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Thomas Bros. T-2

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Jan den Das View Drop Down
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    Posted: 08 Jan 2011 at 20:00
Hi
In 1915 24 Thomas T.2 wre ordered from the Thomas.Bros. Aeroplane Company in Ithaca, USA.
The were delivered in two batches of 12, numbered 3809 - 3920 and 8269 - 8280.
The aeroplanes were powered with the Curtiss OX-5 engine of 90 hp.
Very little is know of there servive.
Some were delivered to Henden and some to the Central Supply Depot White City.
The 3815, 3817, 3818, 3820 and 8269 were wrecker when  the Bessnneau hangar blew away on 28.03.16.
The were deleted 31.03.16
Who can help me with more details concerning te history.
What was the problem with these aeroplanes, I found that some were already deleted in 1915 some in 1916 and the last in 01.17?
How and in which colors were they painted? Clear dope with light grey metal?
Who can help me with pictures, complete aero planes, but also details/parts chashes etc. quality is not so important?
Further everything not mentioned.
Thanks
Jan
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NickForder View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NickForder Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Jan 2011 at 09:10
 
 
states : "Thomas Brothers

The company founded by William T. and Oliver W. Thomas made a major contribution to the war effort. Born and educated in England, the brothers moved to Hammondsport, New York, and founded the Thomas Brothers Company in November 1909. In 1912, they incorporated the Thomas Brothers Aeroplane Company in Bath, New York, and began manufacturing aircraft.

The company moved to Ithaca, New York, at the end of the 1914, where it built 24 Thomas T-2 biplanes for the Royal Naval Air Service and 15 similar aircraft with floats instead of wheeled landing gear, designated the SH-4, for the U.S. Navy in 1915 and 1916. The company also built two two-seat, open-cockpit biplanes designated the D-5 for evaluation by the U.S. Army Signal Corps.

On January 31, 1917, the need for a larger plant and more capital led Thomas Brothers to merge with the Morse Chain Company and form the Thomas-Morse Aircraft Corporation. The new company trained many U.S. and Canadian fliers and developed new planes including the compact Thomas Morse S-4 single-seat advanced trainer. The company produced almost 600 S-4s with either Gnome or Le Rhone rotary engines and a model with twin floats, the S-5, for the Navy."

So, I should imagine that the Air-Britain book Royal Navy Serials and Units 1911-1919 by Ray Sturtivant and Gordon Page : https://www.air-britain.co.uk/actbooks/acatalog/Royal_Navy.html will cover the history of these aircraft.
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Jan den Das View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jan den Das Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jan 2011 at 10:21
Thanks Nick
But this is everything I already found/received, also the (very little) information by Sturtivant/Page.
I hope there is someone who has material/information what is not mentioned in that book.
J
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NickForder View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NickForder Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jan 2011 at 08:52
Jan,
Might be useful to post the Sturtivant/Page info as any related research is likely to be airfield/unit/individual - based, rather than aircraft type specific ?
Nick
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NickForder Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Jan 2011 at 10:04
The T2s were among a large number of American aircraft ordered by the Admiralty in 1915, virtually all of which were found to be of limited use to the RNAS.
 
In 1917 proceedings were initiated against John Porte for taking commission for 'influencing' the sale of Curtiss aircraft to the Admiralty. This arose from Porte's pre-war association with Curtiss, after he had been invalided out of the Navy with TB and before he re-applied for a commission. Basically, it was ruled that the commission had been reserved for Porte without his knowledge. The charges were dropped, and Porte died in 1919.
 
However, there is evidence to suggest that Curtiss's agent in Britain used contacts, established through Porte before the war, to secure large orders of US built aircraft. Also an Admiralty purchasing commisison in the USA seemed to have little idea of what it was buying (not surprising as everyone 'in the know' would have been fighting the war). This resulted in Curtiss opening a new plant at Buffalo (fiananced by the Admiralty), and made him a millionaire.
 
