Gnome Omega No. 1 Rotary Engine


Display Status:

This object is on display in the Early Flight exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

Collection Item Summary:

Although numerous rotary aircraft engines were made by many manufacturers, the French Gnome, developed by the Seguin brothers, was most successful in bringing the rotary to a broad aviation market. More than 20,000 Gnomes of different models were made by the end of World War I.

This artifact was first installed on a hydroplane which made an unsuccessful attempt to fly from the Seine River. Henry Farman installed the engine in his biplane which first flew in April 1909. In August 1909, at the first aviation meet in Reims, that aircraft won the Grand Prix with records of distance and duration. The engine was later installed in L. Paulhan's aircraft and set another distance record. The first successful seaplane flight was made by Henri Fabre in March 1910, in an aircraft powered by another Gnome Omega engine.

The artifact was given to the donor by Amedee Seguin, son of Louis Seguin, co-inventor of the engine.

Collection Item Long Description:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum

Restrictions & Rights

Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum


  • Laurent Seguin
  • Louis Seguin

Credit Line

Gift of Rear Admiral Lauren S. McCready, USMS.


Nickel Steel Overall


  • 3-D: 76.2 × 83.8cm, 78kg (30 × 33 in., 172lb.)
  • Support: 185.4 × 73.7 × 73.7cm (73 × 29 × 29 in.)

Country of Origin




Physical Description

  • Type: Rotary, 7 cylinders, air-cooled
  • Power rating: 37.3 KW (50 hp) at 1,200 rpm
  • Displacement: 8.01 L (488.5 cu in)
  • Bore and Stroke: 110 mm (4.33 in) x 120 mm (4.73 in)
  • Weight: 75.6 kg (166.5 lb)


PROPULSION-Reciprocating & Rotary

Inventory Number