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Gray Goose Airways Stock Certificate signed by the inventor Jonathan Edward Caldwell - Extraordinary History (Uncanceled)

Inv# VS1015   Stock
Gray Goose Airways Stock Certificate signed by the inventor Jonathan Edward Caldwell - Extraordinary History (Uncanceled)
State(s): Nevada
Years: 1932

Uncanceled Stock. Canada Goose logo with "The Gray Goose Airways" at side. One would wonder if this had anything to do with Howard Hughes? Fresh Excellent Condition and Extremely Rare!

Gray Goose Airways allegedly developed a flying machine that flapped its wings like a goose. On its first flight the contraption, connected to the motorcycle, set the heavily-braced wings into a flapping frenzy, but before it got any serious ideas about flying, the tail broke off, landed on its inventor, but didn't kill him.

Jonathan Edward Caldwell was something of a mystery even to his close relatives, and his strange career can only be reconstructed in spotty form through newspaper clippings, patent documents and newsreel scripts. According to college records, Caldwell was born in Hensall, Ontario, Canada in 1883 and attended Oregon State College 1912-13, majoring in mechanical engineering. In the 1920s, according to statements he made later in life, Caldwell became interested in aviation and began to study the fundamentals of aerodynamics, gleaning scraps of knowledge from textbooks and encyclopedias. In Feb 1923, while living in Santa Monica CA, he filed an application for a patent covering a rather bizarre aircraft, a "Cyclogyro" that was designed to take off vertically and transition to forward flight. The plane's "wings" were actually small airfoil blades mounted in Ferris wheel-like rotating frames protruding from either side of a conventional aircraft fuselage.

The Cyclogyro patent was granted in the summer of 1927, but by the end of that year Caldwell, then living in Denver, filed another patent on an even more impractical human-powered, flapping-wing aircraft, or "ornithopter." This contraption looked like a rowboat with birdlike wings. These wings were equipped with dozens of flexible fabric valves which were supposed to open on the upstroke and close on the downstroke. Power for the flapping action was to be provided by the pilot, who would need to be highly athletic, to say the least. With this concept Caldwell founded Gray Goose Airways to raise capital to build his ornithopter and incorporated the firm under Nevada laws in 1928, with the first shares of stock being sold in Denver that year. He planned to issue 10,000 shares of Gray Goose stock at ten cents per share, while retaining a 51 percent interest, and actually succeeded in selling between $8,000 and $10,000 worth. By 1931 Caldwell had failed to produce a viable ornithopter in Nevada and Colorado and moved his enterprise to the east coast, evidently first to Orangeburg NY and, later, to Madison NJ. In early 1932 he was actively promoting Gray Goose Airways as a new passenger and freight airline, with himself as secretary-treasurer and his wife Olive as president. A newsreel filmed on Jan 14 shows the Caldwells conducting a demonstration of the ornithopter, which was "piloted" in a futile attempt at flight by a man with the unlikely name of Emile Harrier. According to the newsreel's script, Olive makes a statement to the interviewer in which she cites the examples of Alexander Graham Bell and Marconi, pioneers in their fields, and claims that the Gray Goose project "has not been an exception to the persecution of the experts." Evidently they had already taken their share of criticism. Construction of a prototype ornithopter was started at nearby Teterboro Airport and the company was authorized to issue $1,000,000 worth of stock at ten cents a share. Things seem to have been going smoothly until that September, when New Jersey Assistant Attorney General Robert Grossman charged Caldwell with fraud.

Grossman found that Caldwell had been voted a 51 percent block of Gray Goose stock in exchange for his ornithopter patents, but the certificates were never used because, in Grossman's words, "the defendant company never had money enough to pay for the internal revenue stamps required to be affixed to the certificates of the stock." Grossman also charged that construction of the impractical ornithopter prototype had wasted thousands of dollars of the company's money, and that "no one connected with the company possessed sufficient knowledge of aeronautics to build a practical ship." Caldwell and Grossman wrangled for the next few weeks, and the court finally agreed to give the inventor until early December to complete and demonstrate the prototype on condition that he stop selling stock. Presumably Caldwell was never able to satisfy Grossman. Within a few months, Gray Goose had been moved back across the Hudson River to New York. That state's officials also began to ask questions about Caldwell's business techniques, and by 1934 he had moved his shop and family to the Washington DC area. According to telephone records, Caldwell set up Gray Goose Airways in an office at 1225 New York Avenue NW, just three blocks from the White House. About that time he filed a prospectus with the Maryland Securities and Exchange Commission describing Gray Goose Airways' latest project, a new type of autogyro, as a "disk-rotor plane." (New Jersey Attorney General Grossman noted in his 1932 complaint that Caldwell had already begun work on the disk-rotor plane in Teterboro.)

