Wynn Laurence LePage papers
Held at: The Historical and Interpretive Collections of The Franklin Institute [Contact Us]222 N 20th St, Philadelphia, PA, 19103
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the The Historical and Interpretive Collections of The Franklin Institute. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
"Wynn Laurence LePage (1902-1985) [was] an aeronautical engineer who was instrumental in the development of the helicopter and its predecessor, the autogiro...
["Mr. LePage was born in London [in 1902] and was a graduate of the Imperial College of Science and Technology in London. He was made a Commander of the British Empire in 1966.]
"Mr. LePage was president of the Platt-LePage Aircraft Company in Eddystone, Pa., which made the first helicopters purchased by the United States Government.
"In the 1920s, as engineering head of the Philadelphia-based Kellett Autogiro Corporation, [LePage] designed autogiros, including models that went to the South Pole with Admiral Richard E. Byrd in 1931. The large rotor atop an autogiro, unlike a helicopter's, was turned by air pressure rather than motor power; a powered propeller pulled the craft through the air.
"As a consultant engineer in Philadelphia in the 1930s [LePage] designed the first transport autogiro for the Kellett company and the Autogiro Company of America.
"Later, he did research and design work on helicopter possibilities with the engineer Haviland H. Platt. They organized the Platt-LePage Aircraft Company [in 1935], which won an Army Air Force helicopter design competition in 1940. In 1944, the company's twin-rotor helicopters designed for the Air Force were accepted by the [g]overnment.
"He was the author of the "ABC of Flight," an early standard manual."
The Platt-LePage Aircraft Company also proposed the first helicopter gunship, a large twin engine helicopter, and did early design work with the tilt-rotor concept. However, the company was not successful; it ceased operations in 1947.
LePage LePage married Agnes Yarnall in 1936. He was heavily involved with the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, serving as the executive vice-president, and later, president from 1958 to 1967. At the time of his death in 1985, he was chairman-emeritus of the Franklin Institute.
Quoted text from: "Wynn Laurence LePage, 83; Designed Early Helicopters." The New York Times (New York, NY), Oct. 24, 1985. Accessed April 15, 2015. http://www.nytimes.com/1985/10/24/us/wynn-laurence-lepage-83-designed-early-helicopters.html.
This collection contains reports on the XR-1 and XR-1A helicopters, correspondence, notes, awards, lectures, newspaper clippings, photographs, a couple of scrapbooks, and objects. Most materials date from 1929-1974, but there are scrapbooks with photos, clippings, pamphlets, and articles from the 1850s and 1860s about ballooning. A majority of the materials in the collection relate to LePage's work and business, but some items pertain to his involvement at the Franklin Institute. A partial inventory is available on-site.
Box one contains reports from Platt-LePage on XR-1 and XR-1A helicopters, the first and second helicopters produced for the United States Army Air Forces (now the United States Air Force) in the 1940s.
Box two contains reports on only the XR-1A helicopter.
Box three contains reports on R98-R122 helicopters.
Box four contains "Answers to Aviation Questions" by LePage, from the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, 1929-1940.
Box five contains more "Answers to Aviation Questions,"1941-1944.
Boxes six and seven contain technical clippings, correspondence, and other materials.
Additional boxes in the collection contain photographs and awards, a gavel, pilot log, diplomas, notebooks, books and a pin.
Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2014-2016 as part of a project conducted by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to make better known and more accessible the largely hidden collections of small, primarily volunteer run repositories in the Philadelphia area. The Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
This is a preliminary finding aid. No physical processing, rehousing, reorganizing, or folder listing was accomplished during the HCI-PSAR project.
In some cases, more detailed inventories or finding aids may be available on-site at the repository where this collection is held; please contact The Historical and Interpretive Collections of The Franklin Institute directly for more information.
- Aeronautical engineers
- Aerospace engineering
- Military helicopters
- Rotors (Autogiros)
- The Historical and Interpretive Collections of The Franklin Institute
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Sarah Leu and Jack McCarthy through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories
- This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
- Access Restrictions
Contact The Historical and Interpretive Collections of The Franklin Institute for information about accessing this collection.