View Full Version : Antique WW1 Aircraft Propeller - Curtiss

11-20-2012, 01:35 PM
Rare opportunity to own a piece of history.. This is formally an original United States Navy propeller as removed from a Curtiss flying boat. The engine that powered this aircraft was a 12 cylinder water cooled Liberty. This aircraft was in service in the early 1920's. I will arrange shipping and packaging at buyer's expense.

See this forum entry for similar, Bob mentions Prop believed to be made by the Lang Prop Company, and English manufacturer that built props for the USN.


Being sold on Ebay

11-25-2012, 10:33 AM
Sorry I did not note this in the original post, but I would much appreciate any additional information that anyone has as to the details, history or manufacturing of this prop. thanks

11-25-2012, 01:22 PM
Just a few comments:

These two blade combinations to make a 4 blade were fairly common during the late teens as the Navy experimented with all types of flying boats using the Liberty engine. Unfortunately, the blades seem to have been almost entirely separated into individual two bladed items, which signficantly decreases their value, IMHO. I think I've seen one matched pair (which also had consecutive serial numbers) and probably 75 or 80 unmatched 2 blades.

Unfortunately, yours has been refinished despite the preservation of the Curtiss decal. To the left of the decal photo you can see a linear color change where the fabric had been glued to the wood surface, with the grain of the wood now visible. Also while some metal sheathing was actually varnished and retains the copper appearance, most were not and would be age oxidized by now, but yours looks as if it's certainly been polished in the process of "restoring". As I say, these things significantly reduce their market value.

Often the "restorer" would recognize the importance of the decal and try to sand around it, which I think has been done here. Compare your decal to a similar Curtiss decal with the original varnish, and notice the absence of crisp detail around the circumference. It's nearly impossible to preserve a decal by stopping the process immediately adjacent to it.




I've seen this basic design, if not perhaps this identical model, made by a number of different U.S. manufacturers, including Lang of America, Paragon, Matthews Brothers and a few others.

Finally, I'm a little bit skeptical about the history of it having been removed from a flying aircraft. If you look closely at the painted, indented part of the hub you won't seen any indentation where the metal hub pressed against the wood, so called "witness marks". Wood expands and contracts, and the hub bolts often had to be further torqued as the wood dried out, but then when it got moist and expanded it would create indentations in the part of the hub where the metal was in contact with the wood. Set this example (http://woodenpropeller.com/images/LangHissoh1.jpg) for instance, where the drilled holes in the hub resulted wood expanding into the hole and a similar example on this hub (http://www.woodenpropeller.com/images/AnzaniChauviereh1.jpg).