Cheston Lee Eshelman

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Cheston Lee Eshelman (January 23, 1917 – November 7, 2004) was born in McKnightstown, Pennsylvania near Gettysburg, and was an American inventor, aviator, manufacturer of aircraft, boats, garden machinery and small automobiles, and founder of the Cheston L. Eshelman Company and Eshelman Motors Corporation in Baltimore and Dundalk, Maryland.

Since 1916 his parents Samuel Clarence Eshelman and Bertha Eshelman (née Musselman, sister of canner-grower Christian H. Musselman of the CH Musselman Company, today part of Knouse Foods) had owned and operated the Fox Hill orchards in McKnightstown, and eventually expanded into retailing agricultural implements including Centaur tractors.

In 1941 Cheston Eshelman developed, built and repeatedly demonstrated a wingless pancake-shaped airplane, the NX28993 and NC22070 "Flying Flounder". He also built the Eshelman FW-5. On January 7, 1943, he was awarded Patent 42395 for his small flying wing airplane design.

By 1945 he was producing light commercial aircraft in Dundalk, including the Eshelman Winglet. By mid-century he had set up the Cheston L. Eshelman Company at 109 Light Street in Baltimore, Maryland to produce light agricultural implements including lawn mowers, plows and garden tractors and, by 1953, tiny one-cylinder automobiles, golf cars and motor scooters which were advertised in small ads within mechanical magazines.

After a 1956 plant fire, Eshelman's interests turned primarily to his cars. Resuming limited production in Crisfield, Maryland, he produced several new subcompact models including the fiberglass Sportabout for three adults and battery-powered children's cars.

In the 1960s Eshelman developed and patented several concepts of resilient automobile safety bumpers [1] [2] . One of his cars, the 1967 Eshelman Golden Eagle Safety Car, was equipped with a patented 15MPH impact-resistant front bumper utilizing the car's spare tire.

Cheston Eshelman's retirement years were spent in Miami, Florida and in Hialeah, Florida, where he died in 2004.

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