Collection Item Summary:
Charles M. Olmsted, a European trained physicist from Upstate New York, had an interest in flight from his early years. His success with gliders in the 1890's led to the formation of the Buffalo-Pitts-Olmsted Syndicate in 1910 to develop aircraft. Following failure of the related agricultural equipment manufacturing company, Olmsted formed the CMO Physical Laboratory, continuing to manufacture and sell his ultra-efficient propellers. Olmsted designs differed from other propellers, having a large surface near the blade base and very little surface at the tip. Olmsted's propellers represented a fundamental difference in design philosophy that has not been duplicated by any other designer.
This right-turning 1911 pusher propeller was a patented design adapted for the ill-fated Olmsted airplane, which was to be mass produced from metal and wood with a monocoque construction. A 1980 Purdue University wind-tunnel model test indicated the airplane might have been in advance of its contemporaries, but development was stopped when 90% complete due to the 1912 bankruptcy.