From reading this blog, one could be forgiven for thinking that the contents of the Z. Taylor Vinson Collection consist solely of automotive materials. However I am happy to report that this is definitely not the case. Mr. Vinson had a strong interest in many different forms of transportation. In addition to collecting automotive materials, he also actively collected materials pertaining to various modes of non-automotive transport. This week, I decided to highlight one of the series of non-automotive materials in the Z. Taylor Vinson Collection: Airplane Makes.
The Airplane Makes series represents a very small portion of the collection, consisting of only 2.5 boxes of materials. However the depth and significance of its contents more than make up for its small size. The materials found in this series cover most of the era of manned powered flight, dating from 1911 to 2009. Seventy-five airplane manufacturers are represented in this series, including present-day firms such as Airbus and Boeing, and defunct companies such as Blériot and Ryan. The firms represented are from a number of different countries, including, but not limited to, the United States, France, Germany, and Russia. Numerous civilian and military airplanes are documented in this series.
Most of the material formats found in the Airplane Makes series are similar to those in the automotive portions of the collection. The series consists mainly of materials published by the airplane manufacturers, including trade catalogs, company overviews, company magazines, and media information. Also found in this series are numerous magazine and newspaper advertisements through which the manufacturers touted their latest creations to the public. The series also contains a significant amount of materials not published by the manufacturers, including, but not limited to, newspaper articles, magazine articles, miscellaneous magazines, and government documents.
The Airplane Makes series holds more than its share of fascinating items. One such item is a 1911 company overview from the French manufacturer Blériot, published a mere eight years after the Wright Brothers’ historic flight at Kitty Hawk. Also of interest in this series are the magazine advertisements for the Ford Trimotor, a transport plane manufactured by Ford Motor Company during the 1920s and 1930s.
L. Blériot Recherches Aéronautiques, Airplane Makes – Blériot: General Publication, 1911, Z. Taylor Vinson Collection, Hagley Museum and Library.
“Look to the Skies for Dawn, Ford Motor Company,” Airplane Makes – Ford: Clippings, 1927-2009, Z. Taylor Vinson Collection, Hagley Museum and Library.
Kenton Jaehnig is the Project Archivist for the Z. Taylor Vinson Collection at Hagley Museum and Library.