This is a model of an Aerial Torpedo Dr. Henry W. Walden made in 1915 for a patent application. The missile was to be air-launched against ground targets and controlled by radio signals from the mother aircraft. The pilot would visually observe the Torpedo and activate the controls through radio signals. The signals activated servos that moved steering vanes on the Torpedo. Although Walden's patent was granted, it never became official; he never paid the fee, having received no support from the US government.
The Walden Torpedo concept was one of several World War I precursors to modern air-to-air and air-to-ground guided missiles, a few of which, like the "Kettering Bug" that actually went into development, but none of which were deployed. The inventor gave this model to the Smithsonian in 1957.
Gift of Dr. Henry W. Walden