Jerry Kuntz (Writer)

Exploring American History through Unique Individuals

New Images of Lawson Airplanes

Frank Schober was an Early Bird aviator (he soloed in 1912) and later worked as a mechanic for Glenn Curtiss. In 1917, Schober was recruited by Alfred W. Lawson to come to Milwaukee to help assemble military training models that Lawson hoped to sell to the Army. World War I ended before any sale could be made, and Schober left Milwaukee. After Schober left, Lawson completed work on his 16-passenger Lawson Air Liner (L-2) and flew it on a tour from Milwaukee to Washington D.C. and back (with many  promotional stops and minor mishaps).

Schober rejoined Lawson in Milwaukee in 1920 as work started on an even larger plane, the Midnight Liner (L-4).

Several photos from Schober’s collection have previously been published online, mainly on the Early Birds entry for Schober:

http://www.earlyaviators.com/eschober.htm

Schober’s grand-daughter recently sent me some scans of other photos in the collection, including shots that were new to me.

Here are a few:

1) Public viewing of the Midnight Liner [my guess is that this is early December, 1920]. The man in the pilot togs isn’t identified, but may be the co-pilot hired for the Midnight Liner, Charles Wilcox.

midnight3

2) Workmen gathered around the Midnight Liner. The lightweight clothing makes me guess that this might have been April or May, 1921, shortly before the first attempted flight.

midnight1

3) The severe damage to the engine and nose of the Midnight Liner after it crashed during takeoff, May, 1921. This is much closer than any other views I’ve seen. From this image, it’s easy to understand why the cost of reconstruction scared away Lawson’s investors.

midnight2

 

 

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