Aircraft and wooden propeller were inseparable in the past. Nowadays it is not so obvious, due to the fact that the contemporary propeller is not wooden any more. A propeller is a precious piece of memorabilia, often like a heirloom and sometimes the only part of aircraft that survived. So important because it is stamped by history (bullet holes, notches, scratches or signs of repairs). Old wooden propellers are simply wooden sculptures. Each and everyone is different because they were handmade. Unpainted one reveal beautiful grains of different kinds of wood, all glued together to form the final shape. In pre-war Poland the words propeller and “Szomański” became almost synonym. The reason was simple, most of propellers were made by single manufacturer. Unfortunately in most cases “producer: Szomański” is the only information about propeller we can find in history book. Our goal is to find propellers (mostly Polish but also others) which survived in museums and in private hands, photographs and pictures of propellers and planes with them fitted. We aim going to find documents describing the propeller production and technical requirements the propellers have to fulfil. We are interested in everything concerning propellers. We do hope, that those of you keen on this matter, will be able to find something interesting, and those whose propeller knowledge is small will be able to extend it. We also like your help in our research.
If you are an owner of old wooden propeller please do not restore it. Do not clean it with sandpaper, petrol, meths. If you restore your vintage prop you are very likely to reduce its value, both in terms of money and also its value as a historical item.
If your propeller really needs to be repaired (fabric is hanging off or there are splits in the wood) find an expert who can carefully conserve the prop.