No announcement yet.

Advice sought pls, I'm new.

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Advice sought pls, I'm new.

    Hi everyone, I'm new here.
    I've acquired a wooden (mahogany) propellor which has four blades and various stamped figures/numbers and was wondering if anyone would mind helping me identify it.
    It's 91.5cm in diameter. Stamped around the central boss is: DRG CD40597 15282 and FT/S within a circle with some inspection stamps. (The 'C' might be a 'G', hard to tell).
    Not sure if I'm allowed to ask for this sort of advice here - apologies if I've got it wrong.

  • #2
    Ask away. That's basically why we're here.

    I don't recognize the numbering system, but it's shorter than most of the early wooden propellers. On the other hand it seems large for an auxiliary prop, although that's still a real possibility.

    Posting a picture might help, and maybe Bob or some others will have some ideas.


    • #3
      Hi Dom,

      It's British and from WW2 and the 1950's. It is an auxilliary prop, from a target tug such as the Defiant and Battle. It provided electric power to winch the target drogue in and out. For aircraft safety the target was towed up to half a mile behind the aircraft and a powerful winch was needed to let it out and bring it back in.

      Your prop was housed within the aircraft fuselage and lowered into the slipstream when required.

      Some years ago someone sold one on eBay, not knowing what it was but making a correct guess that it was a large aux prop; and hence concluded that it was from a Zeppelin. For the next few years each one sold was thus described. Zeppelins didn't have aux props. They weren't much use at thirty miles an hour. Each engine had an alternator.

      With kind regards,

      Bob Gardner
      Author; WW1 British Propellers, WWI German Propellers


      • #4

        Thanks Bob & Dave,
        That's very helpful.
        I thought it may have been an auxilliary prop and I bought it because I liked the fact that it had four blades - more visually appealing, to my mind.
        Thanks again for your help.


        • #5
          Upload a photo if you can.

          It's nice to have in the archive.


          • #6

            I'm sorry to see you advertising this aux prop on eBay as possibly from a Zeppelin/Airship etc when we specifically told you that it wasn't.

            Bob Gardner
            Author; WW1 British Propellers, WWI German Propellers


            • #7
              Yikes! Bad vibes.

              Do you have the eBay listing link, Bob? I can't find it.


              • #8

                Hang on chaps, not only from your good selves did I take advice on this but also from others who are au fait with these types of early to mid 20th century items.
                With respect and without wanting to disparage your undoubted collective knowledge, it sounds like you might be seeing yourselves as the absolute oracle on these matters.
                None of us are infallible, which is why I have given a fairly broad spectrum of possibilities for the propellors origin and use, it is up to potential buyers/bidders to satisfy themselves as to the history of the thing, if indeed they are interested what it was originally used for - some people just want a nice vintage item to adorn their home or garage wall with.
                Once again I sincerely thank you for the advice given freely to me on this particular prop however I would strongly urge you to resist the temptation to be overly dogmatic in your approach.


                • #9

                  Kind of harsh exchange there!

                  I am not especially "au fait" about American and English propellers, but one thing is sure: if the picture below, from two eBay pics, is from the prop of this thread, it could not be an "early" prop. The markings on a circle around the hub and the digits at the blade roots ("1", "2", "3" and "4") were not in use in the "early" times.

                  From the geometry of the central hole, the size of the prop and the relative placement of intrado and extrado, and the presence (?: not seen, could you show them?) of airworthy stamps, it could be:
                  - a small pusher for a drone,
                  - an auxilliary prop.
                  And nothing else.

                  If you give a close look at the bolt holes, it is clear that the prop had originaly only 4 of them, the ones with red arrows. The other 4 had been made later, and from their wrong geometry, they had to be done by a person ignorant of propeller mounting:
                  - quite all props have their bolt holes on a circle, and, IMHO, never on a square,
                  - and it is not a "special work" because the 4 added holes had been placed unevenly, and that shows a very poor work, which can't be airworthy.

                  So, believe what you want, but suggesting this prop could be "early" is not honest. And it is not "original" with its 4 added holes.

                  Just IMHO, from a French amateur...


                  • #10
                    Pierre-Michel; you are correct. Well spotted; these props have a four bolt fitting.


                    I don't think of myself as dogmatic. Perhaps you are right and I am. I offer some facts for you to consider.

                    Firstly, the markings are British. Why would, and how could, the German Zeppelins use a British prop?
                    Secondly; why do these props only appear for sale in Britain and never in Germany.
                    Thirdly, they are fairly common in that about two a year appear on eBay and at auction in England. Genuine parts of Zeppelins are exceedingly rare.

