View Full Version : Paragon prop info needed

03-18-2016, 10:01 AM
The one I have is about 75 inches long with 6 bore holes. The markings on it are DES-5-G and 5056-1. I was told this was made in the Argus factory, but I don't know for certain. There are a few scratches on it, but otherwise in very good condition, and I want to know any details on it that you know, plus how much it's worth (and how I can verify that amount to any buyer).

Thanks in advance.

03-18-2016, 11:06 AM
You need to start with a photo, as no one is able to even begin to know value without knowing condition and authenticity.

We also need to know exact length in inches, and also the hub dimensions (http://www.woodenpropeller.com/Hubmeasure.html) if you want to try to narrow down the engine.

It may be very hard to identify with any certainty. Records seem to be absent from that manufacturing era.

03-18-2016, 08:50 PM
Ok, will get that information and post it here. Thanks for such a fast reply.

EDIT: By the way, I looked at that link you provided on hub dimensions. Good info to know, but it's only for props with 8 bore holes. Mine has 6. I'll still provide info, but I hope someone has a similar table to match up a prop with 6 bore holes. Many thanks again in advance.

03-18-2016, 11:29 PM
Usually the 6 bolt hole hubs are more modern propellers. There is less specificity that matches hub pattern to engine use, but sometimes at least there are certain engines than can be ruled out as possibilities.

03-20-2016, 01:58 AM
The name on the propeller is Paragon. It is 75 inches long, the thickness (depth of the hub) is 4 inches. The hub's diameter is 2 1/4 inches and the bolt holes are 5/16 inches in diameter.

I'll look into what I have to do to post pics soon. My family has the prop now, too far from me to visit, and I'm dealing with not the best photographers.

03-20-2016, 02:17 AM
Sorry the full length was not shown. Three lengthwise scratches on the left blade.

Showing the Paragon label and general condition that the whole prop has, other than those scratches and some around the hub.
Color enhanced close-up showing one set of numbers. Sorry they are upside down. They are not that way in my original pic.

03-20-2016, 08:19 AM
Interesting. It resembles a "typical" modern style propeller, as might be used on small trainers like Cubs, Taylorcrafts, Luscombes, etc. but it's a left hand thread, which is unusual for that design and length.

I'm not sure where one would go from here to identify it further. I'd probably try to contact the librarian at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

03-20-2016, 10:09 AM
Thanks! I've just sent an email inquiry to Dr. Peter Jakab there, Chief Curator, Administration, Early Flight and World War I Aviation.

03-20-2016, 10:51 AM
Let us know what you find. I suspect he will enlist another curator, maybe Jeremy Kinney in Propulsion, but if they are able to dig something up it would be great to be able to post it here.

03-26-2016, 10:17 AM
You were right. Despite my sending email to Jakab, Kinney's assistant curator replied (with Kinney CC'd). I inquired with relatives and learned that my grandfather had worked for Bendix Aviation, not Argus (which Kinney's assistant doubted anyway because they are in Germany, and my grandfather probably never lived there).

Will update you as I learn more.

07-18-2017, 07:45 AM
Last year I inquired about this wooden propeller and took your advice to contact the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum. I exchanged mail with Howard Wesoky, who responded to all of my mail and copied Jeremy Kinney on all of them.

Howard asked a lot of questions, but Jeremy wrote nothing more than to say the Smithsonian does not appraise such things, and he gave me the following URL to contact for that. http://www.appraisers.org/ I was less than impressed with such a response. I looked up the site and entered a lot of variations on the type of industry and keywords, but all I got for the name of an appraiser was someone in Rome, Italy (who I decided not to contact).

Howard referred me back to this site after writing the following:
We do believe that the propeller was used in a low power application because of the relatively small diameter and six bolt holes, which seems to be the same conclusion reached by Mr. Bahnson of the Wooden Propeller Forum. He is very knowledgeable, and had a very large propeller collection in the past.

We’ve been unable to match the propeller dimensions with engines that would power the type of aircraft mentioned in your original communication. And because Bendix did not acquire American Propeller (i.e. Paragon) until 1929, that connection is weak if the date you provided for your grandfather’s Bendix employment is correct.

If you can provide other information, we would be happy to further investigate. But, at this point, our attempts have simply failed to assist you.

His last question was this: It's important to confirm the dates of your grandfather's employment with Bendix. Also is it possible he received the propeller independently of that employment? (I could not give more than I've given here about the date and how my grandfather got the propeller.)

What more can I do to evaluate the potential worth of this prop?

07-18-2017, 08:02 AM
What more can I do to evaluate the potential worth of this prop?

Unfortunately, the "market" for wooden propellers is small and inconsistent, which means that any appraisal would at best be rough guess by the person making that assessment. The attributes that add to value are fairly straightforward, however, and include age, original condition, intact original decals, and identification of usage (typically an aircraft). Yours has the first two of those, but the third may never be known.

Equally unfortunately, the best way to know what it's worth is to sell it, and eBay remains the venue with the largest number of viewers on a regular basis. Someone might buy it on the hope that he/she can identify it, but frankly I think the odds of eventual identification are low.

What do the tips of the propeller look like? That might be an important clue and I don't think I've seen photos of them.

07-18-2017, 08:21 AM
Mr. Bahnson,
Thank you for that very rapid reply! I'll attach 2 pictures to show the wing tips, and meanwhile thank you immensely for your help and any further advice. If you would like to know or see more, please let me know.

07-18-2017, 10:00 AM
Well, that's good. The photos show that the tips have not likely been altered (usually cut down due to damage), so it means that the propeller is intact in its original condition, a big plus. (Don't try to re-finish it.)

Do you NEED to sell it? Sometimes you're better off just keeping it for as long as possible. I doubt that it will lose value, but may very well gain value over time, and there's always the possibility that records may turn up showing its application. (I've looked extensively through the Smithsonian library, the National Archives, and the Library of Congress and couldn't find much in the way of actual listings, but you never know . . . )

07-18-2017, 10:19 AM
Thanks for that information. We had no intention of refinishing it or doing anything to alter it whatsoever. My late father's cousin expressed a strong desire to buy it, and he got my dad's OK. But we never discussed a price before Dad died.

So, here I am. That cousin lives several states away from my sister, who is keeping it for the moment. She is tired of storing it in her garage, even though it doesn't take up that much space in a large garage, so yeah, we need to sell it. I don't even live in the US, so there is no other option of storing it anywhere.

My dad kept it after he got it from his father, so it's been in the family since the 1920s, and Dad passed away almost a year and a half ago. Despite my efforts here and at the Smithsonian, I have not really gotten a certain ID on it. eBay has similar ones, but no exact match. I'm quite satisfied selling it to that cousin, but I really want to do so at a fair price for everyone. Having seen eBay prices between $300 and $3500, and knowing ours has a couple of scratches on it, I'm still not sure what to ask for it.

Any more advice would be greatly appreciated.

07-18-2017, 12:32 PM
The scratches don't matter, nor does the cracking on the varnish surface.

Ebay asking prices are all over the place, and and many if not most are blantantly absurd. You'll note that those high opening bid ones stay listed for months. I've sold off most of my own collection in a few separate sales, picking prices based on my own estimation of what a fair "market price" might be and virtually all of them sold at those prices. If yours had been included in that lot and I had to pick a number I probably would have listed it for $1350, but it was also in the company of some props that were worth 4 or 5 times that amount, most all of them WW1 era, which do command higher prices. I think you would get about that amount on eBay, but if your cousin wants it you should keep it in the family. If he doesn't, I'll offer $1000 and would sell it to someone later.

Does that help?