Collection Item Summary:
An early predominant manufacturer in the United States, Spencer Heath's American Propeller and Manufacturing Company opened in 1909, and first used machines for propeller mass production. Under the Paragon trademark, these were widely flown in World War I. Construction was a wood laminate because of light weight, strength, fabrication ease, and resistance to fatigue in a vibrating and flexing environment.
The manufacturer's brochure states three-bladed Paragon propellers were extensively used by the U.S. Navy beginning in 1912. It was claimed that "In point of strength of hub no propeller whatever can compare with the three-bladed . , ." and that they ". . . nearly always [give] better results than two-bladed propellers of any type."
Heath demonstrated the first "engine-powered, engine-controlled, variable and reversible pitch propeller" in 1919, but was unsuccessful in convincing the Army of the practicality of the concept. He retired from aeronautics two years after selling the company to the Bendix Corporation in 1929.