BUFFALO, N.Y. — For Garrett Olmsted, it has been a long time in coming. "Well I'll tell you, when I showed up here today, tears started coming from my eyes."
Olmsted was just 10 years old when he came to the Smithsonian Institution in 1955 with his family to donate an airplane. The plane was designed and built by his grandfather, Charles M. Olmsted. This was not just any other plane though, it was the first plane ever built in Buffalo. The Olmsted Pusher was completed in 1912, less than a decade after the Wright Brothers changed the world a Kitty Hawk.
Olmsted's design was revolutionary. It had a single wing, a semi-closed cockpit and aluminum bodyparts. It was certainly a far cry from the canvas and bamboo designs of the day.
He made just one prototype of the Olmsted Pusher before the Buffalo Pitts Company which facilitated his works went belly-up in 1912, ending Olmsted's dream of mass production.The futuristic design is evident in pictures from the Leroy historical Society, showing the plane in storage after the Buffalo Pitts Factory was torn down.
The plane had to be cut into three pieces to remove it from the factory. That is the way it was stored at the Smithsonian, and that is the way it was displayed when it was introduced at the Udvar-Hazy Center in 2017. It is now reassembled and restored. For Garrett, just seeing it in it's full glory, the way his grandfather envisioned and built it, means the world. "To see it finally complete, and just a magnificent job of restoration. It's fabulous, just absolutely incredible."