This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.
Collection Item Summary:
The famous British Supermarine Spitfire used various propellers during its early service. Rotol Airscrews, Ltd was formed in 1937 as a joint venture of Rolls-Royce and Bristol. The name, a combination of “Rolls-Royce” and “Bristol,” was suggested by the wife of a Bristol employee being transferred to the new enterprise. This Rotol propeller blade was likely manufactured by Jablo Propeller, a small wood blade company.
A British shortage of duralumin material during World War II led to application of the Schwarz process, where special machinery pressed a hard metal mesh coating and cellulose sheet over the entire propeller primarily consisting of soft wood, usually pine or fir, to produce very hard composite wood blades.
In the post-war period, with the metal material shortage ended, so did application of wood blades for the Spitfire. In 1958 Bristol and Rolls-Royce sold Rotol to the Dowty Group. Today Dowty Rotol is one of the world’s leading propeller manufacturers.
Collection Item Long Description:
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- Type: Three-Blade, Constant-Speed, Wood and Metal
- Diameter: 320 cm (126 in.)
- Chord: 26.7 cm (10.5 in.)
- Engine Application: Rolls-Royce Merlin
Country of Origin
- Copper Alloy
- 3-D: 160 x 26.7 x 17.1cm (63 x 10 1/2 x 6 3/4 in.)
- Storage: 201.9 x 66.7 x 52.7cm (79 1/2 x 26 1/4 x 20 3/4 in.)