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Kirkham Four-Cylinder

DAYTON, Ohio -- Kirkham 4-cylinder engine on display in the Early Years Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Kirkham 4-cylinder engine on display in the Early Years Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)


Charles B. Kirkham of Savona, N.Y., made this four-cylinder, water-cooled engine around 1912-1914. Its exact origin is unclear, but Hillery Beachy, a well-known early aviator, was likely involved in its design or use. Though it resembles an auto engine, similar Kirkham motors powered several early aircraft. Roe Tanner, a brick mason and inventor, used this 40-hp Kirkham in Attica, Ohio, around 1914 to ground test ideas for variable-pitch propellers.

Click here to return to the Early Years Gallery.