Classic Airliner Collector's Edition Set #1
Our first Collector's Edition ornament set features four pioneering airliners of the 1926-1936 period, laser engraved on solid cherry wood, and presented in a gift box with individual aircraft history information cards.
These four airliners, all from United States manufacturers, collectively represent the dramatic leap forward in aviation technology that became the bridge between the first generation of wood and fabric-covered airliners, to the next generation of aircraft innovation that occurred during World War II.
The Ford Trimotor of 1926 introduced all-metal construction, with the extra safety margin afforded by three engines, and the ability to carry as many as 13 passengers at speeds up to 135 mph. Important airline customers included American Airways, Eastern Air Transport, Pan American, Mexicana, Northwest Airways, TWA, Cubana, and United.
The Boeing 247 first flew in 1933, and advanced the aeronautic art, adding fuselage streamlining and enclosed engine cowlings, along with deicing capabilities and retractable landing gear to achieve good handling qualities and a cruising speed of 160 mph. Initially operated only by Boeing Air Transport (which later became United Airlines), the first 60 units were reserved for this customer only, in the hope of giving a competitive advantage versus other airlines. Frustrated by Boeing's refusal to take his order, the head of TWA turned to Douglas Aircraft, resulting in the DC-1 and DC-2 family, and creating a Douglas airliner tsunami that soon swept the 247 from front line airline service by the second half of the 1930s.
Taking to the skies in early 1934, the Model 10 Electra was Lockheed's entry into airline and executive transport, designed for 8-10 passengers, and building on the success of the earlier Vega and Orion single-engine models. The Electra's speed and durability brought orders from numerous airlines worldwide, who were able to acquire the type more than two years before the larger Douglas DC-3 entered service. Early orders came from Cubana, Pan American, Northwest, National, Mexicana and Pacific Alaska. A total of 148 were built, including the aircraft in which Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan were lost over the south Pacific Ocean during 1937.
Inspired by a request from American Airlines for a larger, faster version of the earlier DC-2 that TWA had championed, Douglas flew the first DC-3 in late 1935. With a wider and longer fuselage than its predecessor, the DC-3 seated 21 passengers, and entered service with American during April 1936. Douglas had built slightly more than 500 by the end of 1941, when the entry of the United States into World War II forced production to be re-directed to the C-47/Dakota military version of the aircraft. 10,655 DC-3/C-47 ships were completed by the time production ended in 1946, and another 2,700 were license-built in Russia as the Lisunov Li-2.
An artistic interpretation of each aircraft’s side and top views is laser-engraved with exacting detail, and each ornament measures approximately 3.4 inches (8.6 cm) in diameter, with a material thickness of 1/8 inch (.32 cm).
The laser work produces a rich caramel-colored edge and image lines, with detail fill that contrasts well against the wood grain. A low-gloss polyurethane finish is hand-applied to enhance the ornament's durability, and each ornament will have its own characteristic wood graining.
The boxed collection and history cards make this a gift to be treasured by pilots, vintage aircraft fans, or airline history enthusiasts, or as a special gift for yourself!