Author Topic: Flying models contest 1914  (Read 315 times)


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Flying models contest 1914
« on: December 12, 2021, 07:13:52 AM »
I found a 2 minutes film about a flight model contest in Frankfurt am Main, Germany 1914!
The film has recently been digitised and is of good quality, so I recommend to view it in full screen.
The models are really impressive, considering the resources available at the time!

Have fun!


Offline kensar

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Re: Flying models contest 1914
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2021, 10:28:06 PM »
Interesting video.  I wonder if balsa was used, or just spruce?  It seems balsa would be an exotic material at that time.

Offline ColonelKrypton

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Re: Flying models contest 1914
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2021, 11:19:06 PM »
Yes indeed, a very interesting video.

I had first seen part of this video on youtube a month or so ago.

These early models where typically made from bamboo strips that where formed to shape by hand using heat like from a candle to make the bamboo pliable enough to shape.  Other bits of hardwood would have been used too. Balsa wood really didn't become more common until the late 20's.

I also recall reading in a very old model airplane how to book that early modellers also stripped rubber from innertubes to use in their model aeroplanes.

Covering was typically a lightweight Japanese silk but I seem to recall that heavy weight tissue of some sort also found some use.

The covering was "doped" with a cellulose nitrate based dope that was usually home made using scrap or used photographic film which was cellulose based (modern film acetate or polyester based) at the time and was dissolved in some sort of easily obtained solvent. Isoamyl acetate was such a solvent which was also known as banana oil and gave the dope a pleasant odor of bananas. This nitrate dope was extremely flammable.

Those early modelers had to be very imaginative and creative; they simply did not have a local hobby store from which they could get suitable supplies. Everything used was found or repurposed, DIY was the only way.

cheers, Graham