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Old 03-16-2013, 01:28 PM   #1
gcrob
 
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Default Airship propeller/

Hi all

I have in my possession an airship propeller that has been verified to be that of the German airship Schutte-Lanz SL 11 which was the first airship shot down over Cuffley, England by William Leefe Robinson in 1914.

I will be appearing on the Antiques Roadshow in the next few weeks where they verified the story and the propeller. I have owned this propeller for over 50 years where it has sat in my shed!

I was wondering if anybody had any contacts that deal specifically in zeppelin/airships as I am looking to sell this...?

If anyone would like more information or pictures please let me know...

Many thanks for your time

G
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Old 03-16-2013, 06:31 PM   #2
Dave
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Cool!

Can you just post the pictures here? It's fairly easy to do, or send a few to me at dbahnson at gmail dot com and I'll post them here.
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Old 03-17-2013, 06:52 AM   #3
gcrob
 
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Hi Dave

I think this has worked...? If not will email directly to you...

Also- a brief history of William Leefe Robinson and the event...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leefe_Robinson

Many thanks
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Old 03-17-2013, 06:54 AM   #4
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Another...
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Old 03-17-2013, 09:34 PM   #5
Garuda
 
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Default Propeller

Hi gcrob,

Welcome to the forum!

Thank you very much for posting the photos. The blade looks very much as though it's from an Axial propeller, 2.62 m diameter, and fitted to a 110 HP Oberursal rotary engine. Are there any stamps on the hub? If my suspicion is correct the distance between the centre of the hole in the centre and the tip of the propeller blade will be 1.31 m. The centre hole should be 80 mm diameter and there should be 8 bolt holes for the bolts which secure the propeller to the hub, which should be 10 mm in diameter, spaced at 150 mm diameter. The propeller should be 140 mm thick at the centre.

Regards,

David.
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Old 03-18-2013, 05:23 PM   #6
gcrob
 
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Thanks for your reply...

I haven't had the chance to verify your measurements as of yet but have the stampings....

22428
AXIAL
1 DUL (B or UG
260 P.S D310 ST180
TP999

Not too sure if the third line is an 8 or a B

Does this seem to correspond with my findings? Do you know what these stampings would mean?

Many thanks

G
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Old 03-18-2013, 07:44 PM   #7
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Hi G,

I was thinking about your propeller blade and I thought that I should add a few comments to clarify what I have already said.

Although it immediately reminded me of an Axial propeller made for a 110 HP Oberursal UR.II, I had completely forgotten that Axial made several different designs which at least at a glance appear to be scaled vesions of each other. The information you supplied certainly indicates that it is from an airship or at least a heavy bomber. If it has been verified as having been fitted to SL 11, it certainly appears that this could be the case! It was not my intention to say that it is not from SL 11, it's just that the size and shape indicated at first glance a smaller rotary engined propeller, made at the other end of the war. It occurred to me later that I have seen other propellers made by Axial which are virtually identical in shape, but larger, as yours is. The only concern I have is that every other Axial propeller I have seen which was made at the beginning of the war has had scimitar shaped blades. The distinctively shaped blade you have I had, until now believed was first used in 1917. I have seen it fitted to Mercedes D.IIIa engines. To give you an idea of the differences in diameter, a propeller for a 110 HP rotary engine is typically 2.62m in diameter, a propeller for a 180 HP Mercedes D.IIIa is around 2.7 to 2.8m if I recall correctly, and the 3.1 m diameter you have provided in your transcript of the text of the stamps, along with the fact that it is for a 260 HP engine and has a pitch of 1.8 m absolutely rules out the possibility that this propeller was fitted to anything smaller than a heavy bomber or an airship.

Although there are members here who have a much better knowledge than I do about the stamps found on blades and hubs I think I can decipher all of the text you have provided. I'm sure other members will comment if I have mis - represented or eliminated anything.

