[Between 2009 and 2011, I maintained a TypePad blog, “More Fiends,” intended to update my book Baseball Fiends and Flying Machines. Those posts can still be found in the archive.org Wayback Machine, but I stopped updating that site in 2011. Because this WordPress site promotes and updates all my books, I’d like to republish some of those earlier posts.]
One of the minor mysteries surrounding the figure of Alfred W. Lawson concerns the end of his 1–passenger SuperAirliner project. This much is known: the bright orange cabin was built in Garwood, NJU in 1927; and in early 1928 was moved to a leased factory building in Trenton, NJ. What happened to t from that point is unknown. Recently, copies of the Trenton Evening Times have been digitized and offer some intriguing new information. One find is a new image of the cabin as it was being moved into Trenton:
Several articles that appeared throughout 1928 and 1929 indicate that virtually no further work was done on the plane for over a year, although Lawson did continue to pay his monthly lease on time. In April of 1929, Lawson was reported to have approached the city of Prescott, AZ about moving the project there. However, the Prescott Chamber of Commerce was likely scared away after they inquired about Lawson to Trenton officials. The last mention that appears about the SuperAirliner in Trenton comes from the June 15th, 1929 edition of the Times. It notes that the plane has been moved from the Thropp plant in accordance with the termination of the lease, and notes that the Lawson concern “intends taking the craft to a western city.”
Where the cabin was taken remains a mystery. Moving it would have been a very expensive logistical challenge.
[2020 Postscript: I have no further information on what happened to the SuperAirliner after it was taken from the Thropp shop in May, 1929. But here is another photo of when it arrived in Trenton from Garwood the previous year, 1928:]