|Born||February 22, 1900
|Died||September 26, 1982
Beverly Hills, California
|Nationality||United States, Germany|
|Known for||Barometer, flight instruments|
Kollsman studied civil engineering in Stuttgart and Munich (Technical University Munich). In 1923 he emigrated from Germany to the USA. He worked as truck-driver until he found a position at Pioneer Instruments Co. in Brooklyn, New York. In 1928 he founded his own company, Kollsman Instruments Co., with $500 of seed money.
He was searching for the right opportunity to launch his product a long time until Jimmy Doolittle flight tested his instruments. His instruments were later used in the NASA Apollo program. The altimeter setting window of the sensitive aircraft altimeter is named the "Kollsman window" after him.
In 1939, Kollsman, who was then residing in Greenwich, Connecticut, sold his company for more than $4,000,000. In 1940 he purchased 800 acres (3.2 km2) of land outside of Manchester Vermont from International Paper Company, and founded Snow Valley, which formally opened in January 1942, and was one of the earliest ski areas in the United States. Snow Valley operated continuously until 1984, and in 1983 hosted the first U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships (now held annually at Stratton Vermont). Snow Valley is being redeveloped as a private sporting community.
In 1944 Kollsman married Baroness Julie Dorothea Baronin von Bodenhausen in New York City. In 1945 Kollsman purchased The Enchanted Hill, a fabulous estate in Beverly Hills, California, which contained a Mediterranean Revival main house of 10,000 square feet (with 12 acres (49,000 m2) of formal gardens) which Mr. Kollsman eventually augmented to 120 acres (0.49 km2), designed by acclaimed architect Wallace Neff. The estate, which was described by architectural historian Sam Watters as "fantastical", had been built in 1925 at the top of Angelo Drive by MGM screenwriter Frances Marion and her cowboy-star husband, Frederick Clifton Thomson. Among other features, the estate included a mahogany-floored stable for Thomson's horse "Silver King". It was considered one of the finest estates in all of Los Angeles, and has been called a "poetic hilltop paradise, a timeless homage to the natural beauty that was once Los Angeles." Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen acquired the estate from Kollsman's widow in 1997 for $20 million and razed the landmark house in 2000, with plans to build two 50,000-square-foot (4,600 m2) mansions in its place.
Kollsman died in Beverly Hills, California in 1982.
- Lundy, Darryl. "p. 9503". The Peerage.[unreliable source]