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Westmoore Propeller for Curtiss R9 Seaplane

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  • Westmoore Propeller for Curtiss R9 Seaplane

    Hi everyone,

    I am happy to find a forum specific to collecting props.

    I collect a lot of old things like cars, firearms, pocket watches, books, etc., and now I want to start collecting some old vintage props.

    I have always had a great interest in aircraft due to growing up in Dayton, OH and being exposed to all its rich aeronautical history and an uncle who was a Air Force pilot so its already "in the blood" so to speak.

    While I can read all day long about what to look for, I need some real world expert eyes to take a look see.

    Thanks in advance and I look forward to spending some time here.
    Last edited by TCT1911; 10-15-2013, 01:43 PM.

  • #2
    I actually think that this is a good buy at its present bid amount, and am having a little trouble understanding why it hasn't had any bids. I think the fact that there have only been 55 views of it (I would have expected 10 times that number) means that it is not showing up in the typical search for a wooden propeller. I suspect THAT is due to the fact the "wooden" is left out of the item description.

    The Westmoore company is well known as a manufacturer during WW1, the decals and the rest of the prop appear completely authentic, and it seems to be in original condition. By a stroke of good fortune the "Lindbergh" stuff is painted on the rear of the propeller and does not detract much from its value as a display prop (and adds nothing, IMHO, to its actual value). The drawing numbers and the NASM letter appear completely legit to me.

    I have owned two of these, although frankly none had decals even though they were in original condition (different manufacturers). Both sold privately for considerably more than this current opening bid, one to person with a well recognized name associated with the Arts that I want to keep confidential. I sold another Westmoore propeller for a Thomas Morse Scout for just under $4000.

    See this page for a description that discusses the drawing numbers. The Curtiss R4 and R9 used basically the same propeller.


    • #3
      Westmoore Propeller for WW1 Curtiss USN R9 Seaplane / circa 1917/18/19

      Picture of prop. (more pictures on page 2)

      Attached Files
      Last edited by TCT1911; 10-15-2013, 01:44 PM.


      • #4
        Thanks to a few emails from Dave and a lot of reading, I made my first purchase. I think it may have been a really good one too.

        Now the research begins to further dig into the props history.

        I picked up a Westmoore 1919, wood airplane Propeller from a Curtiss R-9 Seaplane.
        Last edited by TCT1911; 07-26-2013, 09:45 AM.


        • #5
          Westmoore Propeller from a WW1 Curtiss R-9 Seaplane

          I just purchased (but not taken delivery yet) of my first vintage propeller.

          It is a Westmoore Propeller from a WW1 Curtiss R-9 Seaplane.

          What I would like to do with this thread is share the information I currently have and future research as I find it.

          Some of the things I may post may not be directly relaited to the prop but info I dug up that could have been a lead but didn't really result in any connection.

          Original auction description...

          Up for auction is this Westmoore, vintage Circa 1919, wood airplane Propeller.

          It measures 115" long x 11" wide at the bottom of the hub, and is made on mahogany with

          brass tips. According to a letter from The Smithsonian Institution, Dated 1970, the Propeller was

          originally used on a WWI, 400HP Liberty Engine, for a Curtiss R-9 Seaplane. The R-9 had provisions

          for fuselage bomb racks and a Lewis Gun Mount in the rear cockpit. This propeller may have been part of a

          Lindbergh celebration held in Atlantic City, N,J, in 1927 to honor him on a visit. The propeller is in very good

          condition with some minor nicks and dents. It is definitely of museum quality and a nice piece of aviation history.

          On one side of the propeller is stamped " Lindbergh 1927 ", the other side is stamped "Atlantic City 1927 ". The

          propeller was featured in a 2003 Detroit News article with the previous owner, who had taken it to a nationally known

          auction house for an appraisal. That newspaper article will be included in the sale.
          Last edited by TCT1911; 08-04-2013, 01:37 PM.


