Scope and Contents
The Kaiser-Fleetwings Collection consists of materials relating to James M. Shimer's work as a technical illustrator for Kaiser-Fleetwings and general Fleetwings manuscript and photographic records. There are a large number of Shimer's drawings of aircrafts, blueprints, technical specifications, photographs of aircraft and of models, and promotional brochures for the aircraft, as well as some of Shimer's employment records and various employee newsletters and publications. There are also miscellaneous files and photographs that were part of Henry A. Liese’s personal collection that he donated to the library and were added to the existing materials.
Conditions Governing Access
Contact Margaret R. Grundy Memorial Library (firstname.lastname@example.org) for information about accessing this collection.
Conditions Governing Use
Copyright interests for this collection belong to The Grundy Foundation. For more information, contact the Grundy Archivist (email@example.com).
Biographical / Historical
Established in 1926 as a business based on a patented mechanical timing device, Fleetwings reorganized in 1929 as Fleetwings, Inc. and began to manufacture airplanes and aircraft components. Based in Long Island, New York, the company moved to a factory along the Delaware River (previously Keystone Aircraft Corp.) that was located in Bristol, Bucks County, Pennsylvania in 1934. The location of the Bristol factory was desirable as Fleetwings intended to develop a line of amphibious planes. Since few airstrips existed at the time, many in the industry predicted that the future of flight was in planes that could touch down on water.
Business for Fleetwings ramped up in the early 1940s, especially as Fleetwings began receiving military contracts during World War II. Henry J. Kaiser's Kaiser Industries acquired Fleetwings in 1943, renaming the company Kaiser-Fleetwings Corporation. The Kaiser-Fleetwings XBTK, a dive and torpedo bomber developed for the United States Navy starting in 1944, is its best-known product. Employment at the Kaiser-Fleetwings plant reached its peak in 1944 with over 6,300 employees, but business dropped precipitously after the end of World War II, and again after the Korean War. The company was forced to close its doors in 1962.
James M. (Jim) Shimer, Jr. (1914-2007) was born in Philadelphia and attended Frankford High School. He earned a degree in Industrial Design from the Philadelphia Museum School of Art (now the University of the Arts) in 1937. Soon after, he married Dolly E. Lashley, with whom he had three children. During World War II, Shimer was employed as Assistant Supervisor in the Graphic Art Department at Fleetwings, Inc. After the war, he worked as a technical illustrator in the Aviation Armament Laboratory at the Naval Air Development Center (Johnsville, Pa.) before returning to Kaiser-Fleetwings during the Korean War. In his position as Supervisor of the Graphic Art Group, Shimer prepared technical illustrations to assist in the production of Republic-F-84F fuselages and Martin B-57 wings, among other projects. He retired from Kaiser-Fleetwings in 1955 and moved on to positions preparing technical materials for various other companies. He was a long-time member of the Naval Institute, USAF Museum, American Aviation Historical Society, and the Reading Railroad Technical and Historical Society, among other associations.
4 Linear Feet (5 boxes)
Language of Materials
Established in 1926, Fleetwings, Inc. was an aircraft components factory that moved from Long Island, New York to Bristol, Bucks County, Pennsylvania in 1934. Due to the company's success during World War II, Henry J. Kaiser's Kaiser Industries invested in the company and renamed it Kaiser-Fleetwings Corp.; the company closed in 1962. James M. (Jim) Shimer, Jr. (1914-2007) worked there as a technical illustrator. Henry A. Liese worked there as an engineer.
Items arranged in original received order by the creators. Most files are labeled as they were by their creator unless no title was given; in which case the title was supplied by the archivist for accessibility based on the content of the file and labeled in brackets to identify these given titles.
Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
Some photographs were originally framed. Frames had to be removed from the collections for conservation purposes. Photographs that were framed have been digitized along with any writing that was on the back of the frames.
Gift of James F. Shimer in 2010. Accruals gifted by John J. Scheppe, Ray Wagner, Henry A. Liese, and Arthur Liese.
No further accruals expected.
Original description prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Faith Charlton through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories.
Finding aid and description updated, physical processing, and file list created by Archivist Eric Walerko 2017-2018.
- Some photographs were originally framed. Frames had to be removed from the collections for conservation purposes. Photographs that were framed have been digitized along with any writing that was on the back of the frames.
- Aircraft drafting
- Aircraft industry
- Bristol (Pa. : Borough)
- Bristol (Pa.)
- Bucks County (Pa.)
- Fleetwings, Inc.
- Harriman (Pa.)
- Kaiser Industries Corporation
- Kaiser-Fleetwings Corp.
- Keystone Aircraft Corp.
- Korean War, 1950-1953
- Liese, Henry, A., 1914-2003
- Shimer, Jim (James M.), 1914-2007
- Technical illustration
- World War II
- World War, 1939-1945
- Kaiser-Fleetwings Collection
- Original description prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Faith Charlton through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. Finding aid and description updated, physical processing, and file list created by Archivist Eric Walerko 2017-2018.
- Updated 2017-2018 by Eric Walerko
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script
- Language of description note
- The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Grundy Foundation