Where Do Engineering Drawings Come From?

Aircraft Factory Data At Your Fingertips!

Where do engineering drawings come from?

At AirCorps Library the answer to this question is fairly simple – from all over! But let’s back up a bit to where they came from originally. 


During World War II original drawings were kept under lock and key at the manufacturing facility. For obvious reasons engineering data was safeguarded, as no one wanted it to fall into the wrong hands. However, the data on engineering drawings still needed to be used by factory employees and field offices. Because of this, engineering drawings were photographed and the images converted to microfilm. It was this microfilm that was distributed outside of the factory, and also utilized to make copies of drawings to use on the factory floor.


In the years following the war, it was the sets of distributed microfilm that had left the factory but were still in general circulation, that would eventually come into private ownership. This privately held stock is the microfilm that we look to acquire at AirCorps Library. You would be amazed how many people (and museums) have a stash of microfilm in their attic, basement, or footlocker that belonged to a relative – and most don’t even know what is on this microfilm. Check out my blog called “New P-51 Mustang Drawings” that tells a story just like this about a set of microfilm that had remained largely untouched since WWII!


Once we acquire a privately held set of microfilm, we digitize the images on the rolls, and then rename each image by its part number so that it becomes easily searchable. Then, these images are uploaded onto the AirCorps Library website for anyone with an interest to enjoy! Essentially the engineering drawings that we offer are straight from the WWII manufacturer to your home computer (with a few stops in between to be fair). Just another great example of what technology can do for us!


If you have questions about microfilm, or have a set you’d like to share with AirCorps Library for everyone’s enjoyment, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly at: estera@aircorpsaviation.com

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