The Descriptive Finding Guide for the Maj. George E.A. Hallett Personal Papers SDASM.SC.10062

Robert E. Johnston
San Diego Air and Space Museum Library and Archives
2001 Pan American Plaza, Balboa Park
San Diego 92101

Language of Material: English
Contributing Institution: San Diego Air and Space Museum Library and Archives
Title: Maj. George E.A. Hallett Personal Papers
Identifier/Call Number: SDASM.SC.10062
Physical Description: 0.8 Cubic Feet 5 boxes
Date (inclusive): 1911-1982
Date (bulk): bulk
Abstract: This collection contains personal material relating to the career of Maj. George Hallett. Hallett was an engineer who worked with Glenn Curtis on early airplanes in San Diego. He was in the Army Air Service during World War I. After the war he worked in the General Motors Research Lab and later as a consultant for Consolidated Aircraft.
Language of Material: English

Biographical / Historical

George Eustace Amyot Hallett, an aviation pioneer, aircraft engine developer, and inventor, devoted the major part of his adult life to aviation. He was born in England on May 9, 1890. His parents came to America when he was six months old, locating in San Diego, California. After finishing school, he worked as an apprentice for the Baker Machine Company in San Diego, specializing in the maintenance and repair of boat and automobile engines, while also taking a home study course in engineering.
He became acquainted with two amateur San Diego aviation enthusiasts, Bernard F. Roehrig and Charles Walsh, who were experimenting with airplanes and teaching themselves to fly at Imperial Beach. The Roehrig machine had been built at Baker Machine Company, and Hallett began to help the two aviators make repairs and tune their engines. In 1910, Hallett made Glenn H. Curtiss’ acquaintance when Curtiss began to adapt North Island for use as a training base. Curtiss had rented a boat from Baker Machine to transport men and equipment. Soon, Curtiss made arrangements to borrow Hallett, which proved to be the start of a long association.
Hallett was a member of the small Curtiss group who succeeded in making the first successful flights off the water in 1911. He was also involved in attaching a retractable wheel landing gear to their aircraft, which they called the Triad, the first successful amphibian. The same year Hallett accepted a position as the mechanic for Charles C. Witmer and the Curtiss flight exhibition team, later also serving over the next several years as the mechanic for other Curtiss team pilots. In 1914, Hallett received flight training, in anticipation of his role as the co-pilot of the flying boat America, planned for a trans-Atlantic flight attempt. The flight was abandoned due to the impending war in Europe.
Hallett returned to North Island in 1914, supporting the Curtiss Model N that was to enter the Army competition trials there. This airplane was later modified and became the well known Curtiss JN during and after World War I. Late that year he left Curtiss and accepted a government position as the Army’s aviation mechanic at North Island, supervising engine overhaul and serving as a consultant on engine matters. He then developed a course of study for engine mechanics and developed a new method for investigating engine problems and failures. This led to his preparation of a book on the topic, which became a standard part of aviation ground school instruction.
In 1917, after the declaration of war, Hallett was called to Washington and placed in charge of organizing mechanic’s schools for the Army Air Service at large. He also assisted colleges in adding his coursework, which, by then, had achieved national prominence. In 1918, he was commissioned a Major in the Army Air Service and was sent to Wright Field in Dayton, where he established the power plant and aeronautical repair departments. After the War, he was transferred to McCook Field, where he was placed in charge of the power plant branch. There, he established an engineering department and an engine test and development facility, which led to a number of innovations, particularly with engine superchargers.
In 1922, Hallett resigned from the Army to become a research engineer and section head of the General Motors Research Laboratory in Detroit. His work at General Motors included laying the foundation for their very successful diesel engine program. Of note, he was a prominent member of the group that arranged for the moving of the Wright residence and workshop from Dayton to Greenfield Village, to become a permanent part of the Ford Museum at Dearborn.
George Hallett retired from General Motors in 1937, moving first to Tucson, Arizona, where he lived for four years, following which he returned to the San Diego area, where he made his final home in La Mesa. During World War II, he served as a special consultant for Reuben H. Fleet and Consolidated Aircraft in San Diego. He continued to fly whenever possible, never lost his interest in things mechanical, and also enjoyed small cars and photography. Major Hallett served as Chairman of the Prudden Historical Library and Archives at what is now the San Diego Air & Space Museum, a position he held for a number of years, initially in 1963.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to researchers by appointment.

Conditions Governing Use

Some copyright may be reserved. Consult with the library director for more information.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The materials were donated to the San Diego Air & Space Museum circa 1970-1980.

