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Kirkham B-6, In-line 6 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:

During 1909 and 1910 Charles B. Kirkham made several successful aircraft engines based on his automobile motors. In 1911 he began to manufacture the above engine – his first designed especially for airplane use. It featured concentric valves, primarily to assist exhaust cooling. Kirkham claimed that this engine was “outstanding in light weight, low head resistance, and freedom from vibration.”

It powered the Aerial Exhibition Company’s biplane design, the Burgess Hydroplane Model F, the Kirkham tractor biplane design, and the Thomas Model TA.

Collection Item Long Description:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum


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


Charles B. Kirkham


Credit Line

Gift of G. N. Boyd




  • 3-D: 119.4 × 40.6 × 76.2cm, 106.6kg (47 × 16 × 30 in., 235lb.)
  • Support: 119.4 × 86.4 × 45.7cm (47 × 34 × 18 in.)

Country of Origin

United States of America



Physical Description

  • Type: Reciprocating, in-line, 6 cylinders, water cooled
  • Power rating: 40.6 kW (54.5 hp) at 1,300 rpm
  • Displacement: 6.24 L (380.88 cu in.)
  • Bore and Stroke: 105 mm (4.125 in.) x 121 mm (4.75 in.)
  • Weight (wet): 106.6 kg (235 lb)


PROPULSION-Reciprocating & Rotary

Inventory Number