Lester Barlow and his bomb

Well, I took a little break from blogging, there.  But there is a lot more material to cover, and I'm back to covering it.

This post highlights Ivan's participation in an event he was very proud of, and one of the events I remember him recalling to me. He worked with Lester Barlow to perfect techniques of aerial bombing.  In the early 1960s Ivan was awarded a commendation for the work which covers an entire page in the scrapbook. Lester wrote Ivan later to let him know of his success in selling the plans to the government on letterhead from the Marlin Rockwell corporation.

Here are Ivan and Lester Barlow holding the test bomb.

It's very difficult to tell exactly the method of mounting, but it looks well engineered.  The history I found on Lester indicates that he was a talented mechanic, and had a background in automobiles.  Perhaps this common ground explains the nature of their pose in the photo above.  

I have yet to find any other photos of these early experiments, but I expect there are more to be found.  I doubt there are many of them showing the airplane taking off with the bomb attached, though!

Finally, the end product.  Obviously no munitions packed in the bomb.  Lester later wrote to Ivan... "No pin-wheels, no junk, just a great big streamline (sic) can in which the load is about 2/3 it's (sic) total weight... The big bomb you are familiar with, we are now making about 13,000 of."

Barlow's bomb never did see use in France.  There is an excellent article on Lester Barlow and his bombs here. The article does say that the bomb being tested here was well regarded, but points out that the contract for the bombs was cancelled by the American Expeditionary Forces.  Interestingly, Ivan served in France under that very command.

I've made a change to the blog.  I've added a link to my photographs on Etsy.com on the right.  Over the last three years, a number of readers have contacted me for photo prints.  There is a book on early racing that will feature many of Ivan's photographs which will be published this year.  I thought that it would make it much easier for folks to get copies of photos this way and hopefully help me defray some of the costs of producing the blog.  I hope you'll have a look and perhaps order a print or two.


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