Cover of a Roberts Catalog Harold Edwards inherited from his father. Illustrations are taken from this catalog.
216 Carpenter Road New Hartford, Connecticut, 06057
My father, as a boy, lived right next to the Mineola Air Field on Long Island, New York, and consequently spent much of his time there watching the birth of aviation, yes, and also a few crashes!
The raving testimonial in the letter that follows, from Vice President E. W. Roberts of the Roberts Motor Company in the early 1900s, shows just how far aviation has advanced in the lifespan of just one generation.
I would like to share this with the other engine collectors and restorers out there.
The text of the Roberts letter:
I have just returned from the Mineola Aviation Field where we shipped one of our 4-X motors about two weeks ago. The installation had just been completed when I arrived, in a large Farman type biplane of forty-five feet spread which we understand to be the largest aeroplane in the United States today, weighing with one operator, 1000 pounds.
The machine left the ground at the first attempt without using the full power of the engine. It also carried a passenger without difficulty. I never saw such enthusiasm over a piece of machinery in my life. I was assured by every aviator on the ground that the Roberts Motor is far ahead of anything that has ever been on the Mineola Aviation Field.
Captain Thomas S. Baldwin especially was so enthusiastic over the motor that he stopped me almost every time he passed me to tell me what a fine machine it was. He said, 'It is positively the smoothest running motor I ever saw. I don't believe there is two ounces difference in the compression of any of the cylinders as the exhaust is so even. My! Doesn't she get up and pull?'
With the machine resting its weight on its skids, the engine pulled 335 lbs. We did not bother to put it on rollers as everybody said that was enough. They were convinced.
In consequence of our good showing in Mineola, we are now getting telegrams every day asking for deliveries, and we are sure to be behind on our orders before long. If you expect to be in the market soon, we suggest that you get your order in promptly for two reasons. First, in order that you get your motor in time, and when you want it, and second because we expect to raise the price in the next few weeks.
In the meantime, we will hold your quotation open for a short time until we can hear from you. We will be glad to hear how you are progressing with your plan and just how soon you will be in the market for an engine. Write us anyway, even a postal card will do.
Wishing you all the success in the world, we are,
Yours very truly,
THE ROBERTS MOTOR COMPANY
E. W. Roberts, Vice Pres.