View Full Version : Lang Propeller of American - Help identify

01-21-2013, 10:12 PM
Hello - this is my first time using a form so please forgive mistakes - happy to take guidance.
I just purchased a wonderful Lang propeller. The decal says Lang of America. It is 99" long with 8 bolt holes in the hub. The ends have wonderful copper.
It has been sitting in a shed since it was salvaged by a Long Beach, CA company after WWII. I was told they had 2 orginially & sold the other one years ago. I do not know how to read the markings on the hub.
I have attached some pictures & would appreciate anything you can tell me.
It really is so amazing.
I have more close up pictures of the hub area I can post.
One mark is SC39642 another mark is a branding/logo that is a square with a large letter A with a line down the center and an A & maybe a 7 - all is in a box.
There is the #1 near it. Some of the numbers & letter around the hub are hard to read. I read in one of the post to do a rubbing so I will try that next.
I can't wait to hear what you all have to tell me!
Thank you

01-22-2013, 05:59 AM
Stampings you've described are its Signal Corps number and an inspection stamp, neither of which identifies the usage. You need to be able to decipher those stampings around the hub. Here's (http://woodenpropeller.com/LangHisso.html) an example, although it's clearly a different propeller than yours.

Often simply cleaning the area with gentle soap and water or even turpentine then looking at it with a magnifying glass will help. Sometimes you need to set up a light source from the side and try moving it around to bring out shadows, etc.

I "think" I can see "LeRhone" and "DIA 2?00", as well as "LP NO. ????" on the photo. You NEED TO BE ABLE TO READ those numbers, as it could have been used on a variety of aircraft, and you can't tell which one simply by looking at its shape and dimensions.

01-22-2013, 09:05 PM
Thanks - This weekend I have some time & will figure out the numbers & letters around the hub.
What is a Signal Corp mark - is that the A like stamp.
What does that mean?
As you can guess I am new to this

01-22-2013, 10:12 PM
Many propellers were purchased by the U.S. Signal Corps in the teens and twenties. They were stamped with a serial number that began with "SC", but the digits that follow don't seem to give any clue as to their usage. Some props were stamped with the aircraft and engine used, but absent that the "drawing number", which refers to a blueprint, is the only positive way to identify it, and that depends on having the reference material that correlates the drawing number with the aircraft. Many of those records have been lost.

Bob Gardner
01-23-2013, 07:05 AM
Good Morning Audree,

I thought I might add some background about the Lang Propeller Company.

There was only a handful of prop makers in America in 1916 who were all low-volume specialists accustomed to making individual props for a few aviators. US Naval aviation was a branch of the Steam Engineering branch of the Navy and found that no design facilities existed to provide props for its new aircraft such as the H6 and HS. They turned to the Royal Navy for advice, who despatched Henry Watts, the head of the prop branch of the Air Department of the British Admiralty. He became instrumental in assisting the nascent American prop industry. As a result of his advice, several high-grade furniture makers and a few piano makers were recruited to make props. They proved more competent than the pre-war specialist companies due to their knowledge of the methods of quantity production.

At about the same as Henry Watts arrived in the States, so did Dashwood Lang who had just sold his UK company to Sopwith. He had produced props for at least nine different types of British naval aircraft and must have been well known to Watts. (He was probably well known to everyone, so flamboyant and well-liked was he.) It seems unlikely that his arrival in America shortly after Watts, and his freedom to do so, was coincidental. Very probably it was engineered by the British Government and probably suited everyone very well: Sopwith got his own prop company; the ever adventurous (and possibly bored) Lang found new pastures; and the USN got the Royal Navyís propeller specialist and one of Britainís best makers.

The US Navy contracted Lang to supply them with props and paid for the construction of, and equipment for, a large plant at Whitestone on Long Island. The Lang Propeller Company of America was established as a Manhattan corporation in August 1917 with capital of $45,000 and Lang, LL Montant and BN Busch as directors at 30 East, 42nd Street.

By late 1917 the USN funded propeller factory for Lang on Long Island at Whitestone was completed and the company name changed to Lang Products Co. So the decal on your prop, with the name Lang Prop Co of America, shows that it was made between August 1917 and about December 1917.

The USN only had a few types of aircraft at this time so we should be able to identify yours.

With kind regards,


01-23-2013, 07:14 AM
Bob, this prop has a Signal Corps number stamped on it. Doesn't that suggest that it was not manufactured for the Navy? This Lang of America propeller (http://www.woodenpropeller.com/LangS4C.html) was clearly made for the Thomas Morse Scout, which to my knowledge was not used by the Navy.

Bob Gardner
01-23-2013, 07:15 AM

Please measure the length of the prop from tip to tip in mm.

Also please send two or three close ups of the hub data around the central hole in the hub. [ We have developed the best method of squinting at such things and might be able to read them more easily.]


Bob Gardner
01-23-2013, 02:24 PM

Ah yes! I'm not sure that I had recognised before that Lang made props for the US Army. Looking at the data I published in my book, I see that Lang made props for the Breeze Penguin army trainer and also for the JN4 which might have been an Army trainer as well.

