Sleuthing in the library

The case:  Identify a book discussing building and flying model aeroplanes.  The information and drawings in the book refer to tractor monoplanes and strip rubber, and doesn’t make any mention of balsa wood.  Unfortunately, the cover and title pages are missing so other than obvious age, there is little information to go on.  The only information, really, is a preface note which says the author is well-known in the modeling world, and the words “Model Aeroplanes” appearing on every other page.

Preface page from the unknown book.Pages 14 and 15 from the unknown book.

Pictures: The editor’s preface and pages 14 and 15 of the mystery book, as sent to the museum staff by the researcher.  Photographs are used with permission.

The client: A retired air traffic controller and longtime aircraft modeler from Australia.

The search: Using “Model Aeroplanes” as the starting point, I searched the museum’s library database for books with that phrase in the title.  Several turned up.  Luckily, it was the work of only a few minutes to find a book that matched the preface and other pages of the mystery book.

The preface from the book found in the Lee Renaud Memorial Library.Pages 14 and 15 of the book found in the Lee Renaund Memorial Library.

Pictures:  The editor’s preface and pages 14 and 15 of the book found in the museum’s library.

The result: The mystery book is:  Model Aeroplanes: The Building of Model Monoplanes, Biplanes, etc., together with a Chapter on Building a Model Airship by F.J. Camm.  Although there is no publication date given in the book, some internet searches turned up results that suggest that the book was published around 1919 or 1920.   A British book published in London by Cassell, it was also published in the United States through Funk & Wagnalls Company of New York.

Cover of Camm's Model Aeroplanes: The Building of Model Monoplanes, Biplanes, etc. together with a Chapter on Building a Model AirshipTitle page of Camm's Model Aeroplanes: The Building of Model Monoplanes, Biplanes, etc., together with a Chapter on Building a Model Airship

Pictures:  The cover and title page of F.J. Camm’s Model Aeroplanes: The Building of Model Monoplanes, Biplanes, etc., together with a Chapter on Building a Model Airship

Related information:  Mr. Frederick James Camm was a prolific technical writer, as one can learn from a Wikipedia page, and his author page at the British Library and he also was involved in the formation of the Society for Model Aeronautical Engineers, as mentioned in this biography of H.H. Groves.  In addition to writing the Model Aeroplanes book described here, he also wrote a Model Aeroplanes Handbook published in 1949.

Your turn:  What model and full-scale aviation information are you looking for?  The Lee Renuad Memorial Library probably has some tidbit for you.  You can browse the library book titles, or check if the library has the magazine title you need (please note that the list is of titles we have issues for; please contact museum staff to verify what issues of each title we have.)  Of course, if you can’t visit in person, museum staff can always help you out.  Please be aware, though, of the research fees.

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