Non-Automotive Materials the in Z. Taylor Vinson Collection: Airline Companies Series

Timetable for Pan Am’s “Clipper” service to the Caribbean and Latin America, 1933

Since taking over this blog in July, I have mainly been writing about automotive materials found in the Z. Taylor Vinson Collection. However, as many of you already know, the contents of the collection do not consist solely of automotive materials. As I mentioned in my blog installment on the Airplane Makes series of the collection (see Non-Automotive Materials the in Z. Taylor Vinson Collection: Airplane Makes Series, August 31, 2012), Mr. Vinson was keenly interested in many different forms of transportation. In addition to that, he was also a frequent and avid traveler, and he made numerous trips, for both business and pleasure, throughout the United States and overseas. While pursuing his interests in both transportation and travel, he accumulated a remarkable collection of non-automotive materials. In recognition of Mr. Vinson’s interest in these areas, I decided to highlight another non-automotive series of the collection: Airline Companies.

Fleet catalog for Air France’s De Havilland Comet jet airliner, 1953

The Airline Companies series represents a very small portion of the collection, containing only 8.5 boxes of materials. However, much like the Airplane Makes series, the depth and significance of its contents more than make up for its small size. The materials found in this Airline Companies series cover most of the history of the airline industry, dating from 1921 to 2009. One hundred and forty commercial airlines of varying sizes are represented in this series, including present-day companies such as Air France and United Airlines, and defunct companies such as Pan Am and Swissair. Most of the airlines represented in this series focused on the passenger business, but a handful of them specialized in hauling airmail and freight. The series’ contents are international in scope and concern airlines from countries all over the world, including, but not limited to, the United States, France, Germany, Japan, and China.

The Airline Companies series consists mainly of materials published by the airlines themselves. Many of the airline publications, including, but not limited to, airliner fleet catalogs, menus, passenger information brochures, route maps, timetables, and cut-out model airplanes differ significantly from those published by automobile companies. This series also contains other types of airline publications that are strikingly similar to those produced by automobile companies, including, but not limited to, company overviews, company magazines, and media information. Also found in this series are numerous magazine and newspaper advertisements through which the airlines publicized themselves and their services. The series also contains a significant amount of materials not published by the airlines, including, but not limited to, newspaper articles, magazine articles, government documents, and research notes.

There are plenty of fascinating items to be found in the Airline Companies series. One such item is a 1933 Pan Am timetable for the airline’s famed “Clipper” service to the Caribbean and Latin America. Also of interest in this series is a 1953 Air France fleet catalog advertising the airline’s use of the De Havilland Comet, the world’s first commercial jet airliner.

Sources

Air France, De Havilland “Comet”, Airline Companies-Air France: Fleet Catalogs: Specific Planes, 1948-1993

Pan American Airways System, Time Tables – Tariffs, Airline Companies-Pan Am: Timetables, 1933-1964

Kenton Jaehnig is the Project Archivist for the Z. Taylor Vinson Collection at Hagley Museum and Library.

Non-Automotive Materials the in Z. Taylor Vinson Collection: Airplane Makes Series

Cover of a company overview published by Blériot, an early French airplane manufacturer, 1911

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.

Advertisement for the Ford Trimotor which appeared in the October 22, 1927 issue of The Literary Digest

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.

Sources
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.