According to Caldwell's filing, he envisioned this craft as a "cheap, safe, and convenient general utility aircraft capable of taking off and landing in a small yard or on the flat roof of a building." The production plane would carry four or five passengers and would be priced to sell below the cost of most inexpensive automobiles, Caldwell claimed. Incorporating partners of Gray Goose Airways in Maryland included Caldwell, Willis H Ruggles, Lina Johnson, and Gordon A Crandall. While other inventors had tried circular wings before, Caldwell's approach was unique in one respect: his plane's wing was actually a 12' fabric-covered disk mounted on a rotating hub. It functioned as a combination wing and autogyro rotor. Four very small blades were grafted to the rim of the saucer, providing reaction surfaces which would cause the whole assembly to spin as the aircraft rolled forward. Power was supplied by a small nine-cylinder air-cooled radial engine and a two-blade propeller, and the pilot would steer the craft using a rudder and combination elevator-ailerons at the tail. The plane was otherwise much like a standard airplane of the period, built of a welded tubular steel framework covered by lacquered fabric. It would take off like an autogyro, but once it reached cruising altitude, the pilot would activate a brake in the rotor hub, locking the wing in a stationary position while the craft cruised along in horizontal flight at a top speed of about 100 mph. Near-vertical landings could be accomplished by reversing the procedure, Caldwell claimed.

The prototype Gray Goose disk-rotor plane was completed near Washington between 1936 and 1938, and CAA issued experimental registration number [NX99Y]. Around 1937 Caldwell also revived his 1923 Cyclogyro VTOL concept and began construction on a modified prototype. It was another of the impractical flying machines that graced the covers of magazines like Popular Science in the '30s. The inventor attempted to mount two long, three-bladed, airfoil-equipped paddlewheels to the sides of a conventional-looking aircraft fuselage, but this time the axles of the paddlewheels ran fore-and-aft, parallel to the machine's body. The airfoils were geared in such a way that as they were spun by a 125hp radial engine, they would theoretically produce enough thrust to lift the craft straight up. One of Caldwell's associates later claimed that this craft actually made successful "test-hops" to a height of about six feet. In Washington, Caldwell finally hired some professional aircraft technicians to assist with the detailed design of the ambitious new machines. An aeronautical engineer named J Owen Evans came aboard to work out the aerodynamics of the disk-rotor plane and the Cyclogyro, and a mechanic named Willard Driggers helped build the craft. The inventor also arranged with Dr Louis Crook, an engineering professor at Washington's Catholic University, to make wind-tunnel tests of the Cyclogyro.

Foreseeing wide military applications for an aircraft that would be able to take off and land vertically and hover in mid-air, Caldwell even approached the Air Corps with his plans. Unfortunately, the Air Corps wasn't impressed. Sometime in late 1937 or early 1938 (accounts vary), probably under pressure from his stockholders to produce results, Caldwell persuaded Driggers to attempt a test flight in the disk-rotor plane. The mechanic had never flown a plane at all, much less something as radical as Caldwell's contraption. The plane was transported to the abandoned Benning Racetrack near Washington for the big event. According to later accounts, Driggers opened up the throttle and soon found himself 40 feet in the air, supported by the whirling saucer-shaped wing and slowly gaining altitude. Seconds later, as he attempted to change course, he realized that the controls were not responding. Fearing for his safety if he continued to climb, he cut power abruptly and the plane slammed down some 200 yards from its takeoff point, smashing the landing gear in the process, but leaving Driggers uninjured. The fractured landing gear was eventually replaced by a more up-to-date nose-wheel style unit, but time and money were running out on Caldwell's Washington company.

