Air & Space Smithsonian has a feature on the unusual and telling items that antique airplane restorers at places like the Paul E. Garber Preservation, Restoration and Storage Facility often find when disassembling their latest aircraft.
Last July, intern Eric Lawrence was cleaning out a Curtiss F9C-2 Sparrowhawk, a small, airship-based fighter that the Navy used in the 1930s for reconnaissance patrols along the U.S. coasts. When he was working in the fuselage tail cone, Lawrence came across a broken pencil, inscribed with the words "Hoover for President, 1928..."Link
A small medallion–discovered tightly crumpled around a screw in a World War II British Hawker Hurricane Mk.IIC fighter–also ended up teasing the restorers with possible storylines. Museum Specialist Will Lee, who found the medal while working on the Hawker restoration, took the time to straighten it out, make it recognizable, and do some investigating. "It's actually a watch fob," says Lee. In the course of researching the item, Lee learned the meaning of the medallion's icons: "The anchor symbol means it was made in Birmingham, England. The lion indicates that it's made of silver, and the letter corresponds to a date–in this case, 1915." But who had owned the medallion? A pilot? A maintainer? A person of wealth? And why was it wrapped around a screw?