          • #6
            And the letter...
            Attached Files


            • #7
              Congratulations. I would have bought it myself under different circumstances, and there's the potential that further research and documentation could further escalate its value signficantly.

              In looking at the two Curtiss R4 propellers that I have sold in the past (same design as the R9) I realized that BOTH propellers went to people whose last names will be recognizable to most everyone (although I'm not in a position to disclose them).

              No need to create a new thread. Add the content here and then I'll change the title so it's easily searchable. (It's always easier to keep related posts all in the same thread.)


              • #8
                So far I have found a few things like Charles Lindbergh visited Atlantic City in 1927 as part of a tour after his famous flight.

                He stayed at the 600 room Ritz Carlton Hotel opened in 1921 at Iowa Avenue. Hotel still exists but converted to condo's. Picture attached is of the Ritz.

                After his arrival at Bader Field, Lindbergh’s next public appearance was a testimonial dinner at the Chelsea Hotel. About 900 people packed the assembly hall for what was the social event of the season. The Chelsea Hotel opened in 1899.

                I also noticed the symbol for the Shriners. I will see if I can tie that together as well.

                Info posted on Wikipedia about the Curtiss Model R...


                More info...


                Some research done before on another forum about the R-9's...




                "U.S. Military Aircraft Designations and Serials since 1909" compiled by John Andrade and published by Midland Counties Publications of the U.K. in 1979. This book lists the Army, Air force and Navy serial numbers (not the manufacturer's serial numbers) assigned by aircraft type, and it includes a word or two about each aircraft type.

                For the undesignated aircraft, which are the ones built between 1909 and 1919, the listings for the Curtiss R planes include the following: "The R-9 was the bomber version of the R-6, with the pilot relocated in the front cockpit; the US Navy received 40 (BuA 302 -341). ten of which were handed over to the U.S. Army and re-serialed ( 39035 - 39042, 39748 ), and a few R-6 were converted to R-9." There is also a mention that the R-6 and R-9 had three-bay wings which was a modification from the R-4 which I assume had two-bay wings. It also mentions that some R-6 were upgraded with 200 horsepower Liberty engines which made them R-6L while all of the R-9 were fitted with this more powerful engine.

                Most of this reference tracks with the Bowers information kindly shared by Baclightning, but there is a discrepancy between the references in the numbers produced with Andrade saying the total was 40 being built for the U.S. Navy of which 10 were given to the Army Air Service while Bowers reports 112 being built for the U.S. Navy of which 10 were given to the Army Air Service. The question then becomes which reference is accurate? My first thought is that the Andrade source backs up his totals with specific Navy and Air Service serial numbers for the the R-9 aircraft and this gives me a bit more confidence in these numbers. Off the top oc my head I suppose that perhaps the Bowers number includes the R-6 aircraft that were converted to the R-9 bomber configurations, but that would mean that 72 of the 176 R-6 aircraft built by Curtiss were converted to R-9 which seems to me to be a very high number. On the other hand this might also be the root of the conflicting sources on whether it was the Curtiss R-6 or the R-9 that was the first U.S. built military aircraft to be used in World War I. It could be that both answers are accurate if the aircraft were R-9 converted from R-6 configuration.

                R-9 (Model 2A) 1917 = USN bomber version of R-6 with pilot controls moved to the friont seat.

                10 [A883/887, A901/905], which were transferred to Army in 1918 [AS39033/39042].



                Curtiss R9
                Development of the R4 with a 200hp Liberty engine. Had the
                distinction of being the first US built military aircraft
                to serve abroad. (not sure if that is accurate or not)

                112 were built for the US Navy.

                10 of them being transferred to the US Army in February 1918.

                A reference book I need to read...

                United States Naval Aviation 1919-1941

                Just picked a copy of this...

                Curtiss Aircraft, 1907-1947

                May want a copy of this...

