Olmsted Propeller, fixed-pitch, two-blade, wood

Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

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 propellers had a significant role in aviation history, including weight carrying records and the first transatlantic aircraft flight, but 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.

Used for 1909 wind tunnel testing of propeller efficiency, this patented design was to be adapted for use on a mass-produced metal and wood Olmsted airplane of monocoque construction. Development stopped when 90% complete due to the 1912 bankruptcy.