View Full Version : Need help with my propeller

11-25-2015, 07:28 AM
I own a wooden propeller since a 2 weeks and I am searching much info as I can
I am hoping to have some more Information and maybe estimated value too.
History of this propeller is very interesting for me. They do say this forum has the best information at Dutch forum.

I can read on one (round ) side of hub;

Nieuport 15 M -2
RH 80 HP

at the other side of the hub

MFRC or MPRC 24581 L

at the flat side on the hub

8 C 4

Seen also Tonkilaque S.E.L.T and Helice Levasseur on the propeller and make fotos of them.
Seen this Propeller on Nieuport 18 and 28 models on internet but never seen on a Nieuport 15 model really restored on a foto.

has 8 holes and Diameter is 16 cm = 6.29921 inches
propeller is 245 cm = 8 feet and 0.45669 inches

Thank you already for your advice.

11-25-2015, 09:17 AM
I don't recognize all of those numbers, but the important one is the "Serie 450" and the "RH 80 HP". Those indicate the model number and the engine used (80 HP LeRhone).

I've attached the page listing all propellers in use on Nieuport aircraft as listed in "Propellers Approved for Use on Airplanes of Types in Use by the American Expeditionary Forces", published in November 1918.

You'll see on that document that Levasseur serie 450 propeller was one of several models used on the Nieuport 11 and Nieport 21. Also note that the Nieuport 15 used a Renault 220 HP engine and only has listed a Chauviere propeller (with a considerably longer diameter than yours). The RH 80 on yours is consistent with the listing as well, as is the diameter of 2.45 m. Note also that several other props (Regy and Eclair) were also approved for the same models of Nieuports.

The "Tonique" decal apparently refers to the lacquering process used and is identical to one used on this Salmson propeller (http://woodenpropeller.com/Salmson_A2A.html).

These recorded listings are FAR more accurate that visually comparing appearances of propellers seen in old photos, and I would say it's a virtual certainty that yours was designed for the Nieuport XI and XXI. Perhaps pmdec will have more information later.

As for value, it appears to be in excellent ORIGINAL condition and is well marked for a known aircraft, so it's value is high. No one knows exactly what that number is, but I would put it in the range of $3000 (US) if the correct buyer was located.

11-25-2015, 11:47 AM
Thank you for the info ,
knew that was an WW1 propeller was but I was not very sure.
condition of prop dint look to me 101 years old.
It is not in very good condition too. cause of some damages on the sharp edges of propeller.

I am going to make a nice , cool wall mount for now and enjoy it.

11-25-2015, 01:42 PM
I am going to make a nice , cool wall mount for now and enjoy it.

Please DON'T try to "make it nice". It will ruin its value! There is nothing wrong with some dents and damage on the sharp ends. It's best kept in ORIGINAL (unaltered) condition, almost no matter what damage it's received before.

11-25-2015, 02:02 PM
Ok , thanks about that too.
But I read on the forum about restore.. and I only cleananed.
I meant making a nice - cool wall mount that I can hang it up asap.
It s lying on my dinner table.

11-25-2015, 03:03 PM

As said by Dave, this prop is a French Levasseur serial 450 for Nieuport aircraft fitted with a 80 HP Le Rhône engine.
24581 is the prop number.

The marking "NIEUPORT 15 M-2" is probably for a Nieuport XXI (=21) because "M-2" is m² (that is square meter, the wings surface) and it is the only one with a 80HP Le Rhône engine. See this post for a "classification" of Nieuport a/c: http://www.theaerodrome.com/forum/showthread.php?t=59911

"MFRC" has to be NUMERO, but the pic is too small for a reading.

The black color and the small octogonal decal mean the cover is lacquer (true China lacquer). The blue white and gold decals near the hub read TONKILAQUE S.E.L.T.: it is the brand name of the factory which apllied the lacquer. This kind of protection was not used by Levasseur before 1919.

The three small hexagonal stamps around the stamping "8 C 4" on the flat side of the hub are from early 1922 to late 1923. The prop numbers 24xxx are from the same period.

The prop is not 101 years old but "only" 92 or 93, which doen't makes any difference about value, because it was made, after the war, for a warplane. And it is in first choice state.
You can clean the lacquer with strong tea, but don't touch the decals (Levasseur on the blades and Tonkilaque at their roots): As for all lacquered propellers, there is nothing (no varnish) to protect the decal. And the prop value is highly dependant of decal conservation.
Don't use any wax: the lacquer could become matt for ever.

Anyway, a very good buy!


PS: Please, could you post a large and clear pic of the inside of the red rectangle for my stamps database? And also a close up of the L, alone on the right of the asked area?

11-26-2015, 12:57 PM
Hello ,

Thanks for the info.
We had a dry sunny day in Belgium today. I could make some time for quick pics and I will try to make beter pics tomorrow. hope they are goed.

Kind Regards

11-26-2015, 06:08 PM

Thank you for the pics. Can you confirm that the letter on the right and below the prop number is a L alone, not LI nor L1? And ig you enough time, could you also take close pictures of the stamps around the 8 C 4?

Best regards,

11-26-2015, 06:19 PM
Ok , thanks about that too.
But I read on the forum about restore.. and I only cleananed.
I meant making a nice - cool wall mount that I can hang it up asap.
It s lying on my dinner table.

Oh, good. http://woodenpropeller.com/forumvB/images/icons/icon14.gif

My mistake, and apology.

11-27-2015, 07:38 AM
I can confirm about L but made a pic of it anyway.
As the stamps between 8 C 4. But those stamps were really not easy to see and read ,
I did my best shot but stamps are full of paint or dirt , it s hard to see.

11-27-2015, 01:26 PM
Thanks again for those pics. The 3 stamps around the x C y code are always difficult to read, more than often impossible. And it is very difficult to have a large panel because this kind of markings were only in use for a short time, not precisely known (IMHO) but between 3 and 4 years (and moreover the prop production was low in those times).
After this period, it is easy to have a making date ... because from sometimes between March and October 1923 the date is written plainly!


11-29-2015, 06:33 AM
Hi ,

I got a loop glass for better look in those places.
pics are impossible with my camera. But I think in the first left hexagonal
between 8 and C I am seeing B8 or B0 not very sure.
What is possible options.?
Second hexagonal upon the C is very dark and that really nothing to read anymore.
Last hexagonal ; between C and 4 also a little to see , I guess It is B0

Could not write an answer earlier cause I am not having mails from forum..


12-01-2015, 08:06 PM

Sorry for the late answer. I don't know what are the possible letters or digits. BC is so widely dominant that in the past I supposed it was always those two, which are also abreviation for Bureau de Contrôle (Control Office). But it is not true... It is probably the same that for AID and SFA stamps: the mark of a specific controller.


12-02-2015, 04:34 PM
Thanks ,
It s very nice to learn more about that piece of art.
I was also wondering how did they produce those propellers in war time.
Which kind of machine or tools they had to use for making them.
I am also very curious where my propeller coming from. could be very nice to know all about of course.
doing some searcings and find some interesting webpages too.
Maybe you know it already. But I would like to share it..