Andrew Lech (1905 – 1991) was a postal worker in Chicago, Illinois. He lived in the suburb of Aurora. He retired from the post office in approximately 1940. He began making scale models in high school on a part-time basis. He began work on the Spirit of Saint Louis model in 1931. It was completed in 1933. It had a wingspan of 36 inches and featured working systems, including control systems that actually worked. In 1940 he was commissioned by the Smithsonian Institution to provide structural and external view drawings of the Spirit of Saint Louis. He also constructed fifty precise scale models of various 1900 to 1930s aircraft. In addition, he was commissioned by a patron in Orange County in 1967 to build scale models of experimental aircraft as well as models that were proposed, but never executed. This commission also included dioramas of WWI airdromes.
In 1939 Mr. Lech began a correspondence with Paul Garber, Assistant Curator for aeronautics with the Smithsonian Institution. This culminated in the donation of the model to the Smithsonian in 1972.
Collection consists of 13 folders of correspondence, photos, drawings, and various printed materials.
The San Diego Air & Space Museum is a proud member of the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership, a collaboration of 26 arts, science, and cultural institutions in San Diego's Balboa Park. Learn more at www.bpcp.org.