View Full Version : WW1 CHAUVIERE - ID help required

First Timer
11-21-2016, 05:22 PM
As my name suggests this is my first propeller which I've recently bought at auction...I've provided a link to the auction page, but there are a few inaccuracies on it which I have corrected below...


The stamps actually read...
30.7.17. (Presumably factory completion date)
W/|\D (British War Department with Broad Arrow mark)
I P C DG 66 (Integral Propeller Company)
H.P.80 Gnome (Gnome (Lambda?) 80 HP Engine - 7 Cylinder)
H Farman (Plane Designer)
B.18915 (Plane's Individual Serial Number ??)
A.M.C. (Aircraft Manufacturing Company - AIRCO)
3635 DD (Is this a 'pitch designation', perhaps ??)
There are some other small square stamps 'A.I.D. + various numbers' and some other minor numbers on the hub. I presume these may be inspection numbers ?

I've included a few question marks amongst the above as my research so far is sketchy in places.
The main question I'd like to know is which of the H Farman planes could this have been used for. I'm thinking HF 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26.
This depends on whether those more in the know would describe this propeller as a 'pusher'. I know the HF20 was an early reconnaissance plane which was later deemed more suitable to training new pilots. This one allegedly came from a crash in Oxfordshire, UK - another reason to think 'pusher' due to the likely destruction of a nose mounted propeller.
Any info would be greatly appreciated. This site has already formed a very healthy part of my research for which I thank members.
PS - One thing I read was that Chauvieres were often made from 6 or 7 planks, but this one is from 5 (mahogany?). Any thoughts ?!!

11-21-2016, 05:34 PM
Nice looking prop. Good buy!

I'll try to see if I have anything that would help, but in the meantime note that it is a left hand thread which is more likely a pusher configuration when used with a Gnome engine. Also, the decals look like they're on the back of the propeller, often done that way with pushers, and is similar to this prop (http://www.woodenpropeller.com/DH1.html).

I think manufacturers had a lot of liberties in wood thickness selection, and it often just depended on the hub thickness.

More later, if I can find anything.

First Timer
11-22-2016, 04:36 AM
Hi and thanks for your input, if it's a pusher for a Farman with an 80HP Gnome engine, then the HF20 series of planes would be a good fit. Does anybody know if the propellers were the same for all this series - if so, it might not be possible to narrow it down any further - unless the Royal Flying Corps (who used the B prefix serial numbers) only used certain variations.

eg. I think I read somewhere that one was a seaplane which would be more suited to the RNAS rather than the RFC.

Also, I'm still not 100% sure if the B18915 number on my propeller relates to a specific plane OR the prop itself.

11-22-2016, 09:32 AM
The only propellers I've ever seen marked for a specific plane were German, and the numbers were painted on, not stamped. I suspect that your "B" number is more likely a production number. I wonder, though, if maybe the painted "DD" number might be aircraft specific.

I think of propellers like tires. Some designs fit multiple aircraft models, and they were "consumable", in that their service lives were limited by damage and they were readily replaced.

First Timer
11-22-2016, 10:47 AM
I will try again to dig deeper into the DD number to see if I can turn anything up. (Ditto for the 'B' number)

Is it unusual to have a very specific date stamped on it?

I collect all manner of WW1 and WW2 items (particularly shell cases and tools) and I'm not used to seeing anything quite this detailed. Many of the props I've seen while researching seem to lack a date, but I doubt that the date on mine is a military acceptance stamp. To be fair WW1 stuff of any description is pretty hard to come by, but it's not uncommon for WW1 military items to feature no date at all.

Another minor observation - the decals state "British Make" (observed on other props too) whereas some others I've seen state "British Made"....Does anyone know if one decal predates the other ?

First Timer
11-29-2016, 01:42 PM
Looks like I've struck out with the DD number and the B number. I can't find anything, but then I'm not exactly sure where else to look. ANY help would be greatly appreciated...!!

Would the Drawing Number narrow it down at all (DG66) ?

If so is there a list of drawing numbers I would be able to consult ?

11-29-2016, 05:52 PM
If so is there a list of drawing numbers I would be able to consult ?

There's a HUGE list of drawing numbers, but that one isn't on it. Bob Gardner has written several excellent books on WW1 props. I'll see if I can tickle him into reviewing this post.

First Timer
11-30-2016, 04:59 PM
That would be greatly appreciated. I'll keep my fingers crossed !!

Bob Gardner
12-10-2016, 07:20 AM
Sorry for being slow to respond.

The B letter indicates it was a Chauvière propeller made by the British subsidiary of the French Chauvière company called the Integral Propeller Company (IPC)

The drg number IPC DG66 indicates a propeller made to a design of the Integral Propeller Company. The prop was fitted to a variety of 1914 aircraft with 80hp Gnome and 60hp Le Rhone engines. The 80hp Gnome was fitted to the Grahame White GW15 and in your example to the Henri Farman F20, a basic training aircraft used at a number of civilian flying schools in 1913-1914.

I don't know what the stencilled black number on the hub indicates, presumably a serial number, but such markings are common on props used on Airco aircraft.

With kind regards,


First Timer
12-10-2016, 02:22 PM
Hi Bob and thank you for your valued contribution to this thread. (No apologies necessary, by the way !!)

One thing I've been unable to figure out is if subsequent HF20 models (21-26) would also have used this prop. I think early on I managed to find some info on the engine sizes which possibly ruled a few of these out.

Also, it would be great to know if you agree that the numbers "30.7.17." are indeed a factory completion date?

Bob Gardner
12-15-2016, 05:39 AM
I have not found any reference about these dates in the APs of the time (Air Publications produced by the Air Board.)

For example AP 95 dated 23 May 1915 describes the specifications for Walnut used in prop manufacture.

These dates only appear on two makers, I think. They must be contract dates or completion dates. I suspect the former because I have seen several examples with your date.

With kind regards,


First Timer
12-15-2016, 07:10 AM
Thanks Bob, I'll continue on with my research and post anything further I can find out. I may also re-energise this thread if it throws up more questions than answers !! These forum threads are a real help for those with little or no prior knowledge, and the contributions of those 'in the know' are greatly appreciated.

12-15-2016, 08:32 AM
These forum threads are a real help for those with little or no prior knowledge, and the contributions of those 'in the know' are greatly appreciated.

Thanks for the comment, but I think you'd be surprised at how often those "in the know" are mystified trying to identify the older propellers. It's unbelievable how much data was not kept from the teens and early twenties, particularly with respect to blueprints and drawing (design) numbers.

That's one of the main purposes of this forum - to collect discussions in a central location for future searches, which could not have been done using all of the multiple emails used in the past.

First Timer
12-15-2016, 04:16 PM
That frustrating lack of early record keeping definitely makes this kind of resource and platform vital in keeping the history alive. Researching this prop has introduced me to all manner of other early flight related topics which have proved just as fascinating. Thanks again !!

Biggles of 266
02-06-2017, 06:16 AM
I found a web site listing early serial numbers, and it lists 3635 (with no prefix) as a Henri Farman
Here is the link:


It would appear therefore that the painted numbers on the boss are indeed the serial of the aircraft.

02-06-2017, 07:15 AM
Nice find!

Thanks for posting that, as it may come in handy with respect to other propeller/aircraft research as well.