Preferred Citation

[Item], George Hallett Special Collection, Archives, San Diego Air & Space Museum

Related Materials

Curtiss Aviation School Subject Files
Selected digitized images from this collection.

Scope and Contents

This collection contains correspondence, photographs, technical documents and other papers covering the career of Maj. George Hallett.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

North Island Naval Air Station
Liberty Engines
McCook Field (Ohio)
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (Ohio)
General Motors Corporation -- Research
Aero Club of America
Bane, Thurman Harrison, Col.
Arnold, Henry Harley
Curtiss, Glenn Hammond
Early Bird Society
Martin, Glen L.
Consolidated Aircraft (Firm)
Heron, S.D. (Samuel Dalziel)
Kettering, Charles Franklin
General Electric Company
Hall-Scott Motor Car Co.
Mitchell, William, Gen.
Fleet, Reuben Hollis
Handley, Frederick Handley


Box 01 Correspondence and Official Papers

Physical Description: 1. Hallett Correspondence, U.S. Signal Corps (1915-1918) 2. Hallett Correspondence, Army Air Corps (1918-1921) 3. Hallett Correspondence, General Motors (1931-1955) 4. Hallett Correspondence, Consolidated Aircraft Corporation (1942-1944) Includes letters to and from Reuben H. Fleet, and between Hallett and outside individuals and companies. Topics are quite far ranging and innovative, including the cycle-weld process, spark plug and ignition harness design, airplane and helicopter engines, including rotary and small jet engines, the Crosley concept automobile, development of water supply wells at Consolidated, developing a water recovery system, aerial refueling concepts, development of a small helicopter, the Cylcopter concept, air freighter troop container, transporting gasoline from Los Angeles, converting the B-24 to a two engine cargo plane, airport runway lighting concept, solar evaporation of waste fluids, invention agreements, rotating wing aircraft, transporting gasoline to China, liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen as fuel, candidate air tanker cargoes, fog dissipation concept, and the Burnelli planes. 5. Hallett Correspondence, Miscellaneous (1914-1981) 6. Draft Board Records (1917) 7. George Hallett Last Will and Testament (1938) 8. Arizona Tungsten Ore Mining Correspondence, Claims and Records (1938-1940) 9. Correspondence from J.J. Smith Documenting 138th Aero Squadron History (1958) 10. Correspondence with Peter Beck Concerning OX Engine (1959) Technical Reports and Special Studies 11. Airplane Motors, A Practical Course of Instruction in the Principles, Overhauling, and Care of Airplane Motors, George E.A. Hallett, copyrighted 1917, printed 1918, Washington, Government Printing Office 12. Airplane Motors Instruction Book Notes (circa 1918) 13. Notes on Starting Curtiss V8 60 Horsepower Engine 14. Notes and Rules for Pilots (circa 1918) 15. Inspection of Aeroplanes before Flights (circa 1918) 16. Principle Characteristics of Foremost Engines of 1918 17. Martin Club Address (Glenn L. Martin Company, circa 1918) 18. Digest of Development of Aviation Engines, 1914 to 1919 19. Outline of Policy for the Power Plant Department at McCook Field (1919) 20. Probable Future Development of Aeronautics in War and Commerce Including Both Heavier-than-Air and Lighter-than-Air Branches (1920) 21. Specification for Air Cooled Engine for Pursuit Type Airplane (U.S. Army - 1920) 22. Development of Efficient Air - Cooled Cylinders (1919-1923) 23. Hallett Valve Design Sketches (1920-1921) 24. Effect on Cylinder Performance at Variations in Stroke Length and Compression Ratio, McCook Field (circa 1924) 25. Notes of a Proposed Engine of the Engineering Division, Wright Field (1929) 26. Desirable Engine Characteristics (1929) 27. Wright Cyclone Engine Performance (circa 1930) 28. Bristol Phoenix Diesel Engine Performance (circa 1930) 29. Proposed Eight Cylinder Engine Sketch (circa 1930) 30. Soap Bubble Formulae (circa 1930)

