Paul Kollsman

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Paul Kollsman
Born (1900-02-22)February 22, 1900
Freudenstadt, Germany
Died September 26, 1982(1982-09-26) (aged 82)
Beverly Hills, California
Nationality United States, Germany
Known for Barometer, flight instruments
Scientific career
Fields Engineer, inventor

Paul Kollsman (February 22, 1900 in Germany – September 26, 1982 in Beverly Hills, California) was a German-American inventor. He invented barometers and instruments for instrument flight in airplanes.

Kollsman studied civil engineering in Stuttgart and Munich (Technische Universität München). In 1923 he emigrated from Germany to the United States. He worked as a 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 (320 ha) of land outside 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 "Luli" Dorothea Baronin von Bodenhausen, an actress and author, in New York City; she died in 1951. In 1952 he married his second wife, Eva F. Kollsman, who survived him. Paul Kollsman died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California in 1982.[1]


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 (4.9 ha) of formal gardens, which Mr. Kollsman eventually augmented to 120 acres (49 ha), 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, was 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, Eva, 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. As of 2015 the site remains undeveloped, overgrown with brush and weeds.[2]



  1. ^ Waggoner, Walter H. (1982-09-29). "PAUL KOLLSMAN, 82, AVIATION ENGINEER". Retrieved 2015-12-10.
  2. ^ "Lost Hollywood – The Enchanted Hill of Fred Thomson and Frances Marion | Paradise Leased". 2011-09-05. Retrieved 2015-12-10.
  3. ^ "Lemelson-MIT Program". 2015-12-03. Retrieved 2015-12-10.

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