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Old 12-04-2007, 06:05 AM   #1
Daegan
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Default Royal Naval Air Service propellers

Hello all,

I've been lucky enough to inherit two old propellers recently; they were my great grandfathers who served in the Royal Naval Air Service in the first World War (amalgamated into the RAF in 191, and I was always told that they were from seaplanes (makes sense to me). I have always liked them, but only now have I had a really good look at them, and realised that I might be able to find out a bit more about them from the markings that I've found on the hubs. Needless to say, I was very pleased to find this discussion forum, and would be very grateful if anyone might be able to help me with this. Anything at all that you can say about them, would be helpful!

Ok, so onto the details. Neither is in perfect condition, but frankly, I consider myself very lucky to have them at all...

Propeller 1: Two bladed, all wood, Measures 9 feet 8 inches long. Has decals on each blade with an eagle above some hangars, and the logo "The Brush Electrical Engineering Co. Ltd, Loughborough, England. Falcon Works."

On the front of the hub also is engraved "The Brush Elec. Eng. Co. Ltd. Loughborough. P.2.38, D.2.9, No. 189."

On the side of the hub is "80 HP WOL. REN." and on the back is a stamp "ADP" in a circle. There are 8 bolt holes in the hub, hub diameter is 8 inches across, inner diameter is 2 3/4 inches.

Hopefully the photos will work:










Propeller 2: I was told that this one came from a crashed plane, and has been cut down, so it's only around 6 feet long now. Its a bigger prop though (wider blades and hub - hub diamter is 10 inches), but has been modified to take a ships clock... A shame for the purists, but should be
interesting to research the ship. It still has half of ships name and its home-port (Southampton) visible. The rest has been rubbed off by 90 + years of winding. Even better though, it runs beautifully!

What is still visible on the front of the hub is that same stamp "ADP" in a circle, and the code 3 S93. On the side of the hub is engraved: 10 FT - 9 INS DIA, 67.58 PITCH, 225HP SUNBEAM. Oh and there are 10 bolt holes in it.











(Anyone know anything about clocks?)

I would be really interested in any help that anyone can give me with these. I have recently tracked down my great-grandad's service record, and even found an old picture of him in uniform, so you can imagine how special these propellers are to me - a real link with the past.

If you've read all this, thanks for your interest...

Cheers
Daegan.
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Old 12-04-2007, 03:24 PM   #2
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Thanks for posting the pics. The first one is very nice, the only drawback being the modification of the hub where it's carved out. I don't know what it was fitted to, but I suspect that Bob Gardner might have a good idea. I know he'll be interested in the decal.
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Old 12-06-2007, 04:16 PM   #3
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Hello Daegan,

Your first prop is an early RNAS prop from a Maurice Farman training aircraft. The diameter is 2900mm and the pitch 2380mm. On your prop this is expressed in metres, which I haven't seen on a British prop before. Perhaps it was done to save space on the periphery of the hub. The engine was an 80hp Renault design built under licence by Wolseley. The absence of any metal sheathing confirms that this is not from a flying boat or sea plane.

Although I have the Brush decal in my collection (and hence my book on British props) I don't have an example of the Brush stamping around the hub. Might I use this in my book, with a credit to you? Perhaps you could tell me the rank and name of your Grandfather, and where he served, for my database.

I'll be back with details of the other prop soon,

With regards,

Bob
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Old 12-06-2007, 04:55 PM   #4
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Daegan,

Your second prop is difficult to identify but I can probably get close by a process of elimination. The Sunbeam engine was called the Maori and the 225hp version was an early version of the engine. It powered many RNAS aircraft, almost all of which had four blades, not the two that yours has. Many of these four bladed props were 3250mm in diameter (10ft 9ins).

The only possibility is a Short 184 Sea Plane, drg number AD566, for which there are no data on prop size.

The pitch recorded as 67.58, is a problem. If this is in inches it represents a pitch of 1700mm, which is vanishingly unlikely. If it represents 6ft 7.58inches, this translates as around 2000mm which is more reasonable. Again this pitch is not recorded with any of the above data, but the Short 184 with a 240hp Renault engine had a pitch of 2050mm, which is pretty close.

