Sensenich 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.
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
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