Propulsion

On the morning of December 17, 1903, the world’s first successful aeronautical propulsion system—a gas engine, propellers, and the equipment needed to make them operate—took to the air on the Wright Flyer.  The aeronautical community continued to refine that system until the introduction in the 1940s of gas turbine engines, which revolutionized the design and use of aircraft. The Smithsonian Institution took an early interest in preserving the history of aircraft propulsion.  The first aircraft propulsion artifacts accessioned by the Smithsonian in 1889 was a model aircraft steam engine and two wood-and-fabric propellers designed by John Stringfellow.  Since then, the collection has evolved into the premier collection of its type in the world.

The propulsion collection includes reciprocating and rotary internal combustion and gas turbine engines, propellers, and the components and support technologies, or accessories, that deliver the needed air, water, fuel, and oil to an engine.  All of these artifacts reveal the multiple approaches used to improve the performance of the airplane during the 20th century.

Your Search Results (1 to 12 of 170)

  • Packard (Rolls-Royce) Merlin V-1650-7, V-12 Engine
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Manufacturer: Packard Motor Car Company (Detroit, Michigan)
    Designer: Rolls-Royce Ltd. (Derby, U.K.)
    Credit Line: Transferred from the Department of the Navy, Bureau of Aeronautics.
    Date: 1945
    Type: PROPULSION-Reciprocating & Rotary
  • Clement V-2 Engine
    Country of Origin: France
    Manufacturer: Clement, France
    Credit Line: Gift of Edward C. Boyce
    Date: 1903
    Type: PROPULSION-Reciprocating & Rotary
  • Manly-Balzer Radial 5 Engine
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Designer: Charles M. Manly
    Manufacturer: Langley-Manly-Balzer
    Designer: Stephen M. Balzer
    Credit Line: Deposit by the Smithsonian Institution
    Date: 1903
    Type: PROPULSION-Reciprocating & Rotary
  • Adams-Farwell Rotary 5 Engine
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Manufacturer: Adams-Farwell Company (Dubuque, Iowa)
    Manufactured for: Emile Berliner
    Credit Line: Gift of the Gyro Motor Company, Washington, DC
    Date: 1907
    Type: PROPULSION-Reciprocating & Rotary
  • King-Bugatti U-16 Engine
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Designer: Charles B. King
    Manufacturer: Duesenberg Motors Corporation
    Designer: Ettore Bugatti
    Credit Line: On Loan from the War Department, Air Service, Washington, D.C.
    Date: 1919
    Type: PROPULSION-Reciprocating & Rotary
  • Curtiss OX-5 V-8 Engine
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Manufacturer: Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company
    Designer: Glenn H. Curtiss
    Manufacturer: Willys-Morrow Company (Curtiss)
    Credit Line: On Loan from the War Department, Air Service, Washington, D.C.
    Date: 1919
    Type: PROPULSION-Reciprocating & Rotary
  • Liberty 12 Model A (Ford) V-12 Engine
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Designer: Elbert J. Hall
    Manufacturer: Ford Motor Company
    Designer: Jesse G. Vincent
    Credit Line: Transferred from the U.S. Navy Department, Bureau of Aeronautics, Washington, D.C.
    Date: 1919
    Type: PROPULSION-Reciprocating & Rotary
  • Hendee Indian Rotary 7 Engine
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Manufacturer: Hendee Manufacturing Co. (Springfield, Massachusetts)
    Credit Line: Gift of Earle Ovington
    Date: 1911
    Type: PROPULSION-Reciprocating & Rotary
  • Liberty L-8 (Packard) V-8 Engine
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Designer: Elbert J. Hall
    Jesse G. Vincent
    Manufacturer: Packard Motor Car Company (Detroit, Michigan)
    Credit Line: Transferred from U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Standards, Washington, D.C.
    Date: 1917
    Type: PROPULSION-Reciprocating & Rotary
  • Le Rhone Model J Rotary, 9 Cylinder Engine
    Country of Origin: France
    Designer: Le Rhone (France)
    Manufacturer: Societe des Moteurs Gnome et Rhône
    Credit Line: Transferred from the War Department, Washington, D.C.
    Date: 1917
    Type: PROPULSION-Reciprocating & Rotary
  • Curtiss E-4, In-Line 4 Engine
    Country of Origin: United States of America
    Manufacturer: Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company
    Designer: Glenn H. Curtiss
    Credit Line: Gift of Charles R. Witteman.
    Date: 1908
    Type: PROPULSION-Reciprocating & Rotary
  • Hispano-Suiza Model 8 Ca, V-8 Engine
    Country of Origin: France
    Manufacturer: La Société Hispano-Suiza
    Designer: Marc Birkigt
    Credit Line: Transferred from the War Department, Air Corps, Materiel Division, Dayton, Ohio.
    Date: 1918
    Type: PROPULSION-Reciprocating & Rotary

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