Harold Beckett is a retired United Airlines pilot who handcrafted this 1/4 scale engine in 1995 from drawings provided by Sam and Lee Hodgeson. The model operates on regular gasoline with dual spark ignition. It has a pressurized lubrication system.

The radial engine was much more powerful and reliable than the old rotary design (where the whole engine turns). It was used to power large aircraft such as airliners and bombers. Two-row radials were used extensively in World War II aircraft. The Pratt & Whitney R-1830 (14-cylinder two-row radial) was produced in greater numbers than any piston aircraft engine. It was used in the Consolidated B-24 and PBY-2 as well as the Douglas C-47/DC-3.

In 1939, the Pratt & Whitney R-1830 was installed in the Grumman F4F-3 and was the world’s first engine to use a two-stage supercharger—two years ahead of the first two-stage Rolls Royce Merlin V-12 engines.

Watch a YouTube video of a single bank 9-cylinder Hodgeson radial engine. It was built by John Collier. Plans for the 9-cylinder engine can be found here.

Exhibit added: July 1, 2008 - Last modified: December 22, 2022

Presented by The Joe Martin Foundation for Exceptional Craftsmanship