This Baby Spitfire .045 model airplane engine was produced by the Mel Anderson Manufacturing Company. Mr. Anderson was an early pioneer of model airplane engine building. This engine was donated to the Miniature Engineering Craftsmanship Museum by Thomas Whittaker. The Baby Spitfire has a displacement of .045 (0.74cm3). The cast aluminum, single-cylinder, glow ignition airplane engine was originally manufactured in 1949.

This particular engine was found in the early 1950s on Mr. Whittaker’s uncle’s farm near Huntingdon, PA. It was attached to a badly damaged free flight aircraft that had landed in his field after apparently getting away from its original pilot. It’s possible that the plane may have flown over Tussey Mountain to get to his field, but the owner was never located. The engine went on to power a number of small model airplanes, and Mr Whittaker eventually graduated from Penn State with a degree in mechanical engineering.

The Baby Spitfire engine represents the first small 1/2A engine design by Mel Anderson. He had produced several larger engines before this. The bypass ports are cut into the cylinder just below the exhaust ports. The transfer channels are formed by a hollow between the steel cylinder and the aluminum spacer ring. The fuel tank is attached to the back by a single screw.

Production started in 1949, and special versions were produced for other companies like America Junior, Wen-Mac, and Royal. The complete cylinder assembly, from piston to head, was also used in Leroy Cox’s first powered race car, the Cox Special.

Exhibit added: September 9, 2014 - Last modified: January 29, 2024

Presented by The Joe Martin Foundation for Exceptional Craftsmanship