Box 02

Physical Description: 31. General Motors Valve Designs (circa 1932) 32. Two Cycle Engine Development, General Motors (1932) 33. Two Cycle Engine Characteristics (1932-1937) 34. Balance Characteristics, Crankshaft and Cylinder Arrangements of Two Cycle Engines having 3 to 16 Cylinders (1932) 35. Mechanical and Chemical Aspects of Exhaust Odor and Idle on Single Cylinder Two Cycle Engine (1933) 36. Investigation of a Design for 12 Cylinder Opposed Engine (1935) 37. Aircraft U-124 Engine Program (1935) 38. Aircraft Two Cycle “U” Type Single Cylinder Engine Development (1935) 39. Excerpts from “Man, The Unknown,” by A. Carrel (1935) 40. Notes on Airplane Engine Conference (19 April 1935) 41. Stroboscopic Analysis of Two-Cycle Combustion (1936) 42. Gas Injection Diesel Study (1936) 43. Gas Engine Refrigeration Unit Development (1936) 44. Progress on Study of Exhaust Odor Formation in Two Cycle Engine (1936) 45. Engine Exhaust Odor Measurement (1936) 46. Desaxe “U” Type Cylinder Design Data (1936) 47. Proposed Four Cylinder Radial Engine, 400 BHP @ 2250 RPM (1936) 48. Study of Oil Flow in Connecting Rods for Piston Cooling (1936) 49. Universal Test Engine Design (Undated) 50. V-1710 C1/C2/C3 Engine Weight Analysis (Circa 1936) 51. Material Selection - Allison 1710 Engine Cylinder Head (1937) 52. Hydrovanes – Useful Adaptations and Improvements (1937) 53. Tests on Exhaust Gas Dilution at Full Load in Two Cycle Engine (1937) 54. Two Cycle Engine Fuel Injection Pump (1938) 55. Hallett Article - Early Steps toward Air Power (1941) 56. Harper Injection Aircraft Engine (1942) 57. Development of Large Airplane Engine (1942) 58. Proposed Large Airplane Engine (1943) 59. Airplane Engines of Higher Horsepower and Lower Specific Weight (1943) 60. Problems Connected with Two-Line Engine (1943) 61. Suggested Notes for Aircraft Ground Observers (1952) 62. Aircraft Engine Performance Relationships (circa 1918-1936) 63. Measurement of Plain Bearing Material Score Resistance (1979) 64. General Engineering Relationships and Conversion Factors Interviews, Recollections and Biographical Information 65. Notes from George Hallett Diaries (1912) 66. Personal Chronology of Aeronautics Activities, 1908-1922 (1935) 67. “Odds And Ends,” Early Planes and Engines Experiences and Recollections – Undated 68. George E.A. Hallett Chronological Observations (Undated) 69. Discussion of George Hallett Patents (1956) 70. Personal Recollections (Early Engine Development, History, Experiences, Problems, Testing Focus - circa 1911-1920) - Transcribed from circa 1957

