Collection Item Summary:
The stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression threatened the continued existence the American aviation industry just as it started to grow in the wake of unprecedented government legislation and Lindbergh's transatlantic flight. The newly-formed Hamilton Standard Propeller Corporation, suffering from dwindling government contracts, scrambled for a new product to sustain the young corporation. Chief engineer Frank Caldwell's design for a hydraulic two-position, controllable-pitch, or hydro-controllable, propeller that patented in 1929 saved the company.
The hydromatic propeller introduced in the 1930s was a significant advance over the counterweight, controllable pitch propeller. Application of oil pressure to both sides of the actuating piston provided increased capacity and the capability of feathering or unfeathering by a single control knob. Reverse pitch permitted shortened landing roll.
In 1933 Hamilton Standard and Frank Caldwell won the prestigious Collier Trophy for development of the company's controllable pitch propeller.