PIQUA, Ohio — Hartzell Propeller is celebrating the company’s 100th anniversary of designing, certifying, manufacturing and supporting propellers for tens of thousands of aircraft customers through the decades.
Through the years, Hartzell Propeller has built more than 500,000 propellers for piston and turbine powered aircraft.
In the beginning, founder Robert Hartzell’s friend, Orville Wright, suggested that Hartzell use walnut to manufacture more reliable aircraft propellers. Hartzell, an aviation enthusiast and aircraft mechanic, had noticed high failure rates among wood propellers in use at the time.
The development marked the beginning of the Hartzell Walnut Propeller Company in Piqua, Ohio. With the help of a lone employee, Hartzell carved some of his first propellers from logs of walnut with hand axes.
During World War I, the company provided Liberty aircraft propellers for warplanes. In the early 1920s, the word “liberty” was removed from Hartzell propellers and replaced with “Built on Honor,” the phrase that has been emblazoned on every Hartzell propeller since.
Abandoning wood blades years ago in favor of aerospace grade aluminum and structural composite, the company designs propeller systems with “blended airfoil” technology.
“We will begin the 100th anniversary celebration with our family of customers at AERO Friedrichshafen and SUN ‘n FUN in early April. Then at EAA AirVenture in July at Oshkosh, we will have a large celebration for our customers. We’ll wrap up the year in October at NBAA in Las Vegas to celebrate and toast our 100th year in business,” said President Joe Brown. “Internally, we will be doing some very special things throughout the year in Piqua with our employees, retirees and their families because the people of Hartzell have poured their heart and soul into this family owned business that has never, ever lost sight of where we came from or where we are headed.”