Box 03

Physical Description: 71. Powered Aircraft Flown by Major G.E.A. Hallett - Chronological List (1958) 72. George Hallett, Aeroplane Mechanician and Early Bird - Planned Article or Book, as Related by Hallett to Bruce Reynolds (1958) 73. George Hallett, Aeroplane Mechanician and Early Bird – Part II (1958) 74. George Hallett Biographical Transcription of post-1917 Experiences (1958) 75. Electro-Motive Study: Interview with George E.A. Hallett, 1959 (Recollections of Early General Motors Diesel Engine Development) 76. Transcript - Interview with George E.A. Hallett, 5 April 1960 (San Diego Historical Society - 21 pages) 77. Tribute to Sam Heron by Harold E. Morehouse (1964) 78. San Diego Aerospace Museum Historical Committee (1964) 79. The Wanamaker - Curtiss 1914 Transatlantic Project Recollections (1968) 80. Biographical Notes (1956-1958) 81. Hallett Tribute - San Diego Aerospace Museum Countdown (Fall, 1967) 82. The Early Birds of Aviation Record (1975) 83. McCook Field Questionnaire (Smithsonian) 84. George Hallett Historical Information - Early Aviators (2010 Internet Search) Articles 85. Miscellaneous Published Information and Newspaper Articles (1935-1982) Photographs 86. Aero Club and Curtiss Biplane, U.S. Aviation Field, San Diego (1911) 87. Curtiss Students at North Island in 1911 Lt. Kelley, Lt. Beck, Glenn H. Curtiss, C.C. Witmer, Lt. Walker and Lt. Ellyson 88. Curtiss students at North Island in 1911 (a second, different group photograph) John D. Cooper, H.C. Robinson, Lt. Beck, Shackelford, Lt. Walker, C.C. Witmer, Glenn H. Curtiss, Lt. Ellyson, Lt. Henry, Lt. Kelley and “Slim” Purington 89. Informal Group Picture at North Island in 1911 Greer, Cooper, Beck, Mrs. Beck, Carl Adams, Shackelford, Walker, Ellysen, Witmer, and Robinson. 90. Glenn Curtiss and first “Triad” Amphibian (North Island – 1911) 91. Lieutenant L.G. Ellyson in A-1 Elevated Platform Launch (1911) 92. Ellysen and Witmer at North Island (Swim Suits - 1911) 93. C.C. Witmer and George Hallett, Exhibition Curtiss Hydro, DePere Wisconsin (1911) 94. Byron “Death Valley Slim” Purington - Mechanic - North Island (1912) 95. Unidentified Group (likely at North Island circa 1912) 96. A-2 on Catapult (Washington Navy Yard - 1912) 97. Curtiss Flying Boat Delivered to German Baltic Fleet (1913) 98. Walker, Ellyson and Ely, Coronado Polo Grounds (1911) 99. First Curtiss Model “J” Fitted with Pontoon at Hammondsport, NY (1914) 100. First Curtiss Model “J,” Hammondsport, NY (1914) 101. George Hallett and Curtiss Model N (North Island - 1914) 102. Lt. J.C. Porte, George Hallett and Glenn H. Curtiss with “America” (1914) 103. Army Competition Selection Aircraft - North Island (1914/1915) In October 1914, five American aircraft manufacturers proposed higher powered, newly designed airplanes to compete for the Army’s use at North Island Curtiss Model N: Curtiss OXX Engine Martin: Hall Scott Engine Schmidt Biplane: Le Rhone Engine Burgess Dunne: Salmson Engine Wright “Tin Cow” - Austria Daimler Engine 104. Curtiss Model “J” (1915) 105. Engineering Class at North Island, George Hallett, Instructor (1915) - Two Group Photographs 106. Second Officer Class, Aviation School, Signal Corps, North Island (1916) Lyon, Newbold, Kruss, Stockton, Horigan, Walton, Colonel W.L. Kenly, O’Malley (civilian) and Hallett (civilian) 107. Enlisted Mechanics, Mechanics School, North Island (1916) Curtiss, Doty, Johnson, Fordington, McKeane, Hardy, O’Malley, Hallett, Hammond, Holte, Pickup and Montijo 108. Class of Officers at North Island - Hallett in Charge (1917) 109. Mechanics School at North Island - Second Building (1917) 110. Major Oscar Brindley in Wright Airplane (c. 1918) 111. Fred A. Hoover (circa 1918-1921) 112. Major George E.A. Hallett (1919, circa 1920s, circa 1930s, 1963, 1965 and 1969) 113. McCook Field, Engineering Division, W-1 Engine (1920) 114. Dr. George De Bothezat (Romanian/Russian helicopter pioneer), Frederick Handley Page, Colonel Thurman H. Bane and George E.A. Hallett at McCook Field (1921) 115. General Electric Engine Supercharger Photo Series at McCook Field (1921) List of photos in Hallett General Electric supercharger collection; first Glenn L. Martin bomber with General Electric supercharger; close-up of Martin bomber w/supercharger; supercharged Packard 12 engine in DH-4; G.E. supercharger with shrouds, and without shrouds; McCook Field Intercooler 116. Liberty engine in DH-4 with G.E. Supercharger on Army Experimental Airplane, set Altitude Record (1928) 117. Unidentified Artist Rendering - Small Bat-like Design (identified as Pattingan or Pattengar on reverse) - likely mid-1930s Concept 118. Reproduction, Henry Ford and Orville Wright, Five Others Including Edsel Ford (circa late 1930s to early 1940s) 119. George Hallett with Two Ladies (circa 1970-1980) 120. Cypress View Memorial for Mr. and Mrs. Hallett 121. Unidentified Observers/Photographers (circa 1914-1918) 122. Lincoln Beachey Curtiss Pusher Replica (circa early 1970s)

