Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Tony Fokker's Three Masterpieces

Anton Herman Gerard Fokker (1890–1939) is the most renowned aircraft designer of the Great War.  Had designed his first airplane at age 20, and by 1912 he opened a small aircraft factory near Berlin. At the outbreak of war, he offered his designs to both sides, but the Allies all declined him.  Germany didn't. Fokker took German citizenship and became their leading designer and manufacturer.

His company was controlled by the German military in the war, but he remained in charge. His engineers designed the first interrupter gear, allowing machine guns to fire straight ahead through the propeller. His works turned out three of the most remarkable airplanes of the war: the E.1 "Eindecker," the Dr.1 Triplane, and the D.VII, recognized as the outstanding fighter plane of the Great War.

E.1 "Eindecker"

Dr.1 Triplane


Sources:  Who's Who of WWI, Photos from USAF National Museum, Phil Makanna, and Tony Langley


  1. I have read somewhere that Fokker did not invent the interrupter gear, but did hit upon it and claimed it as his own. He was characterized as somewhat of an opportunistist

  2. The greatest aircraft designer? How about Geoffrey De Havilland, Henry Folland, Herbert Smith [Sopwith], Louis Bechereau [Spad], Hugo Junkers, to name a few. Fokker's designs were mainly by others - Martin Kreuzer, Reinhold Platz, and many draughtsman who's names are forgotten. It would be a little more accurate to say that he was among the most renowned Aviation Industrialists of the war, but Tommy Sopwith produced considerably more aircraft, many of as good or better quality than Fokker's.