Collection Item Summary:
Wood was the major material for propellers up to the mid-1920s because it offered light weight, strength, and ease of fabrication. Most wood propellers featured laminated construction, consisting of layers of wood boards glued together, shaped to form, and coated with varnish or paint.
Wood remained the dominant construction material for aerial propellers during World War I because it was a known quantity. A metal propeller was not. An American wood propeller industry of approximately forty different government contractors emerged as the result. Instead of chairs, tables, and pianos, these manufacturers converted to the production of wagon wheels, gun carriages, and primarily airplane propellers.
The B. L. Marble Chair Company of Bedford, Ohio, which was formed in 1894, produced office furniture, and during World War I the product line was expanded to include aircraft propellers. This propeller was used on an American built Dayton-Wright DH-4B bomber aircraft, originally a British design, with a Liberty engine.