Imagining a Better Future by Re-imagining the Past

Saturday, December 26, 2020

The Discopter

Alexander Weygers was a renaissance man. He was a sculpture, engineer, architect and philosopher. Weygers was born in 1901 to Dutch parents and grew up on a sugar plantation in Java. He and his wife Jacoba Hutter later moved to the United States. Tragedy struck when his wife died during the stillbirth of their only child. After his wife’s death he threw himself into sculpting, which he’s most famous for. After World War II he built a house using his blacksmith skills out of recycled materials and scrap metal. Some describe the house as looking like a mushroom that blended perfectly into the surrounding forest. He called it a “geodesic dome gone wild.” He also built a steam-powered car that he and his second wife Marian would drive. Weygers died on July 23, 1989.

Of all of his creations, there is one that may be the most intriguing for Dieselpunks. A disk shaped aircraft that he dubbed the “discopter.”

Two words come to mind when you see his proposed craft: flying saucer. The discopter would essentially be a helicopter with the blades inside the body of the craft rather than outside. Lift would be provided by the blades. The craft would move forwards and aft by a series of louvers in slanted positions, with all the steering done from a central cockpit.

While I’ve been unable to find images of his 1920s initial design I’ve found numerous drawings that Weygers made when he had it patented in the 1940s. In addition, Weygers made illustrations of how he thought cities could be redesigned to incorporate the discopter.


Weygers tried to sell his design to airplane makers, carmakers, and helicopter makers but none would buy the rights to it. Interestingly, the US military did build several experimental craft, such as the Avro Canada VZ-9 Avrocar, that had a haunting resemblance to his discopter. Weygers went to his grave believing that the military had stolen his idea.

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