John Brown
Original Content Is © 2013 - Carroll F. Gray


Affidavit, March 29, 1937

I, John Brown, residing at 165 Otis Street, Stratford, Connecticut, depost (sic) and declare that I knew the late Gustave Whitehead only as he came to the Coulter and McKenzie Plant for construction work, where I was apprenticed in 1901-2. Gustave Whitehead had both the ability and brains, but he was a very stubborn man and "a nut" upon the subject of airplane construction. He was a good mechanic, and he knew what he wanted and insisted upon having it even when told that it was not suited to his purpose. I do not know personally of any flights made by the late Gustave Whitehead, and believe that he made only glider flights, although I have no personal knowledge of these.

Sworn & Witnessed

Stella Randolph typed notes, March 14, 1937

Next forenoon I went to see Mr. John Brown, taking Eleanor with me. He also told me to contact Andrew Berg. He went on to say that so far as he knew Whitehead never made anything but glider flights. Mr. Brown worked for the Coulter-McKenzie Plant in 1901-2. He said Whitehead was very stubborn and would insist on what he wanted even when he was told it was impossible. He said that Stanley Beach did fly, but this was at Stratford. Beach wanted the propeller in front of the plane. This was 1909 or earlier. Snediacke ["William Snaideki"]was a plumber and amateur wrestler and a nut on speed engines. He went to designing engines finally and went broke. He worked with Dick Crane of the Cranve Valve Company, and after having had to leave Bridgeport because of financial difficultites, he returned ater and paid his debts.

Whitehead was no fool. He was a good mechanic and he knew what he wanted. He was right in wanting a number of revolutions to propel his plane, but he wanted a crank shaft with a large bore; this was where he was mistaken.

Simon Lake is living. He was interested in submarines while his father was interested in airplanes.

Brodigan bought the engine in No. 7 or 9 from the Bridgeport Motor Company.

Carl Johnson, State Trade School, Bridgeport would tell you more about Whitehead.