                United States Military Aircraft Designations and Serials Since 1909

                A wonderful resource for old aircraft pics of all kinds (including a few R9's)

                San Diego Air & Space Museum Archives

                R9 pics from SD Archives

                Few pictures of a Curtiss but cannot tell if its a R6 or R9.


                Navy Museum...

       (A lot of pics of R6L's, and R9's in their photo collection) (sent request for details on 8-2-13)

                Navel Museum Response 9-24-13...

                We have reviewed your attachment relating to the Propeller from a Navy
                bomber of WW I vintage. We cannot add anything to the research you have already initiated. We further have no information on any propeller
                relationship to Charles Lindbergh, Atlantic City, or the Shriners. Sorry

                Westmoore Propeller factory
                308-324 N. Ada Street
                Chicago, IL

                South Atlantic Shriners...


                Curtiss Museum...

       (sent request for details on 8-2-13)

                Reply from Curtiss museum...

                I'm sorry but we do not have any information other than general specs on the R-9 found in Bowers Curtiss Aircraft 1907-1947.
                Rick Leisenring
                Glenn H. Curtiss Museum of Local History

       (review this...maybe some Curtiss R's in it.

                The Museum of Flight. (they have a research department that includes 2+ million photo's) (email sent requesting research on 8-01-13)



       Research site...

                Smithsonian Air and Space Museum...

                Archives... (email sent requesting research on 8-02-13)

                Historic Aircraft Restoration Museum


                Library of Congress Photo Archives...


                Dedication site...


                A plastic model of a R-9. My next purchase.
                Attached Files
                Last edited by TCT1911; 02-20-2015, 04:38 PM.


                • #9
                  Bader Field / Atlantic City Research 1927....

         (follow timeline to 1927)

                  Flying Fearless Airshow Exhibit (air show in Atlantic City that has been going on for 100+ years)

                  Atlantic City Historical Museum


         (site currently down... maybe due to storm damage as Museum is also currently closed)

                  Local press archives...


                  Atlantic City Historic Photo's...


                  CL stayed at the Ritz Carlton Hotel.

                  Testimonial dinner at the Chelsea Hotel.

                  Atlantic City Library

                  Attached Files
                  Last edited by TCT1911; 08-03-2013, 10:58 AM.


                  • #10
                    A minor obeservation.

                    With respect to Atlantic City, Bader Field might have been the first airfield in America but not in the world. Rheims in France is generally regarded as the first airfield, in the sense that several aeroplanes gathered there in August 1909. (Brooklands in Britain opened in 1907 although at that time the first flight in Britain had not taken place.) Johannisthal in Berlin was next in September 1909. These dates reflect that France, mainly, and Germany in some respects, were the leaders in aircraft development at this time. Bader Field opened in 1910.

                    With kind regards,

                    Bob Gardner
                    Author; WW1 British Propellers, WWI German Propellers


                    • #11
                      I've landed at Bader Field, which is now closed. With the wind from the west you'd fly right past the windows of the casino hotels on the approach. The airport was a dump, though, and I worried about even leaving the plane unattended there while I walked to the casino.


                      • #12

                        Thanks for the additional info. The link above provides some additional history and pictures.
                        Last edited by TCT1911; 08-05-2020, 11:03 AM.


                        • #13
                          I have a news article that came with the prop.

                          Prop was found in Barn in Mount Clemons, MI. (a suburb of Detroit, MI)

                          Research on Mount Clemons and any connection...

                          The record-setting pioneer was born Feb. 4, 1902, to Charles and Evangeline Lodge Lindbergh. He was born at an uncle's house at 1220 W. Forest, in what is now Detroit's Midtown, but raised in Minnesota.

                          Shockingly, his birthplace was torn down in 1965, a victim of urban renewal. An Associated Press story at the time says the City Planning Commission declared the famed aviator's birthplace "undistinguished." A housing development sits on the site today.

