Anthony Fokker

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Anton Herman Gerard "Anthony" Fokker (6 April 1890 – 23 December 1939) was a pioneer in aviation and a Dutch aircraft manufacturer.


Early life

Anthony (Tony) Fokker was born in Blitar [1] (then Dutch East Indies, now Indonesia), son of Herman Fokker, a Dutch coffee plantation owner. Some sources say that he was born in Kediri. At that time, Blitar was a part of so-called Kediri Residency, a colonial-era administrative division whose capital was in Kediri.

Four years later, the family returned to the Netherlands and settled in Haarlem in order to provide Fokker and his older sister, Toos, with a Dutch upbringing. Although he was not studious and Fokker did not complete his high school education, he showed an early interest in mechanics, and rather played with model trains and steam engines. He devised a leak-proof tire but this was not an original invention and was already patented.

Move to Germany

Fokker's first interest in flight stemmed from Wilbur Wright's exhibition flights in France in the summer and fall of 1908. In 1910, at age 20, Fokker was sent by his father to Germany to receive training as a mechanic, but his interest was in flying, and he changed schools.[2] That same year Fokker built his first aircraft "de Spin" ("the Spider"), which was destroyed by his business partner who flew it into a tree. He gained his pilot license in his second "Spin" aircraft. In his own country, he became a celebrity by flying around the tower of the Sint-Bavokerk in Haarlem on 31 August 1911, with the third version of the "Spin". He also added to his fame by flying on the birthday of Queen Wilhelmina.

In 1912, Fokker moved to Johannisthal near Berlin where he founded his first own company, Fokker Aeroplanbau. In the following years he constructed a variety of airplanes. He relocated his factory to Schwerin where it was renamed Fokker Flugzeugwerke GmbH, and later shortened to Fokker Werke GmbH.

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