The connection between Curtiss and Thomas Brothers was Benjamin Douglas Thomas (no relation). BDT had been apprenticed at Vickers, Sons & Maxim and then been Assistant Chief Engineer at Sopwith. During the Winter of 1913-14 he designed a tractor biplane for Curtiss (J) and was invited to go to America in 1914.  BDT's design was combined with the Curtiss N to produce the  Curtiss JN, the first of the 'Jennies'.
 
BDT and Curtiss had different ways of working, and the placing of an Admiralty order for 24 aircraft with Thomas Bros was associated with BDT's move to Thomas Bros as a designer. BDT's assistant was Randolph F Hall, who later designed the Thomas Morse S-4 'Tommy'.
 
On 3 April 1915 Wing Comamnder AM Longmore "pointed out that the Curtiss aeroplanes supplied from America were far from perfect, and for war purposes were not yet efficient."
 
The First Lord "pointed out that the Curtiss machines - and in fact all aeroplanes and seaplanes delivered from America - must be considered as an addition to our forces. The machines must be taken as they are, and must be made the most of in spite of the defects."
 
On 16 April 1916 Lord Curzon noted that 1,000 Curtiss machines, at £1,750,000, had been ordered and that they were "useless as war airplanes and could be only used for school work."
 
The RFC soon expressed an interest inthem as trainers !
 
So, of all the US aircraft the Admiralty bought, most were useless. Of the 100 x Curtiss R2s ordered, only half a dozen were used operationally, and one for wireless experimenattion. The 11 x Burgss Type O Pushers were erected, and then sent to White City for deletion.
 
Most of the T2s were deleted without erecting them, the Curtiss OX engines being taken for reuse (in Jennies ?). 3812 spent about 4 weeks at Chingford in Jan/Feb 1916, but did nothing of note. 3814 spent a few weeks at Hendon, and then went to Chingford for a few weeks in Jan-March 1916.
 
Ironically Thomas-Morse received an order from the US Navy for 14 X SH-4 observation/trainers in 1917, largely because the company had built T2s for the Admiralty ! The SH-4 was powered by a 100 hp Thomas engine. US Navy serials A134-6 & A396-406 were allocated. 
 
A finish similar to the early RNAS JN3s would seem to be a reasonable guess, though it is unclear whether cockades were painted on the aircraft in the USA. Certainly, aircraft were not regarded as 'munitions' (in Feb 1915 Lusitania brought 3 x Curtiss 'hydros' from New York to Liverpool for delivery to the RNAS), though the Wright patents on ailerons were circumvented by fitting them in Canada !
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jan den Das Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Jan 2011 at 11:46
Nick very interresting. enclosed the list you requested.

3809   Deld Hendon for erection 10.8.15; Deleted unerected 11.12.15
3810   Deld Hendon for erection 10.8.15; Deleted unerected 11.12.15
3811   Deld Hendon for erection 10.8.15; Deleted unerected 11.12.15
3812   Deld CSD (Central Supply Depot) white City; Hendon for rection 13.12.15;
            Flown 7.1.16; Chingford 24.1.16; Deleted 28.2.16 DBR
3813   Deld CSD White City by 31.8.15; Hendon 10.12.15; Accepted 8.2.16;
            Engine returned CSD 16.2.16; Deleted 3.16
3814   Deld CSD White City by 31.8.15; Hendon 10.12.15; Chingford 24.1.16;
            Surveyed 29.2.16; Deleted 3.3.16 DBR
3815   Deld CSD White City by 31.8.15; Hendon 10.1.16; Awaiting test 29.1.16;
            Engine returned CSD 16.2.16; Wrecked when Bessonneau hangar blew away 28.3.16;
            Deleted 31.3.16
3816   Deld CSD White City by 31.8.15; Hendon 10.1.16; Flown 25.1.16;
            Engine returned CSD 16.2.16; Deleted 3.16
3817   Deld CSD White City by 31.8.15; Hendon 26.1.16; Accepted 5.2.16; Engine returned CSD 16.2.16;
            Wrecked when Bessonneau hangar blew away 28.3.16; Deleted 31.3.16
3818   Deld CSD White City by 31.8.15; Hendon 26.1.16; Flown 29.1.16; Engine returned CSD 16.2.16;
            Wrecked when Bessonneau hangar blew away 28.3.16; Deleted 31.3.16
3819   Deld CSD White City by 31.8.15; Hendon 29.1.16; Engine returned CSD 16.2.16; Deleted 3.16
3820   Deld CSD White City by 31.8.15; Hendon 1.2.16; Engine returned CSD 16.2.16;
            Wrecked when Bessonneau hangar blew away 28.3.16; Deleted 31.3.16