Reportedly only about $5,000 short of the funds he needed to perfect his machines, the inventor had apparently lost interest in solving the problems of the disk-rotor prototype and had begun cooking up an even more outlandish VTOL rotorcraft design—one that would completely eliminate the conventional airplane-style fuselage all his previous machines had used. He notified his investors that Gray Goose Airways stock was now being swapped for shares in a reorganized entity to be called "Rotor Planes Inc," established by himself and two individuals named P D Ellis and A L E Samson. In 1939 Caldwell closed down Gray Goose Airways, let Driggers and Evans go, and moved his business and family once again, this time to Baltimore, where he set up a workshop on Edmonson Avenue on the city's west side. There he persuaded another aircraft mechanic, 41-year-old John W Ganz of Anne Arundel, to assist him (in return, predictably, for shares of Rotor Planes stock) and began work on the new "Rotorplane," which amounted to an attempt to reduce the autogyro to its barest fundamentals, virtually a flying rotor, with its powerplant, controls, and occupants housed in a compact disk-like hub. (— Source unknown, submitted by Rafael Burdette) Of possible side interest, yet another (unrelated) Gray Goose was recently discovered as a Willoughby modification of an Aeromarine floatplane (— 2009).

Jonathan Edward Caldwell (born March 24, 1883, date of death unknown) was a self-taught aeronautical engineer who designed a series of bizarre aircraft and started public companies in order to finance their construction. None of these was ever successful, and after his last known attempt in the later 1930s he disappeared, apparently to avoid securities fraud charges. His name was later connected with mythical German flying saucers, and he remains a fixture of the UFO genre to this day.

Little of Caldwell's early life is known, and what has been documented was reconstructed from college records. He appears to have been born in Hensall, Ontario, Canada, the fifth son (and one of twelve children) of William Thomas Caldwell (1848–1930) and Sarah Alice Chamberlain (1852–1933). He emigrated to the United States in 1910, and attended Oregon State College, from 1912 to 1913, majoring in mechanical engineering. In the 1920s, according to statements he made later in life, he became interested in aviation and began to study the fundamentals of aerodynamics.

In February 1923 Caldwell filed for a patent on a device he called the "cyclogyro". It consisted of an airplane fuselage with two paddle-wheel like attachments in place of the wings. The wheels were powered by an engine in the fuselage, spun to power the upper portion of the attachments forward – clockwise, as seen looking left from the cockpit. The wheels each featured four high aspect ratio airfoils, which were able to rotate around their horizontal axis in order to change their pitch.

By changing the pitch continually through the entire rotation, the lift of the airfoils could be tuned to produce thrust in any direction. For instance, to lift off vertically the airfoils were pitched to have a positive angle of attack only at the top of their rotation, just generating lift only at that point. In forward flight the angle at the top of the arc would be reduced to make the lift neutral, but they would retain their positive angle even through the forward part of the circle, producing forward thrust. By changing the angle in this fashion, the aircraft could be "lifted" in any direction, with differential thrust between the two "wings" allowing yaw to be applied.

Caldwell formed Gravity Aeroplane Company in Reno, Nevada (Caldwell was living in Santa Monica at the time) and issued stock in 1928. Their company stationary included an illustration showing the cyclogyro, a version with four airfoils per "wing", attached on the fuselage end to a large disk and the outer end to a cross-like support.

Caldwell then turned to an even more bizarre aircraft design, an ornithopter. The wings were equipped with flexible fabric valves which were supposed to open on the upstroke and close on the downstroke, allowing it to generate lift with no forward motion and thus provide VTOL service, like the cyclogyro.

Caldwell, now living in Denver filed a patent on his new design in December 1927, which was finally granted as US1730758 in October 1929. In early 1928 he started another company in Nevada to raise funds to develop it, 'Gray Goose Airways', inc., issuing 10,000 shares of stock at ten cents per share, retaining a 51 percent interest. The funds were used to develop a human-powered prototype.

By 1931 there was still no working prototype, and Caldwell moved to Orangeburg, New York, and later to Madison, New Jersey. A January 14, 1932 newsreel film shows the ornithopter being readied for a test. This was apparently attempted without success, by the otherwise unknown Emile Harrier. Additional funds were then raised by another stock issue in order to build a full-sized prototype at Teterboro Airport. He also apparently restarted his cyclogyro work, and an article appeared in one of the Popular Mechanics-like magazines showing the design equipped with a V-8 engine mounted in an odd twin-fuselage with the pilot and passengers below.

