Trophy Top, Flying Boat, Curtiss Marine Flying Trophy

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 Long Description:

The Curtiss Marine Flying Trophy is a monumental sterling silver sculptured allegorical portrayal of "The Triumph of Wings Over the Dominating Elements". It is supported on a large, tiered circular base of mottled yellowish-white onyx highlighted with reddish brown veining throughout and having a polished surface.

The trophy formed as an angry swirling sea, spiring upward to support the globe atop the fierce cresting waves and flanked on either side with large cast figures of Neptune, the Ruler of the Waves, opposite Boreas, the Ruler of the Winds, each gazing upward at a billowing mass of cumulus clouds above which soars a flying boat.

Neptune is depicted by a strongly cast figure rising from the sea, with aquatic plants clinging to his hair and body as he intently graps a large net which girds the base. Within his snare is the vast spectrum of marine craft throughout the ages as portrayed by a oar-propelled Viking ship with fierce monster figurehead emerging from the depths of the sea trailing its neighbor, a representation of Christopher Columbus' "Santa Maria" with her many sails catching the breezes as she passes. Also within the control of the marine ruler are a submarine breaking the surface, a luxury liner, a yacht and a superdreadnaught, all ensnared within his nets and worked in finely detailed scale models. Despite all the marine craft within his clutch, Neptune focuses his attention to the soaring flying bnoat rising well above his outstretched arm and eager fingers. His face betrays his astonishment.

Opposite, and slightly above, is the figure of Boreas with his wings still outstretched behind him as he leans forward on the globe as he looks upward with his cheeks swollen with air as he blows vigorously. He too stretches his arm upward to grasp the elusive aircraft.

The onyx base is bordered with a band of sterling silver shields, some of which are engraved with the names of the winners of the Trophy, the date and the details of the race, and center at the front a rectangular plaque reading "THE CURTISS MARINE FLYING TROPHY" in large block letters and set between raised bird wings.

The Curtiss Marine Flying Trophy was created from a theme conceived by Mr. Henry Woodhouse and executed by the Gorham Manufacturing Company under the direction and sponsorship of Theodore B. Starr, Inc., of New York, New York. The trophy has been sensitively designed and skillfully modeled, and orked in expressive and characteristic detailing throughout.

This Trophy was given by Mr. Glenn H. Curtiss in 1915 to the Aero Clubs of America and originally was intended to be given annually by that organisation for a race by seaplanes and flying boats, and was to be accompanied by a cash prize.

Charles H. Carpenter, Jr. in his book "Gorham Silver 1831-1981" makes no reference to this trophy and it is quite possible that he was unaware of the present location of it at the time his book was in preparation.