Display Status This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Charles Anthony Arens (1895-1967), an early aviation enthusiast, was active in aviation from 1911 until the end of his life. He was active at the Cicero Flying Field (1912-1919) and the new Ashburn Field (1916) in Chicago. He worked with E. M. Laird and George "Buck" Weaver of Waco Aircraft. He built and flew a biplane in 1915 which qualified him for membership in the Early Birds. He was elected secretary of the Early Birds in 1960 and was active in this organization until his death. In December 1916, Arens went to work for the LWF Engineering Company, College Point, Long Island, as a mechanic. He worked for LWF until they went out of business in 1923. He held A&E Mechanic License No. 240. In 1923 he went to work for the E. M. Laird Airplane Company. He later developed a control system for aircraft. He formed his own company in 1923, and provided controls for early Ford and Boeing aircraft. He opened his own plant in 1934, and founded Arens Controls Company, Inc. in 1939. He was also secretary of the E. M. Laird Airplane Company, which provided control systems for many World War II aircraft. Arens sold his interest in the company in 1944. He later formed a company to do engineering work.



Processing Information

Arranged, described, and encoded by Jessamyn Lloyd, 2019.


Arens, Charles A., 1895-1967




Charles Arens, Gift, 1971, NASM.XXXX.0016


1.05 Cubic feet (4 flatboxes)


This collection consists of four albums and some additional material including photographs (many of which appear to be originals); news clippings; catalogues and advertisements; event programs; and other ephemera.


No restrictions on access


Collection descriptions

Archival materials





Business cards

Arrangement note

Albums are labeled in sequence with a letter code and they are housed in this order. Additional material added to the collection in 2006 is housed at the end.

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of four albums and some additional material including photographs (many of which appear to be originals); news clippings; catalogues and advertisements; event programs; and other ephemera. The collection includes images of aircraft and pilots with whom Charles Arens worked or came into contact with during his working years, and some of the photographs have been autographed. Also included are images of many aircraft at the Cicero and Ashburn Fields in Chicago; photographs taken at the 1930, 1931 and 1932 National Air Races; aerial photography; images of airships including the U. S. Navy ZR-3 Los Angeles; and some U.S. Army Signal Corps photographs. There is a considerable amount of material relating to Arens Controls Company, Inc. in Volume D, as well as in additional items that were added to the collection in 2006. Aircraft seen in the photographs include numerous models of aircraft made by Curtiss, LWF, and Laird ("Matty") and many other aircraft including the Sperry Messenger; Sperry Curtiss JN-4 Monoplane; Verville (Alfred) VCP-R (R-1); Thomas-Morse S-4C; Standard (NJ) Handley Page O/400; Burnelli (Remington-Burnelli) RB-1; John's Multiplane (1920); Ansaldo S.V.A.; SPAD XIII (S.13); Nieuport 27; Martin (Glenn L.) MB-2; Fokker T-2 (F.IV); Stinson (Aircraft) SM-1 Detroiter; Ireland Meteor; Loening (Corp) OL-1; Ryan NYP Spirit of St Louis; Lockheed Model 5 Vega Yankee Doodle; Bellanca WB-2 Miss Columbia; Fokker C-2, Civil America; Breguet Bre.19 A2 Nungesser-Coli; Boeing Model 80A; Sikorsky S-38B Amphibion untin Bowler; Howard (Benjamin O.) DGA-3 Pete; Lockheed Model 8 Sirius Tingmissartoq; Springfield Bulldog (V High Wing Racing); Wedell-Williams Model 44 I (NR 278V) (Race #s: 44, 91); Chester (Art) Goon; Robinson (W. C.) Monoplane; Curtiss NC-3 and NC-4 (P2N-1); and the Vought VE-10. Besides Arens himself, other notable figures in aviation that are seen in the photographs include Laura Bromwell; Bertrand Blanchard Acosta; Russell L. Maughan; Alford Joseph "Al" Williams; Harold James Brow; Lillian Boyer Werner; William S. "Billy" Brock; Perry Hutton; Henry S. "Pop" Keller; Charles Augustus Lindbergh; Anne Spencer Morrow Lindbergh; Richard Reginald Blythe; Arthur C. "Art" Goebel; Ruth Elder; Lloyd W. Bertaud; Guiseppe Mario Bellanca; Charles W. "Speed" Holman; Erwin E. "Eddy" Ballough; Emil Matthew Laird; Joseph Le Brix; Dieudonné Costes; Clarence Duncan Chamberlin; Robert F. "Bob" Shank; Florence Klingensmith; Arthur Charles Chester; Will D. "Billy" Parker; Anthony "Tony" Stadlman; Stanley Van Winkle Hiller; Robert G. Fowler; Warren Samuel Eaton; Leslie L. Irvin; Benjamin Delahauf Foulois; Henry Harley "Hap" Arnold; James Harold "Jimmy" Doolittle; Roscoe Turner; Otto W. Timm; Overton M. "Rusty" Bounds; Katherine (Otero) Stinson; Arthur R. "Art" Smith; Mickey McGuire; Marjorie C. Stinson; Victor Carlstom; Charles B. Kirkham; George E. "Buck" Weaver; Henry B. Crewdson; Edward Albert "Al" Johnson; Charles W. "Pop" Dickinson; Joseph Lee Cato; and Harold W. Blakely.






Business cards


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Arens Controls, Inc.

Early Birds of Aviation (Organization).

LWF Engineering Co.

National Air Races

Arens, Charles A., 1895-1967

Laird, E. M.

Weaver, George E. "Buck", 1895-1924

Topics Aeronautics
Aeronautics -- 1903-1916
Aeronautics -- Exhibitions
Aeronautical engineers


Charles Arens Scrapbooks, NASM.XXXX.0016, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.

Archival Repository

National Air and Space Museum Archives

Finding Aid Online Finding Aid