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Reinventing the Propeller


  • 25 b/w illus. 4 tables
  • Page extent: 386 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.67 kg
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 (ISBN-13: 9781107142862)

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$120.00 (C)

An international community of specialists reinvented the propeller during the Aeronautical Revolution, a vibrant period of innovation in North America and Europe from World War I to the end of World War II. They experienced both success and failure as they created competing designs that enabled increasingly sophisticated and 'modern' commercial and military aircraft to climb quicker and cruise faster using less power. Reinventing the Propeller nimbly moves from the minds of these inventors to their drawing boards, workshops, research and development facilities, and factories, and then shows us how their work performed in the air, both commercially and militarily. Reinventing the Propeller documents this story of a forgotten technology to reveal new perspectives on engineering, research and development, design, and the multi-layered social, cultural, financial, commercial, industrial, and military infrastructure of aviation.


1. Introduction. The propeller and the modern airplane; 2. 'The best propeller for starting is not the best for flying'; 3. 'Engineering of a pioneer character'; 4. A 'new type adjustable-pitch propeller'; 5. 'The propeller that took Lindbergh across'; 6. 'The ultimate solution of our propeller problem'; 7. No. 1 propeller company; 8. A gear shift for the airplane; 9. Constant-speed; 10. 'The Spitfire now 'is an aeroplane''; 11. A propeller for the air age; 12. Conclusion. The triumph and decline of the propeller; Essay on sources; Index.


Advance praise: 'Jeremy R. Kinney’s masterful study of the evolution of the aircraft propeller not only represents an important contribution to the history of flight technology, it is also that rare specialist account that illuminates broader questions in the development of complex technical systems.' Tom D. Crouch, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution

Advance praise: 'Jeremy R. Kinney illuminates the long-neglected mechanisms which propelled crafts of the air through the early 20th century and the Second World War. In this replete and comprehensive book, Dr. Kinney at last has supplied the missing pieces to the puzzle of powered flight.' C. Evan Davies, Institute of Historical Survey, New Mexico

Advance praise: 'Thanks to Jeremy R. Kinney we now have the first comprehensive treatment of the aircraft propeller as a component of the international technical and cultural revolution that transformed the airplane more than three-quarters of a century ago. Anyone seeking new insight into the history of heavier-than-air flight and the complexity of technological change will want to read this important book.' William F. Trimble, Auburn University, Alabama

Advance praise: 'Thoroughly researched and remarkably well written, Reinventing the Propeller provides the first truly contextualized history of this crucial piece of aeronautical technology as well as the international community that developed it. It is a must-read for historians of technology and airplane aficionados alike.' Alan Meyer, Auburn University, Alabama

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