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July 26, 1984


PIX #1 - A Flying Jenny. Picture from the family memorabilia of Don Kimmaman.

Travelers who use jet planes for transportation probably never think that the big, luxurious super-jets of today didn't come about overnight, so to speak.

Don't forget it was 1902 when Orville and Wilbur Wright, two Ohio boys, final- ly designed a glider that successfully flew more than 1,000 flights. It weighed only 116 pounds and was 32 feet across the wing. Then in 1903, the Wright brothers flew their first engine-powered plane...and man's dream of flying was finally fulfilled.

The Wright brothrs' powered plan probably didn't look too much different from the one in the illustration with today's article, which may have been of the 1920 era...aproximately 65 years ago.

Don Kinnaman, Tucson, Ariz., who was born and spent his boyhood here, sent this photo to me. It was probably snapped by his father, Floyd, a business- man in Fostoria for many years and quite well-known.


Back in that era of airplanes whenever one was heard overhead and if it was flying low, everyone headed for Fox Field on Findlay Road to see it land and get a good look. Kids, with or without bicycles, lost no time in reaching the field that was the most common place for the planes to land. What excite- ment!

It is not known whose plane it is that appears with this column today. It may have been a trial mail-run or someone who stopped to refuel.

Don Kinnaman found the photo among family memorabilia, and at once recognized it as a Flying Jenny...a type of plane he and his friend Gale Clark hoped they could buy and restore for their own use back then.

Gale Clark was the son of T.E. Clark, manager of the Atlas Crankshaft Corp. at that time. It was located in the old Bradley building on South Union Street where Atlas still has a factory. Kinnaman and Clark had heard that there was an old Jenny stored in a barn near the Atlas building. They checked it out and found the plane. It had an OX-5 engine and a wooden prop. The wings stored with the plane did not have fabric coverning, and they didn't even fit the plane.


Kinnaman now recalls that the plane belonged to Herman Warren, who operated a garage on East Center Street. They learned from Weldon Ropp, a local "barn- stormer," that the plane was "hot" and that the wings could not be fitted to the plane. So their dream of owning and flying a Jenny quickly dissolved.

The Flying Jennie was a popular plane, according to Kinnaman, because "its large wing area was suitable for a lot of aviation feats." He added, "It had a water-cooled engine and wire wheels." The above information is only part of the story...the rest is some local history about the location of the photo and Fox Field. Back then, the Eli Fox family lived in the house on the point of land whre Findlay Street, Lytle Street and West Independence Road come to- gether. The house is still at that location.


In the background of the photo at the extreme left you will notice a building with a tall smokestack. That building was the location of the generating plant for electricity. It ran the electric trolley cars on the Toledo, Fos- toria and Findlay line, and the Fostoria and Fremont line. The building was also used for repair and storage of the trolley cars.

Directly in back of the Flying Jenny, almost blending in with the immediate background, can be seen a motorized boxcar which was used to haul freight on the trolley lines. Such motorized boxcars wre capable of pulling several boxcars.

Kinnaman believes that the motorized boxcar shown in the photo was No. 150 belonging to the Fostoria and Fremont line.

In the far background of the photo can be seen a train on the L.E.&W. tracks, now the Norfolk and Western Railway, which ran from Sandusky to Fort Wayne, Ind.


When the electric trolley era faded, the generating plant building stood empty for a while. Later it was used as a fertilizer manufacturing plant. At one time I inspected the building as a site for mushroom gardens, but it was not suitable.

Now, to locate the postion of the Flying Jenny as it stood on Fox Field... opposite the rear of the Fox house about 50 yards on the south side of Lytle Street is about where the plane stood when it was photographed.

To the right of the plane (east) is the location of the Mennel Milling Co. To the left of the old generating plant, now demolished, is a new building. The Ohio Farmers Grain and Supply Association fertilizer plant now stands there. On the west is the Staley soybean processing plant.
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