After Lang moved into the purpose built USN factory on Long Island all props made there that I have recorded were for the USN. When Dashwood Lang arrived in the States he commissioned various firms to make props for him, including Canadian Aeroplanes Ltd, which he sold to the USN. He was a renowned entrepreneur, so I guess at this stage he made props for both USN, which is why he was there, and the US Army. Perhaps when he moved into the new Navy factory this aspect of his was curtailed.

If any forumites know of a US Army prop made by Lang, with SC stamped on it, please let us know.


Brett Robb
01-24-2013, 02:07 AM
Langs testimony ~ Aircraft production: Hearings before the subcommittee of the Congress. Senate. Committee on Military Affairs. Hopefully this link works click on page 827


Bob Gardner
01-24-2013, 05:25 AM
Hi Brett,

Good to hear from you. You were a great help when I wrote the chapter on Dashwood Lang in America and a copy of your Lang prop is in my book.

I can't get into page 827. I've clicked on everything in sight. Can you get in? If so can you copy the page and post it here?

With kind regards,


01-24-2013, 10:24 AM
I'm using Google Chrome web browser and I have no trouble reading pages 827 and beyond. There are quite a few pages and I cannot discover a way to copy them; it doesn't appear to be as simple as cut and paste.


Brett Robb
01-24-2013, 10:51 AM
Hi, Bob there are several pages to read, you would probably want to read the whole book. There are many other old books and military publications on props and planes on Google that can be read for free. Do you have a Google account? I'm signed into Google. I don't know if that makes a difference. Maybe if you just searched the book out on Google that would get you to it. here's a few titles ~ Aircraft production: Hearings before the subcommittee of the ..., Volumes 1-2 By United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Military Affairs ~ The Airplane Propeller By United States. Army. Air Corps, United States. Adjutant-General's Office ~ Aviation in Canada, 1917-1918: Being a brief account of the work of the Royal air force, Canada, the Aviation department of the Imperial munitions board, and the Canadian aeroplanes limited. I just saw MWP Lamar's post that should work.


Brett Robb
01-24-2013, 11:42 AM
Bob, For future reference this may or may not help your research, but I found this company in England still in business with an interesting fact listed in their history ~ 1908 Company began trading as A.Edmonds & Co. Ltd. During the Great War, the company used itsí skills to fabricate Lewis gun chests and cartridge cases, and later also began to supply mahogany aircraft propellers to Daimler. http://www.edmonds.uk.com/ I have not noticed them being mentioned on the forum before.


01-27-2013, 09:47 PM
Thank you all very much for this help - the entire process is very exciting. Are either of you in LA? I could bring the prop to you to see in person. Or if you have a colleague in the area I can bring it to them.
I have been trying to decipher the numbers & letters. I just looked at it in a dark room with a flash light & magnifier.
Tomorrow if the sun comes out I will take it outside for a better look. And better pictures. I tried a rubbing but that does not seem to help.
I can now see 4 marks on the center bolt hole. It looks like D388 or 0888 or 3388.
I think I have some of the markings correct - see attachment.
If you could give me an idea of the number/letter length & possible sequence that may help me.
I am also wondering what the A like brand represents and the number 1 off to the bottom right of it. You can see it posted above.
As far as the SC number I understand the meaning has been lost in time but it is SC 39642. I have not found that sc in the propreller shape I see on other props on the site - does not having that mark help date or identify it.
Does the copper angled blade tips give an information about it.
Measurement - 99" or 2.515m
Again - thank you for all of this info.

01-27-2013, 10:13 PM
Here is the hub info in a jpeg

01-28-2013, 01:10 AM

I reread your post & I see the A stamp is an inspection stamp. I was wondering if you know how many different inspection stamps there were. Is the #1 also an inspection stamp?

I read one of the posts about a German prop and it said the copper tip was used for Seaplanes - is this the same with the Lang designs?

You have eagle eyes - you saw more in my picture of the hub then I have sorted out in days.
I will put it in the sunshine tomorrow & see if I can complete some of the number & letter sequences you spotted.

Thanks again

01-28-2013, 07:06 AM
Metal sheathing was a virtual necessity for seaplanes because of the destructive force of water on the wood, but many landplane props also had metal sheathing, particularly with U.S. built props.

From what you've sketched out as possibilities it seems that the engine may be an 80 HP LeRhone. One thing you can do at this point is go to this chart (http://www.woodenpropeller.com/HUB_DIMENSIONS_OF_VARIOUS_ENGINES.htm) and compare your hub dimensions with the LeRhone dimensions shown on the chart.

One problem is that there isn't an exhaustive database of drawing number/engine/aircraft combinations that would allow you to infer what the most likely usage is. There are odd matches, but no complete listing. Some (many) props are not identifiable, despite everyone's best efforts.

If you have access to a macro lens and can get a good close up of segments of the stampings I might be able to determine more with those, but it's always a challenge.

01-29-2013, 08:22 PM
Thank you Dave - I'm not giving up. I will post more when I have it.
Does it help to know it came from a salvage company that did work in Long Beach, CA?
I was wondering if only certian planes were used on either coasts depending on the needs of the miitary at the time.