Collection Item Summary:
This Armbrust Cup was among the survival gear Charles Lindbergh and his wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, brought with them on their 1931 flight to the Orient and 1933 survey flights across the North and South Atlantic. By condensing moisture from breath into drinking water, the Armbrust Cup (named after its inventor) would provide a few last sips of water when there was nothing else to drink. It did not, however, provide a permanent solution to dehydration because it only recycled lost moisture, and did not provide a new source of water.
In case of an emergency landing, Charles Lindbergh always took an Armbrust Cup with him on flights over the ocean, including his 1927 flight from New York to Paris. The military considered making the Armbrust Cup standard issue for all its air pilots, but decided against it because the device was ineffective.
The text printed on the front of the Armbrust Cup reads:
When in use: If possible, keep this cover constantly wet by frequent dipping or submerging.
FOR USE IN MOUTH
Blow through mouthpiece with enough force to send breath through cup. Always keep cup as cools as possible by best means at hand."
The text printed on the back of the Armbrust Cup reads:
Cup may be used submerged or in air at will. The quantity of water obtained depends upon the quantity and frequency of breaths blown through cup and temperature. Keeping cup as cool as possible by frequent dipping or submerging it in water greatly aids its efficiency."
Collection Item Long Description:
A vacation flight with "no start or finish, no diplomatic or commercial significance, and no records to be sought." So Charles A. Lindbergh described the flight that he and his wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, were planning to make to the Orient in 1931. Their choice of route, however, showed the feasibility of using the great circle to reach the Far East.
The Lindberghs flew in a Lockheed Sirius low-wing monoplane, powered by a 680-hp Wright Cyclone. The Sirius had been designed in 1929 by John K. Northrop and Gerard Vultee, and this model was specially fitted with Edo floats, since most of the Lindberghs flight was to be over water.
Their route took them from North Haven, Maine, to Ottawa, Moose Factory, Churchill, Baker Lake, and Aklavik, all in Canada; Point Barrow, Shismaref, and Nome, Alaska; Petropavlosk. Siberia; and on over the Kurile Islands to Japan. After receiving an enthusiastic welcome in Tokyo, they flew to China. They landed on Lotus Lake near Nanking on September 19, thus completing the first flight from the West to the East by way of the North.
At Hankow, the Sirius, with the Lindberghs aboard, was being lowered into the Yangtze River from the British aircraft carrier Hermes, when the aircraft accidentally capsized. One of the wings was damaged when it hit a ship's cable, and the aircraft had to be returned to the United States for repairs.
Their next venture in the Sirius came as a result of the five countries' interest in the development of commercial air transport. In 1933 Pan American Airways, Imperial Airways of Great Britain, Lufthansa of Germany, KLM of Holland, and Air France undertook a cooperative study of possible Atlantic routes. Each was assigned the responsibility for one of the following areas: New Newfoundland to Europe via Greenland; Newfoundland via the great circle route to Ireland; Newfoundland southeast to the Azores and Lisbon; Miami, Bermuda, the Azores, and Lisbon; and across the South Atlantic from Natal, Brazil, to Cape Verde, Africa.
Pan American was to survey the Newfoundland to Europe via Greenland route. Ground survey and weather crews in Greenland were already hard at work when Lindbergh, Pan Am's technical advisor, took off from New York on July 9 in the rebuilt Lockheed Sirius, again accompanied by his wife, who would serve as copilot and radio operator. A Sperry artificial horizon and a directional gyro had been added to the instrument panel since the previous flight, and a new Wright Cyclone SR1820-F2 engine of 710 horsepower was installed. Lindbergh's plan was not to set up a particular route but to gather as much information as possible on the area to be covered.
The Jellinge, a Danish ship, was chartered by Pan Am to maintain radio contact with the Lindberghs in the Labrador-Greenland-Iceland area. The ship also delivered advance supplies for them to Halifax, Saint John's, Cartwright, Greenland, and Iceland.
Every possible space in the aircraft was utilized, including the wings and floats, which contained the gasoline tanks. There was plenty of emergency equipment in case the Lindberghs had to make a forced landing in the frozen wilderness.
From New York, the Lindberghs flew up the eastern border of Canada to Hopedale, Labrador. From Hopedale they made the first major overwater hop, 650 miles to Godthaab, Greenland, where the Sirius acquired its name-Tingmissartoq, which in Eskimo means "one who flies like a big bird."
After crisscrossing Greenland to Baffin Island and back, and then on to Iceland, the Lindberghs proceeded to the major cities of Europe and as far east as Moscow, down the west coast of Africa, and across the South Atlantic to South America, where they flew down the Amazon, and then north through Trinidad and Barbados and back to the United States.
They returned to New York on December 19, having traveled 30,000 miles to four continents and twenty-one countries. The information gained from the trip proved invaluable in planning commercial air transport routes for the North and South Atlantic.
The aircraft was in the American Museum of Natural History in New York City until 1955. The AirForce Museum in Dayton, Ohio, then acquired it and transferred it to the Smithsonian in 1959.