ANTHONY FOKKER Biography - Famous Sports men and women


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Name: Anton Herman Gerard Fokker                                                           
Born: 6 April 1890                                                                         
Died: 23 December 1939                                                                     
Anton Herman Gerard Fokker (April 6, 1890 – December 23, 1939) was a pioneer in         
aviation and a Dutch-American aircraft manufacturer.                                       
Anthony (Tony) Fokker was born in Kediri, East Java (then Dutch East Indies, now           
Indonesia), son of Herman Fokker, a Dutch coffee plantation owner.                         
Four years later the family returned to the Netherlands and settled in Haarlem             
in order to provide Tony and his older sister Toos with a Dutch upbringing. Just           
like his father, Tony was not studious but rather played with model trains and             
steam engines, and did not complete his high school education. He devised a leak-proof     
tire but this was not an original invention and was already patented.                     
In 1910, at age 20, Fokker was sent by his father to Germany to receive training           
as a mechanic. Yet his interest was in flying, prompting him to change schools.           
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" plane. In his own country, he became a                 
celebrity by flying around the tower of the Sint-Bavokerk in Haarlem on August             
31, 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.                             
At the onset of World War I, the German government took control of the factory.           
Fokker remained as director and designed many aircraft for the Imperial German             
Army Air Service (Luftstreitkräfte), including the Fokker Dr.I, the triplane             
made famous in the hands of aces such as Manfred von Richthofen (the Red Baron).           
He also designed the synchronization gear that allowed the machine gun to be               
fired through the propeller blades, resulting in a phase of German air-superiority         
known as the Fokker Scourge. In all, his company delivered about 700 military             
planes to the German air force.                                                           
After the war's end, the terms of the Treaty of Versailles forbade Germany to             
build any aircraft or aircraft engines. In 1919 Fokker returned to the                     
Netherlands and started a new aircraft company, the Nederlandse                           
Vliegtuigenfabriek (Dutch Aircraft Factory), predecessor to the Fokker Aircraft           
Company. Despite the strict disarmament conditions in the Treaty, Fokker did not           
return home empty-handed: he managed to smuggle an entire train's worth of D.VII           
and C.I military planes and spare parts across the German-Dutch border. This               
initial stock enabled him to quickly set up shop, but his focus shifted from               
military to civil aircraft such as the very successful Fokker F.VII trimotor.             
On March 25, 1919, Fokker married Sophie Marie Elisabeth von Morgen in Haarlem.           
This marriage lasted four years.                                                           
In 1922, he moved to the United States and later became an American citizen.               
Here he established the American branch of his company, the Atlantic Aircraft             
Corporation. In 1927, Fokker married Violet Austman in New York City.                     
He died in New York in 1939 of complications of sinus surgery. He was 49 years