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Aeronautical Ephemera Collection I

Identifier: MS-37

Scope and Content

The Aeronautical Ephemera collection contains small booklets, motor company advertisements, a blueprint of an airplane engine, postcards used for advertising, invitations to honorary luncheons and programs, arm bands for membership in an Aero Club, certificates illustrating a man's license to fly and business cards. All deal with aviation and have the common theme of being mostly Pre-World War I. The collection has been divided into four series.

Series I. Trade Brochures, contains small booklets each describing a major manufacturing company dating from 1904-1919. Most of the companies were functioning from 1909-1912. Included also are some advertisement cards and a blueprint of an engine part. Each company gives a detailed account of the type of engine (horsepower needed) that should be produced for heavier-than-air flight. All companies show the functions of the car engine they are producing and relate it to the aeronautical motor they have invented. Detailed drawings illustrate the parts of the engine, followed by horsepower statistics, weight and cost. Advertising this new engine is the main point the companies are attempting to project. The successful flights of the Wright Brothers in 1908 are obviously the stimulus for the sudden burst of energy of motor companies to construct an aeronautical engine. Examples of companies represented are the Detroit Aeroplane Co., Adams-Farwell Aeronautic motor, Easton Cordage Co., Curtiss, and the Rinek Aero Mfg. Co. Listed alphabetically by manufacturer:

ADAMS-FARWELL Aeronautic Motor. The Lightest Practical Power Plant Ever Constructed...8 vol., original printed wrappers; illustrated; 16 pp. Dubuque, Iowa, The Adams Company, Manufacturers, undated

AERIAL NAVIGATION COMPANY OF AMERICA. The Call Aviation Engine. Model E-la, Two Cylinder, 50 h.p....Model E-2a, Four Cylinder, illustrated; 24 pp. Girard, Kansas. Aerial Navigation Company of America, ca. 1911. Accompanied by a printed form letter on company stationery concerning the brochure and the engines and terms of purchase, dated February 17, 1911.

"CURTISS" Flying Machine. Broadside advertisement of the machine issued as an invitation to call at the White Garage and Salesroom, Chicago. The machine is illustrated. The other side of the broadside carries an illustration and advertisement for the "Ghost," Town Gas Car. No date.

CURTISS-BI-PLANES. (Caption title). Broadside advertisement issued by the Aeronautical Supply Co., St. Louis, Mo., ca. 1910. 8 ½ x 11".

DETROIT AEROPLANE CO., INC. Present "Miss Detroit" 30 h.p. Monoplane. (Caption title.) 8 vol., broadside, folded to 4 pp.; one illustration. Detroit, Detroit Aeroplane Co., (1911).

DETROIT AEROPLANE CO. The Detroit Aero. Model 1911. A Light Weight Power Plant for Aircrafts. Guarantee to 200 Pounds Minimum Thrust, 150 Pounds Maximum Weight, 36 Hours Delivery. (Cover title.) 8 vol., single sheet folded to 4 pp.; illustration on cover and one in the text. Detroit, Detroit Aeroplane Co., March 1, 1911. Laid in is a single sheet diagram: "General Dimensions of Detroit Aero Engine, Model 1911."

EASTON CORDAGE CO. Aeroplane Engines: Adaptable Also for High Speed Motor Boats and Dirigible Balloons. The Most Reliable, Powerful, and Enduring Motor Jet Constructed. 8 vol., original printed wrappers; 10 pp. Easton, Pa., Easton Cordage Co., 1910. Accompanied by a blueprint (8 ¾ x 21 ½"). "Dimensions of Type "B-8" Engine, Easton Cordage Co., Easton, Pa." Oversize item.

HERRING-CURTISS FLYING MACHINE. The Flying Machine is Here. Herring-Curtiss Flying Machine. The White Garage & Salesroom, Chicago, Agent for the Herring-Curtiss Flying Machine...(Cover title.) 12 mo., single sheet folded to 4 pp.; 2 illustrations. Chicago, White Garage, ca. 1909.

HALL-SCOTT MOTOR CAR COMPANY. The Hall-Scott Motor Car Company: Aviation Power Plants. 8 vol., original printed wrappers; illustrated; 16 pp. San Francisco, Hall-Scott Motor Car Company, ca. 1910.

HEINRICH BROS. Heinrich Monoplanes and Mono-Biplanes. (Cover title.) Oblong 12 mo., original pictorial self-wrappers; illustrated; 12 pp. (Baldwin, L.I., N.Y., Heinrich Bros.), undated

HOLMES, E.R. Motor Company. The E.R. Holmes Motor Company, Incorporated. 407 Temple Court Building. (Cover title.) 12 mo., original printed wrappers; illustrated; 8 pp. N.p., E.R. Holmes, undated

HOLMES, E.R. Motor Company. The Holmes Idea. The E.R. Holmes Rotary Motor...Everything Revolves but the Frame. 12 mo., original wrappers; illustrated; 20 pp. (Chicago, A.D. Mackay, agent for E.R. Holmes), undated

RINEK AERO MFG. CO. Rinek Aviation Engines. Sm. 8 vol., original printed wrappers; one photograph tipped onto verso of title; 10 pp. Easton, Pa., Rinek Aero MFG. Co., 1910.

ROBERTS MOTOR COMPANY. Roberts. The Motors that Never Backfire. 8 vol., original printed wrappers; illustrated; 32 pp. Sandusky, Ohio, Roberts Motor Company, 1911. Accompanied by photographic advertisement with heading: "40-50 h.p. Aero Motor." The Roberts Motor Co., Sandusky, OH 400 lbs. Thrust at 900 R.P.M. Weight 170 lbs.

