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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Preferred Citation
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Scope and Contents
  • Related Materials

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: San Diego Air and Space Museum Library and Archives
    Title: Sam D. Heron Personal Papers
    source: Heron, Sam D.
    Identifier/Call Number: SDASM.SC.10068
    Physical Description: 1.3 Cubic Feet Three (3) archival boxes, 15x10x5 inches
    Date (inclusive): 1891-1963
    Abstract: Sam Heron was an aviation engineer, technician, and inventor who helped to develop the first successful air-cooled engine systems, as well as making various other notable contributions to the field. This collection contains materials related to his life.

    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.

    Preferred Citation

    [Item], [Filing Unit], [Series Title], [Subgroups], [Record Group Title and Number], [Repository “San Diego Air & Space Museum Library & Archives”]

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    The materials in this Collection were donated to the San Diego Air and Space Museum.

    Biographical / Historical

    Sam Dalziel Heron, son of Daziel Heron (an actor) and Isabella Ann Coxon Heron, was born in on May 18, 1891, in Newcastle-on Tyne, England. He attended Alleyns School in Dulwich, the Goldsmith College (London University) and Durham University in Newcastle-on Tyne. While attending night school he completed his apprenticeship as a mechanic and foundry man at Thames Ironworks Shipbuilding and Engineering Company. He also served as draftsman and designer with Sir W.G. Armstrong, Whitworth and Company Ltd. In this period from 1910-1914 his experience included machining and later drafting and designing parts for aircraft piston engines. He helped to develop the first successful aluminum air cooler engine cylinders at the Royal Aircraft during World War I. He came to America in 1921 to work for the Air Force on the development of the two-valve air-cooler cylinder. In a short time Sam Heron proved through his experimental work that the air-cooler cylinder could successfully match the liquid-cooled. Sam’s demonstration likely sparked the air-cooled engine revolution and all of the later successful air-cooled engines incorporated in some form or another most of the features he utilized. Once it achieved serious acceptance, the air-cooled engine never lost its ascendancy in this country and world-wide air transport was built around it, altering the field of aviation. Sam Heron’s other important achievements included his work on fuel. His research ranged from the development of fuel test engines through the setting of standards to the utilization of complex hydrocarbon chemistry. In 1934 he joined the Ethyl Corp in Detroit as Director of Aeronautical research, a position he held until his retirement in 1946. After his retirement he served as consultant to the government, Ethyl Corp and other firms. Heron’s accomplishments in this field were acknowledged with many prestigious awards and medals, such as the Manly Medal (1928), the Horning Memorial Medal (1947), and the Certificate of Merit (1948). He died in July 1963, in Detroit, Michigan.

    Scope and Contents

    Three (3) archival boxes, 15x10x5 inches. This collection is a combination of business correspondence, personal correspondence, research drafts, sketches and pictures, photographs, negatives, scripts, satirical documents, a lawsuit, booklets, full-size blueprints, and identification (including two passports) and certification. The collection is in good condition.
    There is a biography photograph file in this collection labeled 02-H-00232-00239 in Box 3, Folder 31.

    Related Materials

    Robert Kerley Personal Papers
    Secondary Sources: Kerley, Robert V, “Autobiography of S.D. Heron,” Detroit, Michigan. TL 540 .H47 .A3.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    United Aircraft Corporation
    Heron, Sam D.
    Curtiss-Wright Corporation
    Doolittle, James Harold
    Wright Aeronautical Corporation