View Full Version : German propeller identification

Alfa GT
01-03-2016, 08:33 AM
Dear all,

I am from Germany and I have an old propeller, but I couldn´t find that much information about it.

It´s length is ~192 cm (75.6 ").
6 Holes

Engravings are (partially almost unreadable):

EDULZUG (anti-clock, pull - clear)
IG. PFAFF AG (almost unreadable)
150 MERC (150 PS Mercedes - clear)
STAND ??50 (pitch - almost unreadable)

Can you help me with the identification. Moreover for sure I am somehow interested in the approximate value of the propeller (I will not sell it ;) as I´ve received it from my father)

Thank you very much!


01-03-2016, 09:30 AM
The length of 75.6" seems short for a Mercedes 150 engine. Does it look as if the tips have been cut down?

A picture might help.

I'm just guessing that the "PFAFF" is actually "PFALZ" which would at least narrow it down somewhat.

Hopefully our German prop expert, Bob Gardner, will have info that would narrow it down further. There is not enough information to estimate its value, as condition is a critical parameter for that.

Alfa GT
01-03-2016, 09:46 AM

please find attached some pictures. The tips seems to be not cut down. I just checked the length again, it is almost 76".

It really seems to be PFAFF...

Thank you!

Bob Gardner
01-03-2016, 11:46 AM
Grüssen Sven,

Und Frohes neues Jahr!

I have been studying German and British propellers for about twenty years and I have only found two Pffaf propellers. One is in the Museum at Krakow, the other at the Imperial War Museum in England. I have details of all the German props in the relevant major museums in Europe, USA, Australia and New Zealand, none of which have a Pfaff propeller other than those I've mentioned above. So, more or less, I can suggest that there are not many more Pfaff propellers to be found. Yours is exceptionally rare. It is also about 100 years old.

Such props are at their most valuable (I don't mean in monetary terms) in untouched condition. They are in effect a reference for future scholars, who can study the woods used and the remnants of the varnish, usw.

If you gently wax it with pure bees-wax polish you will be able to conserve it from further deterioration.

The Pfaff propeller at Krakow has been stripped and varnished with what appears to be a modern PVA varnish, which is an act of unintended vandalism.
The propeller at the IWM is in similar condition to yours.

The Inspektion der Fliegertruppen which oversaw German aviation during WW1 listed Pfaff as a maker in February and June 1918.

Please see if you can decipher the data a little more. Squinting at an angle into the light often helps! It heightens any shadows from the stamped data.

It is likely that your data reads as follows, the meaning translated in red.
JC PFAFF AG the maker JC Pfaff of Kurfürstendamm 10, Berlin
100PS D270 100 horse power, Durchmesser (diameter) 270cm I can read the numbers 2 and 0; the number 7 is what occurs on similar props of other makers.
ST150 MERC Steigung (pitch 150cm), Mercedes engine

The diameter above is the original length of the prop. There are two reasons why it has been shortened; either because the tips were damaged in a landing accident; or because one tip was cut off under the instructions of the Inter Allied Control Commission to make it not airworthy.

I am currently just finishing the last book in my series on German WW1 propellers which includes a description of Pfaff. May I add your photographs? If so, could you email me hi-res copies, around 6mb.

Did you have a distant ancestor who flew in WW1?

mit freundliche Grüssen,


Bob Gardner
01-03-2016, 12:08 PM
A postscript;

The propeller at Krakow is fitted to an Albatros B IIa, but this does not mean it has always been fitted to this airframe.

The LVG BIII and Rumpler Taube also used props of this size made by Garuda and Reschke.

For insurance purposes, your propeller is literally without value because no amount of money would find you a replacement.



Alfa GT
01-03-2016, 04:12 PM
Dear Bob,

thank you very much for the detailed information. I´ve sent you an e-mail.



Bob Gardner
01-04-2016, 01:30 PM

No email has arrived. I have sent you a personal message (PM) with my email address. You can access this at the top right of your screen when logged in to this forum.



Alfa GT
01-07-2016, 04:09 AM
Hi Bob,

have you received my email?


Bob Gardner
01-07-2016, 05:25 AM
Yes, many thanks. Sorry to be slow in thanking you. I have been away from my computer for a day or so. I have had a quick look at your photographs and plan to amend the draft on Pfaff this evening. I'll email you a copy this evening. I don't have much on Pfaff; only a few pages. But there is currently an increase in the amount of info on the internet about early aviation, to the extent that when I completed the draft on an obscure early German maker six months ago I could find almost nothing about him; a trawl last week added two more pages. I hope I can find more about Pfaff in a similar way.

By the way, if you come across any other early props, please let me know the data stamped on them and photograph them if possible. This request also applies to everyone who reads this.

mit freundliche Grüssen,