J.Herris German Aircraft of Minor Manufacturers in WW1. Vol II (A Centennial Perspective on Great War Airplanes 50)
Mercur-Flugzeugbau GmbH of Berlin - Neukolln and Berlin-Johannisthal, was founded under this name on 15 April 1915, as an equal partnership between the then current owner Herr Romeo Wankmuller and the managers, Herman Tradowski and Herr Tiegs. Later, on 7 March 1917, an associated company, the Mercur-Motorenbau GmbH was formed to construct aeromotors.
The company had a timber treatment mill, a factory with a separate aircraft repair branch, and a flying school at JohannisthaL An idea of the scope of the works is given by the increase in the size of the workshops:
June 1913 2,170 m2
October 1916 4,120 m2
February 1917 7,250 m2
May 1917 9,520 m2
September 1917 13,764 m:
The company was concerned with the sale of new aircraft and repairs to damaged aircraft and the manufacture of mainplanes and replacement parts.
In the months from October 1916 to June 1918, the firm received orders for the following aircraft:
1916 100 Alb B.II
1917 100 Alb B.II
1917 200 Alb B.II
1917 50 Alb B.II
1917 250 Alb C.Ib
1918 100 Alb C.Ib
The company repaired almost 600 aircraft during the time it was operational, these were Albatros, LFG, Rumpler, and Aviatik types. The repair of mainplanes was carried out to a lesser extent although over 117 were so treated. By the end of 1916 the firm was well established and by June 1918, had an income of 4,062,417 Marks. By June 1918 they employed 1,023 workers.
From 3 January 1917, the chief designer of the Mercur firm was Ing. Fritz Hildebrand. Technical direction was in the hands of Herr Martin Rollfa. The Science Director was Herr Professor Dr. Albert Einstein, and the chief pilots for the firm were Herr Otto Reichert and Otto Breitbeik.
The firm began to experiment with its own aircraft from the summer of 1917. The first was a fighter that was not accepted. Experiments were made with aerofoils of various characteristics.
The firm also commenced work on torpedo aircraft but the machine was never completed.
The status of the company's aircraft proposals was as follows:
1. Monoplane Fighter I (KE.II)
This machine left the factory in March 1918 and was erected but flight performance was disappointing and no further development took place.
2. Marine Torpedo Aircraft
This project was authorized after detail design and estimates of performance were submitted to the Navy's Design Directorate. The aircraft was under construction but was never completed.
3. Single-Seat Fighter II (CL.II)
The drawings for this project were completed by the time the engine, the 200 PS Benz Bz.IIIbo (Overcompressed), was to be installed. The engine was delivered on 22 March 1918, and on 4 April was given a test run.
4. Single-seat Biplane (D)
Although this project was nearing completion in mid-1918, the fuselage was never completed and much work was required to complete the aircraft.
5. Monoplane Fighter III
This project was abandoned.
6. Single-seat Monoplane Fighter IV
This aircraft was the last single-seat machine to be projected.
7. Riesenflugzeug Aircraft
Although projected the detail design was never completed. The aircraft was to be armed with six machine guns and to be powered by four engines, each of 260 PS, had an eight-man crew and a number of 2,000 kg bombs.
The company also produced the Mecur Kinergometer that was put into production.
A 350 PS aeromotor, similar in design and construction to an engine in production, but of a larger size, was built in 1918. The war ended before it could be tested by ZAK.
A two-cylinder aeromotor was built and tested and developed about 1 1/2 PS. The unit was not only small and manageable, but very simple in construction and with few complicated parts and hence a cheap machine. It was particularly good for wireless telegraphy and the operation of pumps and agricultural machinery.
Another device that the company developed was a motorized plough. The design and drawings were ready but production had not commenced when the war ended. The plough was to be about 6 to 8 PS initially with all components accessible for service.