MA Aviation Historical Society Inc.
PO Box 457
Wakefield MA 01880-0957

Telephone: 781.662.1253
Email:
info@massaerohistory.org

 

METZ COMPANY
Waltham, MA 1909 -- 1921


PEOPLE:

Charles Herman Metz, President
Charles J. Spiegelberg, Treasurer
Roscoe A. Pickens, General Sales Manager
Edwin H. Metz Sr., Vice President Branch Sales
John Robbins, General Superintendent
Charles Wolf, Purchasing
Charles Metz
Charles Herman Metz

 

 

PLACES:

 



Bicycle


Principal Offices at: Gore Mansion, Waltham MA                            
Auto Production at Plant #1 on River Street                
Production Machine Shop Plant #2 on Rumford Avenue
Aeroplane Manufacturing at Plant #3 off Gore Street

 

THE COMPANY:

The Metz Company of 1909 (previously known as Waltham Manufacturing Company) was a nationally known automobile manufacturer with Metz Orient cars popular throughout the United States and Europe. Their original model was the Metz Plan car ordered by mail and with parts shipped to the customer for assembly on the installment plan. As each payment arrived a set of component parts was shipped until the customer’s car was completely built. Metz had retail branch offices in major U.S. cities and they were widely known for their successful participation and performance in the Automobile Club of America speed and endurance races. The Metz – Hupmobile team of cars winning the last of the Glidden Races in 1913.

Charles Metz had started in the bicycle business and moved along into manufacturing and sales of motor bicycles and motorcycles. Automobile and engine manufacturing were their next line of business. The publicity surrounding the aviation exhibitions in New England and specifically the Harvard Aero Meet of 1910 interested Charles Metz in these new developments and oppotunities in aviation as the next level of challenges for the Metz Company.

His first step was to plan an aviation meet for June 15-20, 1911 on the grounds of his home and office at the Gore Mansion in Waltham. For this Metz Aviation Meet he budgeted $50,000 for prize money and began contacting and contracting noted aviators to provide the flight demonstrations and aerial competitions for attracting the general public. Harry Atwood, Earle Ovington, Cromwell Dixon, Lincoln Beachey, James V. Martin and his wife Lily Irvine Martin, Ignatius Semeniouk, Paul Studensky, Joe Downey and other well known U.S. and European aviators filled the bill.  The meet was very successful attracting 50, 000 paying visitors with peak attendance on June 17 of 30,000 people.

Charles Metz and his son Edwin in the fall of 1910 started designing and building two very different aeroplanes; the “Bleriot like” Air-Car monoplane and the “Curtiss-Farman type” pusher biplane. As they were building these aircraft they started advertising the Air-Car and the biplane in the Saturday Evening Post a publication that regularly included their automobile advertisements. Both prototype aircraft were finished by January 1911 and the Curtiss Farman Model was displayed at the Second National Exhibition of Aerial Craft in Boston on February 20-25, 1911. The Air-Car was mentioned in February 1911 press accounts related to the Exhibition. It was said to be unavailable for display as it was in Georgia with aviator Joe Downey (a well known Metz bicycle, motorcycle and automobile race driver).  The monoplane was exhibited at the Metz Aviation Meet in June but although it was powered up and taxied around the field, it was not flown. The monoplane’s whereabouts after the 1911 Aviation Meet are unknown.

 

AEROPLANE DATA:

The Planes


Metz Air Car 1911- Bleriot Type Monoplane with Metz 35hp. 4cyl.water cooled, modified automobile engine. The Aircar which Metz exhibited at Belmont Park was not available for the February 1911 Boston Aerial Craft Exhibition as it was reported to be with aviator Joe Downey of Jamaica Plain who was giving exhibition flights in Georgia.

Metz Air Car

Number built: 1


Metz Biplane 1911- a Curtiss - Farman type pusher biplane with the same Metz 35hp. 4cyl. water cooled engine as in the Air Car. Aircraft controls consisted of a Curtiss type wheel and pillar mounted on a universal joint. Back and forth on the pillar or stick controlled the front elevator while side to side movement controlled the ailerons hinged to the rear wings with leather straps. Turning the wheel right or left operated the vertical rudder. This biplane was exhibited at the Boston Aerial Craft Exhibition Feb.20-25, 1911 at Mechanics Hall, Boston. Represented at the show as custom built aeroplane for a customer in St. Louis.


World War One Aircraft Production 1917-1918

De Havilland DH-4
De Havilland DH-4 “Liberty Plane” American version for U.S. Army
       Wing span:42’ 5.5, Length: 29’ 11” Heiht:9’8”, Wing area 440 sq.ft., Weight: Empty: 2,732, Gross: 4,297, Max Speed 124mph.

       Powered by a 420hp. Liberty V-12 engine.


U.S. Army contract for DeHavilland DH-4 parts for 1000 aircraft received in February 26, 1918 for delivery in 1918.  This contract was significantly behind schedule in August 1918 and the U.S. Army assumed the direct management and control of the Plant # 3 for the duration of the war.

Morse Scout & Handley-Page 0-400
A Thomas Morse Scout along side the Standard Aircraft Company/Handley-Page 0-400 bomber
Wing span: 100’ Length: 62’, 10” Wing area: 1,655 sq. ft., Weight- Empty: 8,721 lbs., Gross Weight: 12,425 lbs.
Max. Speed: 96mph.  Powered by two 420hp. Liberty 12A, V-12 engines.



Standard Aircraft Company of Plainfield NJ subcontracted to Metz an order for 20 sets of parts for the Handley Page 0/400 and like amounts to twenty four other companies in June 1917. The total order was for parts to complete 500 Hanley Page 0/400 bombers. Standard Aircraft  was to ship the complete sets to England for assembly.
As of an inventory audit in September 1919, 107 HP 0/400 sets were completed and 393 partial sets were in process of completion.


Note: There are no known photos of Metz aeroplanes that MAHS could locate but we are still looking for images, three views and articles that would profile these aircraft. The successful Metz Aviation Meet in June 1911 did attract a stellar collection of American and European aviators with their Bleriots, Burgess - Wrights, Curtiss and Grahame-White aeroplanes. There are many good photos taken during the Meet of these planes and we have a number of those in our collection. We welcome any and all information on the Metz Company’s short lived aviation entry into the aviation business.


Source: We thank Albert Arena of the Waltham (MA) Museum for his work in preserving and sharing with MAHS what Metz Company aviation information exists.



Wm. J. Deane
MAHS 2009




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