Weekly Postcard: Gunn Biplane[postcards]
|Dec 04, 2004 04:40|
This photo postcard turned up in the mass of photos in our family. I think it was, at least, owned by my great-grandfather, Paul Cottrell. A few years ago, I tried to get the photograph and the airplane identified.
It was my guess that the plane was some sort of "pusher", maybe a Curtiss. Thanks to Carroll Gray at EarlyBirds.org (a wonderful aviation site) for this identification:
Well, you were very nearly right, great guess... it is closely patterned after a Gage-McClay Headless Pusher, but this was (I'm absolutely certain) an original two-person machine (known as the Gunn Biplane), designed, built and flown by Tom Gunn, and powered by a 60 h.p. Hall-Scott engine.
I'm pretty certain that this was taken near San Bruno, California, during December of 1912. In any event, the photo dates from August 1912 to early 1913. The number "75" at the bottom means that this is, in all likelihood, a "real photo" postcard, made and sold commercially.
Here's some more info on Tom Gunn:
Pioneers in Hawaiian aviation history tells us this about Tom Gunn:
Born in San Francisco, Tom Gunn represented China in the 1910 International Aviation Meet in Los Angeles and was dubbed the "Wright of China." When revolution erupted, Gunn was contacted by Sun Yat-Sen to popularize aviation. In two years, Gunn made more than 800 flights and carried more than 300 passengers in the Pacific region, including the Hawaiian Islands, where he also demonstrated the first flying boat seen here.
Read the whole thing, it's a great set of vignettes on a little-known topic, Hawaiian aviation.
Click the thumbnail on the right for a zoom of the plane itself.
Context: [Google Search]