This is a unique brass and aluminum miniature of a Bell helicopter rotor mechanism. Long before today’s radio-controlled helicopter craze, Marvin Johnson built a complete working mechanism of the main and tail rotors from a Bell helicopter, working from plans and photos.

Mr. Johnson may have worked as a mechanic and wood worker, and had a talent for working with his hands. Marvin also liked to make miniatures. During WWII, he had time on his hands while stationed in China, so he took part of an aluminum prop from a downed Japanese plane and cut and filed a B-24 Liberator bomber like the ones his squadron flew. It featured a polished finish, tiny wire machine guns, and four propellers that turn when you blow on them. On display for over a year, it has now been returned to the family.

Exhibit added: April 26, 2011 - Last modified: May 26, 2023

Presented by The Joe Martin Foundation for Exceptional Craftsmanship