Box 04

Physical Description: Invention Development Records, Patents, Engineering Sketches and Drawings 123. Invention Development Records These records deal with engine design improvements, inventions, or proposed inventions, for the most part dating from when Hallett was employed at the General Motors Research Laboratory. Engine design improvements include, but are not limited to: poppet type injection valve, spark plug cooling, carburetor heater valve, carburetor heating coil, rocker and bevel cone mechanism, engine injection valve, variable inlet and exhaust system, Packard valve gear, flared port holes in steel cylinder liners, light car engine with fluid fly wheel, connecting rod pin, crank shaft pin, valve gear lubrication, valve seat cooling, connecting rod bearings, two cycle engine exhaust heater, combustion chamber arrangement, intake/exhaust/air valve timing, copper lined cast iron guide, localized charge in two cycle engine, exhaust collector and air supply for single valve engines, fluid cooled cylinder with radiating fins, two cylinder engine connecting rods, fuel feed nozzles, and supercharged two cycle engine. 125. Patents (Not All Attributable to George Hallett) No. 981,216 (1911), Apparatus for Generating Steam or Other Vapors No. 981,217 (1911), Apparatus for Generating Steam or Other Vapors No. 981,218 (1911), Apparatus for Generating Steam No. 988,374 (1911), Internal Combustion Engine No. 1,008,188 (1911), Internal Combustion Engine No. 1,139,898 (1915), Internal Combustion Engine No. 1,319,789 (1919), Carburetor No. 1,339,218 (1920), Carburetor No. 1,359,828 (1920), Carburetor No. 1,496,673 (1924), Gas Mixers No. 1,755,989 (1930), Brake Control; Re-issue 18,997 (1933) No. 1,757,425 (1930), Hydraulic Valve Mechanism No. 1, 819,715 (1931), Eccentric Balance Driving Gear No. 1,872,141 (1932), Hydraulic Valve Operating Mechanism No. 1,872,279 (1932), Lubricating System No. 1,874,446 (1932), Ported Cylinder Construction No. 1,897,934 (1933), Rear Wheel Arrangement for Motor Buses No. 1,898,459 (1933), Crank Shaft Balancing No. 1,898,460 (1933), Two-Cycle Engine No. 1,929,108 (1933), Oil Pressure Regulator No. 1,930,261 (1933), Slack Adjuster No. 1,930,553 (1933), Hydraulic Drive Gear No. 1,930,554 (1933), Hydraulic Valve Mechanism No. 1,931,476 (1933), Hydraulic Valve Lash Adjusting Mechanism No. 1,936,667 (1933), Hydraulic Drive Mechanism No. 1,937,932 (1933), Rocker Arm Assembly No. 1,950,970 (1934), Two Cycle Engine No. 1,984,013 (1934), Two Stroke Cycle Engine No. 1,996,807 (1935), Valve Gear for Operating Dual Valves No. 1,997,279 (1935), Piston Driving Mechanism No. 2,001,858 (1935), Lubricating System with Initial Splash No. 2,014,932 (1935), Roots Blower No. 2,067,757 (1937), Engine Blower Control No. 2,067,984 (1937), Two-Cycle Engine Load Control No. 2,133,510 (1938), U-Type Two-Cycle Engine Engineering Drawings 126. Manly Hydraulic Drive (1923) 127. Frigidaire Division (Blueprint), No. EC-25114, Constant Compression Engine (1936) 128. Awards and Certificates 129. Diaries, Memoranda and Address Books 1911 1911-1912 1911-1913 1912-1914 1913 (2) 1914 (2) Curtiss Model E Hydro Notes

Box 05

Physical Description: General Motors Corporation (Blueprints) No. L-1809, Diesel Engine Fuel Injector (1929) No. L-1874, Fuel Injection Pump Layout, Sheets 3 and 4 of 4 Sheets (1930) No. L-2411, Cylinder to Head Flange (1934) No. L-2622, Two Cycle Engine, 2.14 Cu. In., Opposed Cylinders (1935) No. L-2636, Radial Accessory Drive, Sheets 1 and 2 (1935) No. L-2637, Four Cylinder Radial, Sheets 2 and 4 of 4 Sheets (1936) No. L-2638, Rocker Engine, Sheet 1 of 4 Sheets (1935) No. L-2640, Piston Compressor for Rocker Engine (1936) No. L-2669, Engine, 2.2 Cubic Inch Displacement (1936) No. 75790-D, Injection Nozzle Assembly (1931) No. 78651-D, Cylinder Assembly No. 79817-C, Piston, Strut Type, Design No. 2 (1934) No. 79844-C, Piston, Steel, Hydrogen Brazed, Design No. 4 (1934) No. 6098827-D, Cylinder Assembly, Desaxe Type (1935) No. 6099328-C, Port Spray Assembly (1936) No. 6099940-C, Combustion Chamber, Shock Absorber (1936) No. 6099462-C, Rotary Blower (1936) No. 6100265-A, Cushion Seat for Valve (1937) No. 6100288-R, Cylinder Block, Sheets 1-5, of 5 Sheets (1937)