Fairchild Aerial Survey Co. (1924-1965)

Newark  Pennsylvania  Station under construction circa 1933

The founder of Fairchild Aerial Survey Company, Sherman Mills Fairchild (1896-1971) was a pioneer in the field of aerial photography. He was the son of a wealthy congressman from New York, George Winthrop Fairchild, whose time-clock and adding machine business became the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM). In 1916, the younger Fairchild established himself as a technological  leader when he developed the first synchronized camera shutter and flash. During WWI , he became interested in aerial photography and, in March 1919, completed a specialized camera for this purpose with a large, between the lens shutter. Shortly afterward he established the Fairchild Aerial Camera Corporation with financing by his father. By 1924, he had formed Fairchild Aerial Surveys, Inc., and secured a $7000 contract to photo-map Newark, NJ . This was the first aerial mapping of a major city, but was completed  at a cost to the Fairchild Company of nearly $30,000.

During the next few years, Fairchild’s aerial survey company saw greater success mapping areas in Canada, New York City and other eastern cities. Originally purchasing airplanes for the business, Sherman Fairchild eventually began manufacturing his own planes. Fairchild Aircraft was in business from 1926-1987.

The photo in this blog shows the current Pennsylvania Station under construction circa 1933. While most of the buildings in the photo are no longer standing, there are a few exceptions. The large white building in the lower corner is currently being converted to offices. 1100 Raymond Blvd. is also in there wearing its original skin when it was  the Center Market Building. Conspicuously absent is McCarter Highway/Route 21 which had not been laid out yet. penn


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