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Adolph F. Herzog aviation collection

1938-1945
 Collection
Identifier: 2187

Abstract

Adolph F. Herzog (1906-1997) was an aeronautical engineer who worked for the Pitcairn Aircraft Company, the Pitcairn-Cierva Autogiro Company, and later for the Platt-LePage Aircraft Company. The Platt-LePage Aircraft Company was a manufacturer of aircraft for the armed forces, including the first helicopter to be acquired by the U.S. Army. The collection contains several items related to the Platt-LePage Helicopter Company and Wynn Laurence LePage (1902-1989).

Dates

  • 1938-1945

Creator

Extent

34 item(s)

Biographical Note

Adolph F. Herzog (1906-1997) was an aeronautical engineer who worked for the Pitcairn Aircraft Company (1926-1928), the Pitcairn-Cierva Autogiro Company (1935-1938), and later for the Platt-LePage Aircraft Company. In the course of his career, he collected books and memorabilia relating to the development of autogiros and helicopters.

Historical Note

The Platt-LePage Aircraft Company was a manufacturer of aircraft for the armed forces, including the first helicopter to be acquired by the U.S. Army.

The company was founded by Haviland H. Platt (1890-1982) and Wynn Laurence LePage (1902-1989) with the backing of the Rockefellers in 1938. LePage, a British aeronautical engineer living in Pennsylvania, was impressed by the performance of the German Focke-Wulf Fa 61 and acquired the manufacturing rights to the aircraft, with the intention of Platt-LePage manufacturing helicopters. Two early helicopter prototypes developed by the company failed to meet with any success. However, their luck would change in 1940; under the Dorsey-Logan Act, the company was declared the winner of a competition to supply the Army with its first helicopter.

Having employed Grover Loening (1888-1976) as a consultant and helicopter enthusiast Frank Piasecki (1919-2008) as a junior engineer, Platt-LePage set to work developing the helicopter, using a similar rotor arrangement to that of the Fa 61. The aircraft, designated XR-1, was three months behind schedule in 1941. It suffered several issues, and the company faced financial difficulties, resulting in significant delays in resolving the aircraft's problems. Flight testing continued through 1944.

In early 1945, the Army elected to cancel its contracts with Platt-LePage, after Vought-Skorsky built YR-1A service-test helicopters, which proved to be far superior and able to pass its flight trials.

With the Army contract canceled, the company did not have sufficient funds to continue operating and closed its doors on January 13, 1947. McDonnell Aircraft purchased the company's intellectual property.

Scope and Contents

Adolph F. Herzog's (1906-1997) aviation collection contains several items related to the Platt-LePage Helicopter Company and Wynn Laurence LePage (1902-1989). The principal item is a prospectus for the formation of the Platt-LePage Helicopter Company (later Platt-LePage Aircraft Company), founded by Haviland H. Platt (1890-1982) and Wynn Laurence LePage with the backing of the Rockefellers in 1938. The company later produced the XR-1A, the Army's first production model helicopter, at its Eddystone, Pennsylvania, factory.

There are also several letters of introduction for a trip LePage made to Germany in 1938 to inspect its first successful helicopter, which he suspected to have been developed from information in his first German patent, plus bills and receipts from his stay at the Adlon Hotel in Berlin. There are several clippings on Platt-LePage helicopters.

The collection also contains two trade catalogs for Pitcairn Aircraft, Inc., biplanes, one for the "Sport-Mailwing" and one for the "Super-Mailwing."

Access Restrictions

No restrictions on access; this collection is open for research.

Language of Materials

English


Additional Information

Additional Description

Separated Materials

Platt-LePage Aircraft Company photographs (Accession 1998.239), Audiovisual and Digital Initiatives Department, Hagley Museum and Library.

Publications received as part of the same accession were transferred to Hagley's Published Collections Department. Contact the Published Collections Department for details.

Related Names

Creator

Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Title:
Adolph F. Herzog aviation collection
Status:
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
English
Script of description:
Latin

Revision Statements

  • 2021: Ashley Williams

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

Contact:
PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA
302-658-2400