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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

CLEVELAND ROCKET SOCIETY

CLEVELAND ROCKET SOCIETY

The CLEVELAND ROCKET SOCIETY, formed ca. 1933, was an organization of area residents who studied the possibilities of liquid-propelled rocket flight and conducted experiments in that field. Founded and led by ERNST LOEBELL, a German-born engineer who worked for Otis Elevator Co. and later for WHITE MOTOR CORP. in Cleveland, the society grew to about 100 members at its peak. Interested in the uses of rocket technology for transcontinental, supersonic mail delivery and in-passenger service, Loebell and the society carried out a series of 5 experiments in 1933-34 aimed at developing a practical propulsion system. The experiments ended when the group failed to find adequate means of cooling the rocket. Although Loebell also designed a regeneratively cooled, heat-absorbent aluminum motor (the construction took a year), it was never tested by the society. During the Depression, Loebell left Cleveland temporarily after losing his job and the society's publication, Space, begun in Dec. 1932, ceased publication after the 5th issue.

Although active for less than 5 years, the work of the society was well-publicized in the local press and the national popular scientific press. It was invited by the French Ministry of Commerce & Industry to send an exhibit to the 1937 Paris Intl. Exhibition. The scale model of the long-distance, radio-equipped mail rocket Loebell hoped to build and one of his regeneratively cooled motors received good reviews in French and British journals.


Cleveland Rocket Society Records, Ohio Historical Society.