So, I conclude that your prop was from a Sea Plane, the Short 184, fitted with the Maori 225hp Sunbeam engine with diameter of 3250mm (10ft 9ins) and a pitch of around 2000mm (6 feet 7.5ins), the details of which no longer exist completely in the surviving records.

It's drg no is probably AD566. The number S93 might be a previously unrecorded Short drg no. It fits in their sequence of numbers.

Are there any other numbers lurking anywhere on this prop, no matter how small or indistinct?

With regards,

Bob
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Old 12-07-2007, 04:35 AM   #5
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Wow, thanks so much Bob - a fantastic level of detail, I'm amazed that so much can be made from apparently so little!

You would be most welcome to include the hub details of the Brush prop in your book, I can try and take a better photo for you if that want one?

As for additional numbers on the second prop, I don't think so, but will have a thorough look later and get back to you. I'll post the details of my great-grandfather as well.

Thanks again, I'm going to go off and do some reading on the Short 184 and Maurice Farman aircraft!

Daegan.
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Old 12-07-2007, 07:25 AM   #6
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Hi Daegan,

I don't need any additional photographs. Yours are top flight compared with many that I see. I'll amend my book. It's produced in CD format, so is constantly updated as I find new information. I'll e-mail you the revised section on Brush propellers.

By the way, I regret to mention that the name on the dial of the clock is the retailer, not the name of a naval ship.

With thanks,

Bob
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Old 12-07-2007, 07:29 AM   #7
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Daegan,

An afterthought. Let me know your e-mail address. Don't publish it here on the forum or you'll get loads more spam. Add it to your profile or e-mail it to me using the box at the bottom left of this message.

Bob
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Old 12-08-2007, 10:47 AM   #8
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Hello again,

Bob - After a thorough search of the Sunbeam prop, I'm afraid that there are no other numbers or markings that I can find. Just the ADP stamp - any idea what that stands for (Air Department something or other?)

My great-grandfather, Thomas Abel Parker, who brought these props home with him, left the RAF in 1919 as a Captain in the technical branch - prior to their amalgamation into the RAF, he was a Lieutenant in the RNAS. He was posted to the Admiralty, and then the Air Ministry. I'll post a picture of him below:



You have a good point about the clock bearing the retailer's name rather than a ship - do you know what the company is? I had wondered if it might be a makers name, but thought that Southampton was most likely to be a home port... Oh well.

I'd love to see any info you have on the Brush Co. Bob - I will email you as suggested.

I looked up the Short 184 - looks to be a pretty interesting machine, involved in one or two important battles too (including Jutland I read somewhere), but the Maurice Farman planes were a real eye-opener for me! The pilots flying those really look like they were taking their lives in their hands, but Iguess they were easy to fly or they wouldn't have been used as trainers. I hadn't previously noticed that the two props were oriented in different directions, but the penny dropped when I saw that the MF planes used 'pusher' type props. (I found this photo below of one in an Australian museum...)



An amazing bit of machinery. Hats off to those early fliers!

Cheers,
Daegan.
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Old 12-08-2007, 12:53 PM   #9
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Hi Daegan,

Many thanks for posting the photo of your great-grandfather. It adds a dimension to the photographs of the props. If you can e-mail me the photo at as a high a resolution as possible, I'll put it through my repair sofware which will get rid of some of the blemishes and restore it to some extent.

With regards,

Bob
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Old 12-08-2007, 01:04 PM   #10
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And as a postscript (and as a guide to other forumites) the Farman prop has a sale value of around 1000 to 1200 gbp (around $2200 usd). If the center had not been 'excavated' it would be a little more. If restored and sold by a dealer it would be worth around 1900 gbp ($3800 usd) and this is its insurance value.

The Short prop has lost most of its two blades and has a clock inserted in the hub which reduces its value to 100-200 gbp ($300 usd or so).

With regards,

Bob
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