Saturday, January 17, 2015

Stinson "Detroiter" SM-1, 1927



"Eddie" Stinson, an early American aviator, formed the Stinson Aircraft Company in Dayton, Ohio in 1920.  He eventually relocated to Detroit, building the SB-1 Detroiter, a four-seater biplane. This model lays claim to being the first fixed-wing aircraft with a heated, soundproof cabin, electric starter, and wheel brakes (supplied by Harley Davidson!) Subsequently, his business partners put up the money to develop a new monoplane, the SM-1 Detroiter. In one variant, this six-seater was used to test a Diesel engine, the first time this had been tried.  In this era, Eddie Stinson was continuing to fly as a stunt pilot, making $100,000 a year doing so. He was killed in 1932 in an air crash while on a sales trip.  His company was bought by the Cord Auto firm, then by Aviation Corporation, then by Consolidated Vultee and finally by Piper.

I bought this old print years ago at a flea market.  The artist is Jerome Biederman (1913-1996).  Born in Pittsburgh, he went on to become a very well-known painter of all forms of transportation. He once remarked:
"History will duly set aside the years 1900-1950 as the most momentous. Invention followed close upon the heels of invention...of all the bewildering and glittering array, few if any remotely approach in importance that role occupied by the ability and means to move...on the land, in the air, above and below the surface of the water." 
Biederman was especially celebrated for his car artwork.  He explained:
 "It seems to me that despite the untold millions of devotees adherent to this, that and the other...the fundamental 'love affair' lies in and with the internal combustion engine, the good, bad or indifferent that surrounds it.  The combination of motor, wheels and body, has known, knows, and will experience moments of greatness, be they in performance, styling, concept, even flights of fancy."

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