8369   Deld CSD White City by 8.15; Hendon 3.2.16; Engine returned CSD by 16.2.16;
            Wrecked when Bessonneau tent blew away 28.3.16; Deleted 31.3.16
8270   Deld CSD White City by 8.15; Hendon, awaiting erection 5.5.16; Flown 31.5.16
8271   Deld CSD White City by 8.15

8272 to 8280   Deld CSD White City?

             (2 Thomas biplanes at Hendon by 7.12.15, 1 more on 8.12.15, 2 from CSD on 10.12.15,
              2 on 10.1.16 and 1 on 1.2.16. No serials quoted)

All deleted by 1.17

J
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JRNY View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JRNY Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Jun 2012 at 19:28
Jan, I have a little.  The company put out very nice brochures which I have photographed at the History Center in Ithaca and at the Smithsonian Institution in D.C.; these brochures have specs and a couple of pictures of the T-2 that you probably have.  I also have the 3 view that was published in Flight, but I imagine you do too. 

I will be glad to send you what I have in e form.

I am amazed at the detailed information from you and Nick Forder about these planes, and Mr. Forder's knowledge of Curtiss's dealings with British procurement.  I would be very interested in references.

Jim
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JRNY Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Jun 2012 at 02:31
One more thing.  I discovered in the San Diego museum collection on Flicker a picture of a Thomas-Morse S-1A.  This amazed me because I have never heard of such a model, and I have found not a single other reference to it.  Yet it is unquestionably a Thomas design, and it looks to be sitting in Renwick Park in Ithaca.  It appears to have a V-8 engine, probably the 135 hp Sturdivant.  It has no dihedral.  The elevators look identical to those used on the S-4B, and the turtle deck is the same.

I have never heard of any S series aircraft other than the S-4 prototypes, the S-4B, S-4C, S-4E, S-5, 6, 7 and 9...and now the 1A.  Of course, many companies gave numbers to designs that were never built.  However, the discovery of this 1A took me completely by surprise so I suppose other surprises could be out there.  Jim
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NickForder Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Jun 2012 at 08:56
Of the top of my head, I'm struggling a bit to remember the details of this nearly 18 months later, but I think that the main sources (other than those mentioned in the posts above) are likely to have been :
 
Curtiss : The Hammondsport Years (Porte)
The Norman Thompson File, Mike Goodall, Air Britain (Porte)
The Speedseekers, Thomas Foxworth (company details)
From Sea to Sky, AM Longmore (quote ?)
Aeroplanes of the RFC (Military Wing), JM Bruce (The Curtiss JN4 bit)
 
I must have looked at references about the British pucrhasing commission in the USA, but I don't recall finding anything specific of us.
 
There might have been something in Stephen Roskill's edited Documents Relating to the RNAS, which is the other possible source for the Longmore quote.
Nick
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JRNY Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Jul 2012 at 16:17
Thanks very much, Nick.  I will check on these when I can get back to this work.  I'm not far from the Curtiss Museum in Hammondsport, which should have some of these.  I have "Curtiss: the Hammondsport Years", but have not heard of the others.

Jim
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