Allison-Antrim Museum’s “virtual” September speaker is Kurtis Meyers, a graduate of Greencastle-Antrim High School. Kurtis spoke to the Museum’s membership and the public in March 2005. His presentation was “The Aviation Industry in Hagerstown: The Post-war Years,” with emphasis placed on Fairchild. Meyers’ first presentation, in May 1998, covered the aviation history in Hagerstown from 1916 – 1945. Meyers is a leading authority on Fairchild and aviation in the Cumberland Valley.
Sherman Mills Fairchild was born in 1895, the only child of a congressman, who was also a founder of IBM. The Fairchild Aviation Corporation was born out of Sherman’s interest in photography, specifically aerial photography. Fairchild invented a camera in which the shutter was inside the lens. Fairchild’s camera produced much clearer aerial photographs than the standard cameras of the day because the standard camera’s shutter speed was too slow compared to the speed at which planes flew.
In February 1920, the Fairchild Aerial Camera Corporation was formed so that Fairchild could produce his aerial cameras. A second company, Fairchild Aerial Surveys, was created for his mapmaking and aerial survey business, which existed until 1965. Fairchild decided to build his own plane after realizing that there were no planes suitable for aerial photography. As a result of this decision, the Fairchild Aviation Corporation was formed in 1925.
Sherman Fairchild died March 28, 1971. In March 1987, the long illustrious aircraft history of numerous Fairchild companies came to an end. For over 60 years, the Fairchild name was associated with the design and manufacture of airplanes.
To watch Kurtis Meyers’ 50-minute presentation,click here.
Allison-Antrim Museum, 365 South Ridge Avenue, Greencastle, PA 17225 is open “by appointment,” by calling 717-597-9010, Tuesday to Friday, noon to 4 pm and Saturday 11 am to 1 pm. Masks are required. For more information, please visit: www.greencastlemuseum.org, daily on Facebook, or on Twitter @greencastlemuzm.