Price = n/a
WWI German Trench Art Propeller Tip Barometer/Thermometer
A stunning example fashioned from what we believe to be a circa WWI propeller tip with interesting Provence. Whist we say 'tip ' it is a substantial piece measuring 29" along the leading edge (73 cm) and it is 8" wide (20 cm) at the top, with heavy brass sheathing to the pointed end. Sadly without the hub we have insufficient clues as to the aircraft type it served on but we are assuming from one that flew with the Deutsche Luftstreitkräft, known before October 1916 as Die Fliegertruppen des deutschen Kaiserreiches.
An aneroid barometer has been custom mounted within a recess cut into the blade. Whilst it is not maker marked the dial is printed 'Original Flugzeugpropeller', which translated means 'Original Aircraft propeller'. The card is also printed 'Sturm', 'Veranderlich', and 'Bestandig' which translates as 'Storm', 'Changeable' and 'Stable', as well as 'Regen Order Wind ' meaning 'Rain or wind' and 'SchönWetter' meaning 'Good Weather'. Mounted below the barometer is a thermometer with scales marked R & C. Research indicates this is the Réaumur scale that was used widely in Europe, particularly in France, Germany and Russia until the early 20th century. The R scale is calibrated from +40 to -30 and the C scale +50 to -35.
Perhaps most interestingly the propeller carries oriental writing either side of the thermometer and having contacted our Japanese consultant (thanks again Yasu, as ever for your time) and he has confirmed the script is indeed Japanese. Whilst quite hard to decipher the writing to the left side reads 'Kajiro-Shoten' which tanslated reads 'Kajiro Shop' whilst to the right is written 'This item was presented to Pension Orient'. Further research by our Japanese desk found that Kajiro-Shoten ran a shop in Berlin located at Neue Winterfeldtstraße 20, Berlin W30, in the 1930's. Our surmise therefore was this piece was commercially manufactured in Germany post WWI utilising scrapped or damaged propellers from the period and fitted with a German made aneroid barometer and thermometer.
In this instance it looks like this was originally purchased as a presentation piece given to the owners of the Orient Hotel, perhaps in Berlin but could well be elsewhere. How it ended up in south west England is anyone's guess!
The back of the propeller is in original condition and the brass remains unpolished. Interestingly this is somewhat crudely painted with 1305R. This could perhaps be a retail stock reference or a code for the item's location in the hotel. Another possibility suggested is it could have been the donor aircraft registration number but whilst a nice idea our feeling is this is unlikely. If any visitors to the site can add any additional information in regard to this piece we would be happy to add to our description. Whilst we have not tested either instrument for accuracy both seem to be functioning as intended. An unusual and finely executed piece of early aviation memorabilia and certainly a first for the team here at the Oldnautibits HQ and we don't expect to find another anytime soon!