Division was sold to the Hobart Manufacturing Company when IBM decided to stop marketing scales to retail... read more


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