I have a vintage Kollsman altimeter A.C. U.S. Army. I can't read the text on the front because of the needle arms are in the way, but might state:

Type 5 Serial No A 464.

Back plate is very hard to read, but does state:

Kollsman Brooklyn NY. Then possibly: Order No. W. 636 AC 4708 or W. 635 AC 4798

Any info on it or what aircraft it came from?





  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This type of altimeter could have been used on a variety of different airplanes. The only way you may figure out what plane it came from is the serial number if the records are still around. You may want to contact an aircraft historian if you really want to find out. $\endgroup$
    – DLH
    Apr 3, 2019 at 18:02

2 Answers 2


You should think about selling that altimeter to a museum because you have a piece of history. Kollsman was one of the first people to make barometric altimeters and a Kollsman was used on the first deomonstrated instrument flight by Jimmy Doolittle.

Excerpt from Wikipedia:

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 spent a long time searching for the right opportunity to launch his product, then 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.

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    $\begingroup$ I don't mean to be a buzzkill, but it's a bit of a leap to say that this particular altimeter is a unique museum piece just because the founder of the company is important (just like not every Ford car is a museum piece even though Henry Ford revolutionised the car industry). Although of course if it's actually the 464th altimeter produced by Kollman, it might be a different story. $\endgroup$
    – Sanchises
    Apr 4, 2019 at 9:13
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    $\begingroup$ @Sanchises The value of any item is not determined by age, function or even rarity. It is determined by what someone would pay for the item. I'd say that saying this is a good candidate as a museum piece is a fairly safe leap. $\endgroup$ Apr 5, 2019 at 8:51

Gentleman, Check out the Smithsonian. Many of Kollsman's instruments and those of his engineers, including my grandfather Victor Carbonara, are in the Smithsonian Archives.


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