WORLD'S FAIR AIRSHIP CO. Prospectus of the World's Fair Airship Co., Incorporated...12 mo., single sheet folded to 4 pp.; one illustration of Cornell's Air Ship. St. Louis, World's Fair Airship Co., ca. 1904.

HIGH, FRED. The First Real Flying Machine, "Triumphant Democracy." Safety - Speed - Control - Power (Cover title.) Tall 12 mo., original Aero Exhibition Assn., 1919.

Series II. Honorary Programs, contains luncheon and dinner invitations, complete with menu, in honor of the following famous aviators: Captain Edward Rickenbacker, Colonel Charles Lindbergh, Bert "Fish" Hassell (includes his signature on the invitation), Baren Ehrenfried Guenther ven Huenefeld, Major James C. Fitzmaurice, Captain Herman Koehl, and Dr. Hugo Edrener (commander of the Graf Zepplin). Honorary Programs numerically by date: RICKENBACKER, E.V. Original invitation to a victory dinner given for Rickenbacker at the Congress Hotel, Chicago, April 23, 1919, under the auspices of the Chicago Automobile Industries.

RICKENBACKER, E.V. Original program of the above dinner, with photograph of Rickenbacker pasted onto front cover.

LINDBERGH, CHARLES A. Original program for dinner given in honor of Lindbergh by the Mayor's Committee of the City of Chicago, August 13, 1927.

HASSELL, BERT. Original menu for the Bert Hassell Luncheon, December 5, 1928. Signed by Bert Hassell. Invitation to dinner for Baron Ehrenfried Guenther von Huenefeld, Major James C. Fitzmaurice, and Captain Hermann Koehl. Chicago, May 12, 1928.

The original invitation to a dinner given for Dr. Hugo Eckener, October 22, 1928, Chicago.

Series III. Passes and Certificates, contains arm bands worn by members of the Aero Club of America. A brochure, stating what aviation activities members are admitted free to attend, is included. Two free admittance cards are enclosed: the first to the Gordon-Bennett Race on September 9, 1912. The second to the Cierco Flying Field held September 12 to 15 in 1912.

Included are: AERO CLUB OF ILLINOIS. Nineteen Hundred Twelve Season Memberships. Admits to...(lists events.) Folded broadside brochure.

AERO CLUB OF ILLINOIS. Admit one to Judges Stand. Cicero Flying Field, September 12 to 15, 1912. Ticket No. 167. A

ERO CLUB OF ILLINOIS. Complimentary. Admit Bearer Membership Enclosure. Gordon-Bennett Race. Clearing, IL (Ticket).

WIDOW'S BENEFIT FUND. Fabric from Vaniman's Balloon Wrecked over Absecon Inlet, July 2, 1912. Official Souvenir. Atlantic City, Saturday, August 10, 1912. No. 1078.

Original printed fabric. Original card titled James M. Wait and Company, Marine Engines, Launches, Speed Boats and Cruisers, Chicago. undated List of major engine parts on reverse side.

Certificate of flight in a Plane of the Universal Air Lines System. August 4, 1929.

Original silk Press Pass for the International Aviation Meet, Grant Park, Chicago, August 12-20, 1911. Printed in black on green silk, with an airplane printed in white. Pass #15. Mounted on cardboard.

Original silk aviator's arm band of the Aero Club of Illinois.

Original silk press pass for the Aero Club of Illinois. Mounted on cardboard.

Series IV. Photographs, contains various photographs dating 1912. There are six original photographs of an airplane engine, 3 original photographs of airplanes from the Curtiss Exhibition Company, 10 original photographic postcards showing airplanes, 2 original photographs of an unidentified flying contraption and 2 negatives of Eddie Horn and his Aeroplane. Included are:

6 original photographs of airplane engines; 4 stamped with name of Rinek Aero Mfg. Co.

3 original photographs of airplanes, stamped on back: "Compliments of the Curtiss Exhibition Co., 1737 Broadway, New York. March 21, 1912."

10 original photographic postcards showing airplanes. One has written on the back: "Beechey at Dubuque, IA July 21, 1912. All are probably ca. 1912. Three have German captions at the bottom of the postcard with W.A. Blonck, Engineer, Fisher Bldg., Chicago stamped on the back.

2 original photographs of an unidentified flying contraption; the photographs show the machine from two different angles.

2 negatives of Eddie Horn and his Aeroplane - near Sidney in Nov. 1912. Negative #406 shows airplane flying. Negative #407 shows airplane on the ground.


  • Creation: 1904-1929


Restrictions on Access

There are no restrictions on access to this collection.

Restrictions on Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.


0.5 linear feet

Language of Materials



An artificial collection, gathered from many sources by a rare book seller, which includes trade brochures, honorary programs, passes, certificates and photographs on aviation from the early 20th century.

Statement of Arrangement

The collection is arranged into 4 series:

  1. Series I: Trade Brochures
  2. Series II: Honorary Programs
  3. Series III: Passes and Certificates
  4. Series IV: Photographs

Other Finding Aid

The finding aid is available on the Wright State University Libraries' Special Collections and Archives web site at

Acquisition Information

The collection was purchased on October 29, 1976 from Hamill and Barker Antiquarian and Booksellers located at 230 North Michigan Avenue Chicago, Illinois 60601.


No accruals are foreseen for this collection.

Processing Information

The collection was processed by Susan Smith in 1976. Revisions were made by Leigh Anne Wilburn in 1998.


Guide to the Aeronautical Ephemera Collection I (MS-37)
Finding aid prepared by Susan Smith, 1976
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Revision Statements

  • 1998: Revised by Leigh Anne Wilburn
  • 2015: Revised with additional DACS fields and subject terms by Toni Vanden Bos

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Wright State University Libraries
Special Collections and Archives
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy
Dayton OH 45435-0001 USA