                          Selfridge Field, Mount Clemens, Michigan (Historic Air National Guard airfield...opened 1917)

                          1902-February 4 Charles Lindbergh's Birth in Detroit, Michigan on the site where the David Whitney Building now stands. When it came time to give birth to her son Evangeline returned to Detroit, Michigan to be under the care of her grandfather, Dr. Edwin Lodge, a respected physician. Charles was born in his uncle Edwin's three story brownstone at 1220 West Forest.

                          The Selfridge Military Air Museum and Air Park, located on Selfridge Air National Guard Base near Mount Clemens Michigan



                          On May 20, Lindbergh took off in the Spirit of St. Louis from Roosevelt Field, near New York City, at 7:52 A.M. He landed at Le Bourget Field, near Paris, on May 21 at 10:21 P.M. Paris time (5:21 P.M. New York time). Thousands of cheering people had gathered to meet him. He had flown more than 3,600 miles (5,790 kilometers) in 33 1/2 hours.
                          Attached Files
                          Last edited by TCT1911; 08-04-2020, 03:06 PM.


                          • #14
                            Shriner research.

                            Contacted Shriner International and they gave me contact info for...

                            Crescent Shriners, which is located in Westampton, New Jersey. They were founded in 1907 so there may be hope of digging up some history with them.


                            This group hosted what was called "Imperial Session for 1927" in June of 1927.

                            Crescent Shriner history book 1904-1954...


                            Lindbergh's visit was in October. (His historic flight was in late May)


                            Crescent Temple...


                            NJ preservation...


                            As of this posting I am in contact with the NJ Shriners and waiting for any info they may have.

                            New Jersey for the 53rd Annual Imperial Council Session held at the Hotel Chelsea Auditorium in Atlantic City, NJ on June 13, 1927. (could the prop have been used during this gathering in anticipation to his visit?)

                            Historic site for Freemasonry...


                            Lindbergh connection with the Masons....

                            In St. Louis, where the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers flow together, Lindbergh joined the Craft. Most famous Masons joined the fraternity before coming to world notice, and Lindbergh was no exception. He completed his degrees in Keystone Lodge Number 243, A. F. & A. M. of Missouri, in December of 1926, months before the flight that was to bring him world renown.
                            At the time, he was working as a mail pilot for Robertson Aircraft Corporation and already planning his trans-Atlantic flight in pursuit of the Orteig prize. Reading Lindbergh's own accounts of his experiences in 1926-27, one is struck by how thoroughly busy he was, making his efforts on acquiring the Masonic degrees more remarkable. During that period, he engaged in negotiations with aircraft manufacturers for the construction of the plane that was to be named The Spirit of St. Louis, flew the mail regularly between St. Louis and Chicago, and survived several parachute landings when bad weather forced him to ditch the mail plane. Only once did he fail to recover the mail bags and send them on by train.

                            Lindbergh's biographers, including Lindbergh himself, make essentially no mention of his connection with Masonry. Perhaps it was that he, like many other Masons, carried the duty of secrecy beyond that which is actually required. We do know that he wore the Square and Compasses on his historic flight and the plane bore a Masonic emblem; he also later joined the National Sojourners in St. Louis and the Sciots in San Diego.

                            All Shriners are Masons.
                            To be a Shriner you must first be a Mason. Until a few years ago one had to be a Mason and either a Knight Templar of the York Rite of Freemasonry or a 32ned degree Scottish Rite Mason but that extra requirement was dropped as Shrine membership decreased. Given their tendency to have rather raucous conventions Shriners are often known among other Masons as Drunken Masons. The vast majority of Masons are not Shriners but all Shriners are Masons.

                            Picture of Chelsea Hotel early 1900's...
                            Attached Files
                            Last edited by TCT1911; 01-09-2018, 10:46 AM.


                            • #15
                              At this rate I suspect you're going to come across something that "clicks". Keep us posted. It's an excellent prop with or without the 1927 event.