                    If you do not think I am authorative on British propellers, the RAF Museum has two examples, both in the reserve collection at Stafford. Here is their description;

                    Object Title
                    Windmill, Wooden, Four Bladed/Target Towing Equipment/Aircraft Fitting, External/Aircraft Structure, Fittings and Equipment/Specific Names and References

                    Full Classification

                    Subject Object
                    Windmill, Wooden, Four Bladed
                    Hawker Henley (Mark unknown)
                    Miles Martinet (Mark unknown)

                    Subject Concept

                    Object Location (C=Cosford, H=Hendon, S=Stafford)

                    Aircraft & Exhibits

                    Object Number

                    If you go to the RAF Museum website and find their Navigator search engine and type into the Quick Search the word windmill you will find 56 examples of windmills, as these auxilliary blades are called, two of which are similar to yours.

                    Note that the RAFM attributes them to only 1939-45 and only to the target tugs Hawker Henley and the Miles Martinet. During the war, and after, several obsolete but serviceable aircraft were converted into target tugs as well. This was cheaper and quicker than commissioning a purpose-designed target tug such as the Henley. These aircraft also are likely to have used this prop to power their winches.

                    Last edited by Bob Gardner; 06-02-2013, 04:37 AM.
                    Bob Gardner
                    Author; WW1 British Propellers, WWI German Propellers


                    • #11

                      The prop is on eBay. It comes up for me under my search for WW1 aircraft propellers. The item number is 251282493252. It is described as; WW1 / WW2, Airship / Zeppelin, Four Bladed Mahogany Propeller, RFC / RAF, Early 20th Century.

                      With kind regards,

                      Bob Gardner
                      Author; WW1 British Propellers, WWI German Propellers


                      • #12
                        Sounds like a stupid buyer can just choose whatever he wants it to be. I'm surprised it's not a Spitfire prop, too. Those are selling pretty well.


                        • #13
                          Seems to me that Dom is seeing $$$ rather than factual honesty.


                          • #14
                            The " Hammer of truth "

                            I am always amazed at the highly informative nature of this great website and forum.

                            Picture an alley with two people in it, one has a samurai sword, and the other person has a well worn vintage tennis racket. Long story short, its obvious which tool is more precise and is more sharp.

                            With all due respect to Dom, welcome to this forum, and to some very sharp people world wide that take this forum and the realm of wooden " airscrews " very seriously.

                            Its kind of a global gentleman's club of the "unique" so to speak. Mr. Gardner is one of those rare people that is rooted deeply in fact, of a noble nature.

                            Once again, the hammer of truth has tempered the display of a prop that " isnt from an actual german airship "

                            Bravo Bob for your patience and display of interesting factual information. We all learn from your example.

                            Dennis Hicklin
                            Seattle Washington.
                            Attached Files


                            • #15
                              Hammer of truth?

                              Gentlemen, gentlemen, it seems like some of you are getting your knickers in a twist over this prop.
                              Firstly, allow me to thank you again for the advice given to me when I first joined your esteemed forum.
                              The initial welcome appears now to have evaporated (due, I imagine to my not following your advice and instructions to the letter) and as to the accusation that I'm here to make a fast $ (that would be £ as I'm English) I can honestly say that the money means nothing to me. I'm lucky enough to own two multinational businesses and have interests in others, I really don't need the cash. Buying interesting items and paintings to sell online is merely a hobby to me.
                              Thirdly, Bob old chap, it appears that you are seen by your chums as the prop guru (on here at least) and that you have penned a couple of books on the subject. Well done, however I'm sure you'll agree that this makes you knowledgable but it most certainly doesn't make you infallible.
                              I did say to you all that I had taken counsel from other quarters as well as yourselves on the subject of my prop and the info I received at that time seemed equally plausible as the info you yourselves gave me. My own expertise lies elsewhere and I'm not an authority on vintage propellors, that's why I asked you and others about the subject.
                              In fact, I will admit that I do have some scant general knowledge of one particular airship and am lucky enough to have acquired some airship items from the estate of a man who part designed and worked on one of the Cardington airships (the better one of the two). He was an author like you Bob.
                              As for the ebay listing, the title does say airship / zeppelin but it also says WW1 and WW2 and RFC and RAF. The point there chaps is that it can't be both of these can it? Thus, the title description is merely an indication of the possible origins, bearing in mind the information I had at the time.
                              Furthermore, the listing description states 'possibly an auxilliary propellor from a later bomber type aircraft', or words to that effect.
                              So, I will now apologise for offending your sensibilities on this subject which is obviously close to your hearts however you must allow people to do the things they want to do without being too dogmatic or dictatorial against them.