Before the ornithopter prototype could be completed, the New Jersey Assistant Attorney General charged Caldwell with fraud in September. In his notes, the Attorney, Robert Grossman, noted that "no one connected with the company possessed sufficient knowledge of aeronautics to build a practical ship." Caldwell eventually reached an agreement that allowed him to continue construction of the ornithopter prototype until December, as long as no more shares of stock were sold in that time. Grossman also noted that Caldwell had begun work on yet another entirely new design, using a disk wing.

In December there was still no prototype, and Caldwell moved the company to New York. The New York Attorney General started questioning the business almost immediately.

In 1934 Caldwell moved again, this time to Washington, DC. In a filing with the Maryland Securities and Exchange Commission he described the company as working solely on a new type of autogyro, which he referred to as a "disk-rotor plane".

The design consisted of a fairly conventional autogyro layout, but the wing was disk-like instead of the more traditional helicopter-like bladed assembly. The disk had airfoils formed out of fabric on the inside of the rim, and four small solid surfaces on the outside. In forward motion the airstream blowing across the four small surfaces would spin the disk, which would provide lift from the fabric airfoils inside. On reaching cruising altitude, the disk would be braked to stop it spinning, and unbraked again for a near-vertical landing. The advantage to this arrangement was that there was no theoretical limit on forward speed, whereas a conventional autogyro cannot be stopped in flight, and has a limit when the speed of the rearward moving blade approaches the stall speed.

Unlike his previous attempts, the disk-rotor aircraft was actually completed between 1936 and 1938, and was issued a CAA experimental registration number NX99Y. In late 1937 or early 1938 a test flight was attempted with the company mechanic at the controls, Willard Driggers. According to later claims (see below), Driggers managed to get the aircraft airborne from the Benning Race Track, and in a panic cut power, causing the aircraft to crash-land, damaging the landing gear. Although damage was minor, Caldwell had apparently already lost interest in the design and did not repair it.

In 1939 Caldwell shut down Grey Goose and swapped shares once again, forming Rotor Planes, Inc. His latest design retained the disk-rotor from his earlier autogyro, but replaced the fuselage with a smaller disk in the center. According to some accounts, around 1940 the Maryland securities commission also started examining Caldwell, who promptly disappeared, abandoning the broken disk-rotor and the partially completed rotorplane.

In May 1949, officers of the U.S. Air Force's Project Sign received a letter from a Gray Goose shareholder, who explained that the company had been building aircraft similar to the "flying saucers" which were then a popular topic in the press. This was during the UFO craze following Kenneth Arnold's reports of seeing UFOs over Mount Rainier and the Roswell Incident that followed. The Air Force had canvassed for reports of flying saucers, and the shareholder apparently felt that Caldwell's disk-rotor might explain them.

Tracking down the leads, the team, accompanied by the Maryland Police, visited an abandoned farm in Glen Burnie, Maryland (outside Baltimore), where the damaged remains of Caldwell's disk-rotor aircraft were discovered. They also tracked down Driggers, who told them the story of the attempted flight in 1937/8. The team reported that the prototypes could not be responsible for the "flying saucer" reports that were being received from all around the country.

Photographs of the broken disk-rotor machine continue to appear in UFOs books to this day. They were often described as "crashed" flying saucers in earlier works, claiming it was one more example of the USAF being in possession of such vehicles. More recently they are normally connected with the claims that the Nazis had built working flying saucers late in the war, lumped together with other disk-shaped aircraft like the Avrocar, Arthur Sack A.S.6 and Vought V-173, in an effort to demonstrate that such aircraft were both possible and well-researched.

In 1909/10, Caldwell married Olive E Davis. Caldwell emigrated to the United States in 1910. In 1930, Caldwell was living in Denver with his wife, Olive E Caldwell (48, born Wisconsin) and son Carl Davis Caldwell (July 17, 1917, Montana – November 27, 1993, Cupertino, California).

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Condition: Excellent

A stock certificate is issued by businesses, usually companies. A stock is part of the permanent finance of a business. Normally, they are never repaid, and the investor can recover his/her money only by selling to another investor. Most stocks, or also called shares, earn dividends, at the business's discretion, depending on how well it has traded. A stockholder or shareholder is a part-owner of the business that issued the stock certificates.

Item ordered may not be exact piece shown. All original and authentic.
Price: $385.00