Cambridge Encyclopedia » Cambridge Encyclopedia Vol. 67

Sherman (Mills) Fairchild

aerial camera invented started

Inventor and businessman, born in Oneonta, New York, USA, the son of George W Fairchild. An heir to the IBM fortune, he invented a flash camera (1916) and an aerial camera for the US War Department (1916). He started his own company (1920) to manufacture the aerial camera, and also founded an aerial survey company, becoming known as the ‘father of aerial mapping photography’. He also started an aeroplane factory and developed the first US planes to have enclosed cockpits. He later designed the C-119 transport plane with its rear cargo doors. In 1953 he invented the Fairchild Flight Analyzer Camera, the first to take non-distorted pictures of an object in a continuous sequence of action. He invented a radio compass and introduced such innovations as wing flaps, hydraulic brakes, and retractable landing gear. Eventually his companies were grouped under Fairchild Industries (Farmington, New York), and he remained chairman until his death.

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