Cool Stuff Being Made: Sensenich Propeller

By September 8, 2007Cool Stuff Being Made

Sensenich.jpgSensenich Propeller Manufacturing Company has a cool history and is making cool products today, fixed-pitch metal (aluminum) propellers, widely used in civil aviation.

The company began — as so many American manufacturing companies have — in a farm’s workshop, when two brothers in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, put a WWI aircraft engine with wooden propellers on the back of a wooden snow-sled to tool around the farmstead, perhaps the first such contraption in the world. Photos and the company’s history are here, and below right is a photo of the contraption. brother3.jpg

Today, the Lititz, Penn., company manufactures and repairs fixed-pitch metal propellers. In our hour-long Cool Stuff Being Made tour, General Manager Ed Zercher takes through the entire casting and production process, with its intense attention to product strength, balance and precision — after all, the propellers take people into the skies, all across the globe. (Forty percent of the company’s products are shipped overseas.) Lots of discussion of CNC, or computer numerical control, fabrication of metal parts by the removing metal.

Because the reliability of the propellers is a literal matter of life and death, Ed also talks about the packing and shipping of the parts, making sure they arrive to the customer undamaged. He also mentions Sensenich’s sister company in Florida, which manufacturers wood propellers for air boats.

As always, we express our gratitude to the good folks at the Pennsylvania Cable Network, who bring this documentary to us. Check out their offerings.

To watch this week’s Cool Stuff Being Made, please

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Bill Montick says:

    I am in possession of a SENSENICH wooden propeller from a plane which supposedly crash landed on a lake in Passaic County, New Jersey on a frozen lake. This would have been more than 50 years ago. I’m interested in knowing if any of the information stamped into the propeller might give me some idea of when the prop was made, which hopefully will narrow down my search about when the event took place.
    Stamped into the wood: SENSENICH
    DES 72F42
    SER 34135
    HP 65
    RPm 2350
    The decal reads: Pester’s Propeller Service
    Gov’t Approved Repair Station No. 182
    Roosevelt Field, Mineola, LI
    Thank you-

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