22428 is the serial number.
Axial is the brand, a well known WW1 German propeller manufacturer.
1 DUL (B or UG) might be EDUBZUG, which I am quite sure means tractor (as opposed to pusher).
260 P.S. is 260 Horse Power. D310 means that the diameter is 310 cm (3.1 m). ST180 means that the pitch, the distance the propeller travels forward with each revolution is 180 cm (1.8 m).
TP999 would mean type 999, which, along with the shape seems to indicate a propeller built later than 1914, but I don't want to say that it wasn't built in 1914, and that it's not from SL 11! I certainly hope it is from SL 11! There certainly were very many pieces souvenired from it, but I thought that the airship was badly burned. Admittedly I might be thinking of another airship crash. I've got years of research on different computers, but finding it all and collating it is going to be an absolutely massive task, so I can't give you a definitive answer about this just at the moment.

Another point I had overlooked is that as far as I know Axial stamped the information you have supplied on the blades of their propellers, when other companies stamped the information on the hub of their propellers. Given that the information you supplied confirms that the propeller blade you have is indeed from an airship (or at the very least a heavy bomber) the measurements I supplied will not be correct. The centre hole will probably be larger and the diameter of the bolt holes will almost certainly be larger than the figure I quoted. Given that the pitch is 1.8 m the propeller will almost certainly be thicker than the 140 mm I quoted.

Just this morning I have set a much better computer up, and I can now clearly see that the arrangement of bolt holes is quite complicated! There are numerous holes of different diameters, which is certainly indicitave of the 260 HP engine specified in the stamps.

I have seen propellers which are supposedly from Zeppelins and / or other airships, and they are absolutely huge! I have some measurements somewhere, but the pair of propellers I am thinking about are 4.3 m in diameter! It is possible that earlier airship propellers were closer in size, as yours is to a more typical propeller. Just yesterday I saw a reference to an airship propeller which is about 3.1 m in diameter, but I can't remember where I saw it! It would be interesting to know when 260 HP engines were introduced, which would also help to date, and hopefully confirm the provenance of your propeller blade. I've probably got that information somewhere, but I am not sure where I would even start to look for it.

What was the process used to verify that your propeller is from SL 11?

Regards and thank you very much for letting us know about your fabulous propeller!

David.

Last edited by Garuda; 03-18-2013 at 10:45 PM.
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Old 03-18-2013, 08:25 PM   #8
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I've just found, during my daily search for photos on eBay, and without specifically looking for it, a photo of a typical Zeppelin crash. Note the utter destruction, which would have been caused by the intense fire as the gases contained in the envelope ignited. Surviving relics almost always indicate the same thing.

I realise that this photo is not of the crash of SL 11, but it is typical of the destruction caused by the intense fire which almost certainly resulted each time such an airship was shot down. I probably have some photos of the crash of SL 11, so I will have a look for them. It might take me quite some time though!

I also note that you have supplied a link to a description of the event, so I will have a look!

Regards,

David.
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Old 03-18-2013, 10:56 PM   #9
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Hi,
Quote:
Originally Posted by Garuda View Post
Hi G,
.../...
Just this morning I have set a much better computer up, and I can now clearly see that the arrangement of bolt holes is quite complicated! There are numerous holes of different diameters, which is certainly indicitave of the 260 HP engine specified in the stamps.

.../...
David.
The bolt holes pattern is a "standard" 8 bolts for this kind of power (260 HP). The prop has its metallic hub on, and the 8 bolt heads are clearly visible on the 2nd picture in the periphery. Other holes are the lightening holes of the front and rear plates!

Apart from this, the SL11 airship had four Maybach engines...Could gcrob post a clear picture of the markings?

Regards,
PM
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Old 03-19-2013, 12:39 AM   #10
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Hi PM,

I just realised that the jumble of what look to me like holes are more likely to be witness marks, or as you say in this case the propeller still has its' hub plates fixed. I'll have another look and see if I can see the 8 bolt heads you refer to. Even with the better computer and a much bigger screen I was not able to see the detail particularly clearly. I too am very interested to see clear photos of the markings.

It's very interesting that SL 11 had Maybach engines. Were they rated at 260 HP?

Regards,

David.
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