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 artifact is a right-turning tractor propeller designed in 1916 for the famous World War I Curtiss JN-4 "Jenny" training aircraft. However, it was not deemed by the Army to be any better than the ordinary type for tractor purposes and, therefore, not mass produced.