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New Exhibition Features Miniature Propliners from the Collection of Anthony J. Lawler
Trek Airways Lockheed 1649 Starliner, early 1960s. Peter V. Nelson, Reading, England, scale 1:62, metal, paint. Collection of Anthony J. Lawler.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- Making scale models of propeller-driven transport aircraft, or “propliners,” was an important part of the design, manufacturing, and marketing process for the aviation industry in the late 1940s and 1950s. Crafted by in-house model shops or independent model makers, they represented the new designs in miniature for convenient three-dimensional analysis. Accurately painted livery schemes on the models helped the airlines to imagine the new airliner operating within their fleet.

Carriers also commissioned airplane models to promote their improved services in airline offices and travel agencies. Early examples were usually made of sheet or cast metal and complemented with metal bases often formed into unique streamline shapes. By the late 1950s, models were produced from plastic, which was easier to mold into intricate shapes and reflected the proliferation of new synthetic resins.

This exhibition features twenty-three models from the Collection of Anthony J. Lawler. They represent the age of postwar propliners, which lasted until the 1960s when faster, more fuel-efficient and propeller-less turbojet airliners superseded them. The exhibtion is on view from June 4, 2011 to December 4, 2011 at the San Francisco International Airport.

The Collection of Anthony J. Lawler
Mr. Lawler began collecting airplane models after seeing the De Havilland Comet—the world’s first jetliner—fly over his boyhood home in Rhodesia. Mr. Lawler has spent decades assembling one of the finest collections of scale airliner display models, most of which were acquired while working as a senior sales representative for Airbus North America during the 1980s and 1990s.



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