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Archives at The Museum of Flight

George Prior Townsend Jr. Collection

Identifier: 2016-05-17
This small collection holds two appoinment certificates for George Prior Townsend Jr., reflecting his engineering career.

One certificate is for Townsend's appointment to the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) Lubrication and Wear Subcommittee. Dated January 1, 1952, it is signed by Chairman J.C. Hunsaker and Executive Secretary John F. Victory. It included a label on the verso of its original frame, "BECK ART SHOP, House of Cards, Denver 2 Colo,.," as well as an inscription on the verso: "3182." The certificate has been removed from the frame for preservation reasons.

The other certificate reflects Townsend's appointment to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Research Advisory Committee on Mechanical Power Plant Systems. It is dated February 27, 1959 and is signed by NASA administrator T. Keith Glennan.


  • 1952, 1959


Language of Materials

All materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research and is accessible in the Dahlberg Research Center by appointment. For more information contact us.

Conditions Governing Use

The Museum of Flight (TMOF) Archives is the owner of the physical materials in the archives and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from TMOF archives before any publication use. TMOF does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from copyright owners. Consult repository for more details.


0.1 Cubic Feet (1 oversize folder)

Biographical Note: George Prior Townsend, Jr.

George Prior Townsend, Jr. was born on July 2, 1920 in San Diego, California to George Prior Townsend, Sr. and Lucy Barrett Turrentine. Townsend attended Texas A&M University and graduated with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering in 1940. As a student, he participated in a secret project for Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company involving gas turbines in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Townsend was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Army Reserve on July 2, 1941, his twenty-first birthday. After the United States entered World War II, he was transferred with the 31st Division of the Sixth Army to the Southwest Pacific theater, serving in Australia, the Philippines, and New Guinea until the end of the war.

After being released from active duty in September 1945, he rejoined Westinghouse as a senior engineer, later serving in managerial roles. In 1952 he was commissioned by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) as a member of the Lubrication and Wear Subcommittee, and in 1955 transferred to Kansas City, Kansas to serve as head of the engineering department at Westinghouse. After the company discontinued work on jet engines, Townsend accepted a position as chief engineer at Sunstrand Aviation in Denver, Colorado. In 1959, he was commissioned as a member of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Research Advisory Committee on Mechanical Power Plant Systems.

In 1960 Townsend moved to the Hamilton Standard Division of United Aircraft to work on development of the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird and an early computer-aided design program among many other projects. He retired from the company in 1985.

During his career he also worked on various NASA projects including the lunar rover vehicle and supersonic transport. In his retirement, he served as a consultant for Hamilton Standard, Sikorsky Aircraft, and Pratt & Whitney Aircraft. He was also head of the International Energy Conversion Engineering Conference and chair of the Federal Aviation Administration/NASA Containment Committee, in addition to serving on committees for the Society of Automotive Engineers.

George Prior Townsend, Jr. died at the age of 95 in West Hartford, Connecticut on August 17, 2015.


Biography derived from donor information and collection materials.


No further accruals are expected.

Existence and Location of Copies

Materials from this collection have been digitized. For more information contact us.

Processing Information

Original processing by J. Jones, 2016. One certificate was removed from frame for preservation reasons.
Guide to the George Prior Townsend Jr. Collection
Completed - Level 2
J. Jones, J. Parent
August 2016
Description rules
Language of description
Edition statement
2nd edition

Revision Statements

  • June 2020: This finding aid has been updated to reflect current DACS and Museum of Flight standards.

Repository Details

Part of the The Museum of Flight Archives Repository

9404 East Marginal Way South
Seattle Washington 98108-4097

The Museum of Flight | 9404 E. Marginal Way South | Seattle WA 98108-4097 | 206-764-5874
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