View Full Version : Inherited propeller

01-09-2018, 06:03 PM
I have recently inherited a WW1 propeller. This was my great grandfathers who was stationed with the RFC in Mesopotamia Around 1916. It is 4 bladed, brass tipped. The drawing number is t7928, which some internet research tells me comes from a fe8 or dh2. The photos my great grandfather left behind of his plane and time in mesopotamia and India are definitely not from a dh2 or fe8, the propeller is front mounting and looks to be a be2 (I think, certainly no expert!) I am curious as to how my great grandfather would have come in possession of this, were these given out as mementos after the war? If so, why from an earlier model? Also would someone kindly confirm that I correctly identified it?
Thanks! Andreas

01-09-2018, 07:19 PM
Its drawing number does correspond with use on the Fe8 or DH2, and it is a left hand thread. While the Be2 also used a left hand thread it was in a tractor application, presumably because of a geared engine. You can't determine tractor or pusher application from the propeller geometry - they both perform the same function. Many left hand threaded props were required simply because a common engine was mounted backwards. Some, like the Be2 and Spad for example, were due to gearing of the engine.

The large dome on the front is not part of the application. It may have been added subsequently to cover up a defect or an alteration beneath it, or it may just be someone's idea of artistic impression. I've seen Fe8 props with an extended boss, which is what it looks like yours has, but it's difficult to tell much from the photos. It's possible you're being misled into thinking it's a tractor propeller by alterations on the front of the hub that have been added later. Have you tried to remove the dome? (Sometimes items like that were added after a previous mangling of the hub to insert a clock or barometer.)

It would not have been unusual for servicemen to acquire propellers, often with nothing to do with the aircraft they flew or maintained. They really were "consumable" items, often removed and replaced for minor damage or other concerns. They were manufactured in great quantities, but the rapid development of aircraft engines coupled with better metal propellers made many of them obsolete by the early 1920s. (Four bladed props were a little more of a problem to transport, and many of them got cut down as a consequence, some just down to the hub only.)

I would say the the drawing number is an accurate determination of its intended use.

01-10-2018, 02:31 PM
Thank you for this info. I havent physically got it yet . I am in Canada, propeller in England (those transport difficulties you mention will come into play!) when I was over i took some pictures and a few measurements. I will see if the Hub/Dome comes off easily but wont force it if it doesnt. You say they were consumable items given away but that 4 bladed ones were rarer, do you have rough estimate as to how many are still in existence?

01-10-2018, 02:42 PM
I suspect that there are hundreds of them still in existence. I've owned two myself and seen quite a few more that were up for sale or otherwise held by their owners. I'd guess that the ratio of WW1 props being up for sale favors 2 bladed versions by about a 10 to 1 ratio.

Many of the damaged ones were simply discarded and perhaps some of the surplus ones met the same fate.

They can be can be crated and shipped internationally, which I've done. Let me know if you get to the point where that's of interest to you. I'd guess that in your case you could figure $600 to $1000 USD for shipping, roughly.

02-03-2018, 01:24 PM
Hi, yes that is of interest to me. I want to ship it from Kent, England to Vancouver, Canada. Is there a shipping company you can recommend. I am not in a big rush so a long transit time is fine.

02-03-2018, 02:02 PM
Hi, yes that is of interest to me. I want to ship it from Kent, England to Vancouver, Canada. Is there a shipping company you can recommend. I am not in a big rush so a long transit time is fine.

Yes, I've used IPSparcel (https://www.ipsparcel.com/) to ship internationally and been very happy with them. They are basically brokers for the major shippers, like FedEx and DHL and provide those shipper's services at a very substantial discount. I've got some crating suggestions (http://www.woodenpropeller.com/shipoptions.html) on the web site, and I've used that system to crate 4 bladed props very successfully. You can keep both the size and weight down using it. One word of caution that they have advised me - make sure that you don't understate the dimensions or the weight. If you do, the carrier will void the discount and the rate reverts to that carrier's standard rate.