View Full Version : Strom Propeller Company History

01-19-2014, 12:41 PM
Looking at the Forum I noticed several info requests regarding Strom Propellers.
The following information on the maker is from the book "As The Snow Flies" by L. Allister Ingham.
Paul Strom was born in Cordoba Mines Ontario in 1914. At three years of age he moved to Watrous Saskatchewan.
While still in high school he built his first propeller.
Paul began to study propeller design and to do experimental work to test the theory he read about.
By the thirties he and his two helpers Harold Coverdale and Jack Renolds were turning out a high quality efficient product and were selling them right across Canada.
During the thirties and forties they produced a total of 500 propellers of various types and about 75 sets of snowplane skis.
In 1940 Paul moved to Winnipeg and worked for S & S Aircraft on Watt Street owned by Short and Smith.
This company had done some work on snowplanes and also had contracts for the supply of propellers for wartime use.
Paul and two other workers were the only ones in the company who had propeller experience so Paul quickly advanced and was soon shop foreman, and then chief inspector.
He remained with the firm until 1942 when he joined the Canadian Navy as a shipright.
After the war Paul returned to Winnipeg and from 1945 to 1975 worked with the Canadian National Railway Company.
During the early part of this time Paul also produced oak skis for various uses.
Paul also produced some propellers for wild rice boat harvesting machines in the 1970's and early 1980's.
According to a copy of a Company ad from 1935;
All propellers were made from selected laminated Douglas Fir, using powerful waterproof aircraft glue and are finished with high grade enamel.
Linen tips add materially to the strength and durability. [ Recent tests show Douglas Fir to have tensile and shear strength equal to many costlier hardwoods.]
Another Company brochure from 1938 says;
All propellers made from selected laminated Sitka Spruce [Airplane Spruce] using powerful waterproof aircraft glue...
Another Company brochure from 1939 says;
All propellers are made from combination laminations of Birch and Sitka Aircraft Spruce...
If you know your wood's well this may help you date a propeller.
As well any Strom propeller marked as being made in Manitoba would probably be made post 1945.
As per brochure from 1935;
A propeller to fit to a Harley Davidson engine would cost you $4.25.
A propeller for a Chevrolet 6 cyl, linen and copper tipped sold for $16.50.
There is no mention of The Strom propeller Company ever making a propeller for aircraft use only for snowplanes, riceboats and windchargers.

01-19-2014, 02:12 PM
Thank you for making this information available.

01-19-2014, 03:32 PM
Thank you so much for shedding some light on the ongoing mystery of the history of S & S, its greatly appreciated.

This is the most information I have seen so far on that company. What a shame that there isnt a treasure trove of records and papers and photos of how it all used to be. At least not yet, who knows what will surface in the years to come.

I spent some time this morning going through stacks of CD photo disc's to see if i could find the picture of the snow plane that exists out at the Pioneer auto musuem in Murdo South dakota, they have a vintage snow plane that is very simular to picture you posted. Its unique in that it has a single ski in the front that is about 10 ft long, and its also powered by a franklin engine. I will have to look through the stacks of pictures to see if i can find that picture to post here.

Purely as a side note, I happen to own a 4 cyclinder franklin aircraft engine that is single ignition and currently has the same configuration of a MOPAR 6 volt electric starter drive and ring gear like the one I see in the picture you posted. I also have the carburetor and the mag for it as well as the operating manual for that particular engine.

Amazing what one can learn from this great website.

Dennis Hicklin
Seattle Washington

01-20-2014, 12:10 AM
Hi again Dennis
I did some searching on the computer and I was not able to find a photo of the snowplane you mentioned at the Murdo museum so if you happen upon it it would be nice to see. Several makers went back and forth from a three and four ski design so without a picture it would be hard to guess at what it is.
Do you recall what size Franklin was on it?
Mine has the starter ring gear encased opposite of prop end and it also drives the mags and generator. In the photo of my machine on prop end is a rim and tire being used as a flywheel for engine test running only.
Your Franklin 4 cyl, what size is it and what was it from?
They were well built old engines, rumor has it they are going to start making them again. From what I have read a company in California has purchased the rights and tooling and are working toward production.
This would be a good thing as finding parts to get mine in serviceable condition was quite the chore/treasure hunt.
Take care

01-20-2014, 06:12 AM
Hey Dave.

Mine is a 50 horse with a single ignition, it was for very light aircraft say such as an early J-2 cub, which also had A-40 flathead engines. It was a gift to me for a test stand I owned at one point. See enclosed photo. Franklin has been supported over the years by PZL which is a polish company. Dave giesler is the owner of the pioneer auto musuem, give him a call and have him go out and take a digital picture of the snow plane, I am sure it had a 6 cylinder franklin on it, and it has a prop guard very much like the one on your rig. If I find the picture I have of it, I will post it here for you.

Keep in touch, hope the snowplane project comes to completion.

Dennis Hicklin
Seattle Washington