Anthony Herman Gerard Fokker

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Anthony Herman Gerard Fokker, a Dutchman living in Germany as a student, still being supported by his family; his classmate, Lt. Franz von Daum; and Jacob Goedecker, who had just opened Flugmaschinenwerke Jacob Goedecker, an aircraft factory, near Mainz, Germany.

Fokker and von Daum met in 1910 at Erste Deutsche Automobil Fachschule, a small trade school near Mainz, with studies in automotive and aeronautical technology. The school had no aeroplanes; students were expected to construct their own. Von Daum bought an aircraft engine and Fokker got $1,500 Deutschmarks from his father; their first aircraft, a monoplane, was called the Spinne (Spider in English) because of a design that used numerous bracing wires. With von Daum as pilot, the craft made its first hop near the end of 1910, but was soon wrecked by von Daum, who also destroyed the replacement Spinne 2. Fokker purchased von Daum's engine and Fokker and von Daum parted ways. Part of the construction work for the two Spinnes was contracted out to Goedecker; how much Goedecker contributed to their design still seems to be a matter of debate. It does appear settled that Goedecker performed the strength calculations for and constructed Spinne 3 and that the design and specifications were at the least worked out between Goedecker and Fokker.

Fokker learned to fly Spinne (Spider) 3 under Goedecker, earning his pilot's certificate in June 1911. Because of a second seat, Fokker could take paying passengers for demonstration flights as well as offer flight training. For a short while, using Spinne 3, he was Goedecker's flying instructor. But in December 1911, seeing the opportunity, he departed for the Johannisthal airfield near Berlin, the heart of German aviation, where he began doing business as Fokker Aeroplanbau. Fokker received Deutsche Republic Patent 265,515 based on the Spinne 3 on 25 January 1912. He received British Patent 596 on Improvements in Flying Machines on 30 January 1913.

Patent disputes

Marc Dierikx advises us that patent there were major patent disputes in Germany between Fokker and various other constructors. "Fokker was notorious for breaching patent rights. The dispute with Franz Schneider over the synchronization mechanism for the use of fixed forward firing machine guns on fighter aircraft ran from 1915 till 1934. Fokker lost all legal proceedings," but he refused to actually pay "until his adversary bankrupted." For more see Dierikx, 2018.

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Names Anthony Herman Gerard Fokker; Anthony Fokker
Birth date
Death date
Countries NL, DE, US
Locations Zahlbach, near Mainz
Occupations engineer, pilot, company founder
Tech areas Military
Affiliations
Wikidata id