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Can, Tomatoes, Lockheed Sirius "Tingmissartoq", Lindbergh

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This object is on display in the General Aviation exhibition station at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.


Charles A. Lindbergh and his wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, flew in their Lockheed Sirius aircraft on two significant missions, one in 1931 and the other in 1933. In 1931 the Lindberghs flew to the Orient, proving the viability of traveling from the West to the Far East via the great circle route to the North. In 1933 they flew survey flights across the North and South Atlantic to gather information for planning commercial air routes. During their trans-Atlantic trip a Greenland Eskimo boy gave their airplane its name, Tingmissartoq-"One who flies like a big bird."

The Lindberghs were meticulous in their preparations for the two trans-global flights. They utilized every possible space of the aircraft to carry supplies. The objects in this collection represent the mission support and personal items they carried, and illustrate the essential equipment that would have been taken on international exploratory flights during the 1920s and 1930s.

While fuel and oil were stationed and lodging and meals provided at the Lindberghs' planned stops (or by their support ship Jelling on the trans-Atlantic flight), they also packed plenty of emergency rations in case of an unexpected landing in the wilderness. After reading a "book on calories," Anne Lindbergh decided to bring along canned tomatoes because, as she remarked to Charles, "they keep you from getting beri-beri. Magellan's men all got beri-beri."

In December 1933, the Lindberghs made several unsuccessful takeoff attempts for their flight across the South Atlantic Ocean, from Africa to South America, as calm winds and seas would not allow the heavily loaded plane to rise. These cans of tomatoes were among the supplies they shipped home from Bathurst, Gambia so they could lighten their load and continue. Charles reasoned that "when you are out in a rubber boat in the middle of a tropical sea you do not want a lot of dry food which makes you thirsty. You need more water and less to eat."

Upon returning from their trans-Atlantic trip in late 1933, the Lindberghs donated the Tingmissartoq and the material support items to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. The collection was displayed in the Hall of Ocean Life until 1955, when it was sent to the United States Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio. After deciding that Lindbergh artifacts did not really represent the Air Force, the Air Force Museum transferred the collection to the Smithsonian Institution's Air Museum in 1959.

Transferred from the USAF Museum

Date: 1931-1933

Country of Origin: Portugal

Dimensions: 3-D: 10.2 x 7.6cm (4 x 3 in.)

Materials: metal

Physical Description:Painted metal food can

Inventory number: A20030080000

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