Viewing page 14 of 43

310/311

THE THOMAS BROTHERS
Pioneer Aeronautical Engineers - Plane Builders

WILLIAM T. THOMAS                     OLIVER W. THOMAS
Born: Rosario, Argentine Republic     Born: Rosario, Argentine Republic
September 18, 1887                    November 4, 1882

The Thomas Brothers pioneer aviation biographies should be recorded jointly because their early aviation engineering and plane building accomplishments were made as a team. 

After receiving elementary schooling in Argentina, William Thomas attended Dulwich Preparatory School at Dulwich College in Great Britain from 1900 to 1904, then the Central Technical College, London, where he graduated in Civil and Mechanical Engineering in 1908. During this period he also served an apprenticeship with the British Westinghouse Company at Trafford, England. 

While in college and serving his apprenticeship William became very interested in aeronautics,  endeavoring to learn all he could about the new science, and was one of the founding members of the Aero Club of Great Britain and Ireland early in 1908. In June of that year he came to the United Sates to work for the Herring-Curtiss Company, Hammondsport, New York, where he did drafting and designing of motorcycle and aircraft engines for Glenn Curtiss and Captain Thomas Baldwin through 1909. There he also witnessed the aircraft program of the Aerial Experiment Association. 

Oliver Thomas, also a British engineering graduate, had come to the United States before William, as an engineer in the test laboratory of General Electric at Schenectady, New York.

In late 1909 William "got the bug" to build an airplane at Hammondsport. Working in a barn he started the construction of a biplane of his own design, embodying many new and unique ideas. With the help of two local mechanics, Bert
Please note that the language and terminology used in this collection reflects the context and culture of the time of its creation, and may include culturally sensitive information. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution, but is available in its original form to facilitate research. For questions or comments regarding sensitive content, access, and use related to this collection, please contact transcribe@si.edu.