Airships (E40)
Philadelphia Caramel Company, 1912, U.S.A.

E40 Overview

  • Series Title: Airships
  • (index): E40
  • Issued by: Philadelphia Caramel Company
  • Issued with: Philadelphia Caramel Candies
  • Country: U.S.A.
  • Number of Cards: 15
  • Card Numbering: Unnumbered
  • Type of Card: Confectionery Insert card
  • Card Dimensions: 1½ × 2⅝
  • Circa: 1912
  • Checklist: E40 Checklist

This interesting and historically significant 1912 set of 15 “Airships” unnumbered aviation cards was issued by the Philadelphia Caramel Company of Camden, New Jersey. These “Airships” cards capture the exciting transition between uncontrolled lighter-than-air flying machines such as manned-balloons and manned-dirigibles. These types of lighter-than-air flying machines were uncontrollable and therefore at the mercy of the prevailing winds. You would go up, but you were never quite sure where you would land.

In this set, we meet the innovative, adventurous, and courageous pioneers of controllable flight. The set features “powered controllable flight” of both lighter-than-air and heavier-than-air flying machines. The generic card back for this "Airships" series (shown below) displays the following Philadelphia Caramel boast. "We are the largest packers of candies with picture gifts in the United States." During the 1912 timeframe this was most likely an accurate statement.

The card fronts (shown at the top of the page) themselves featured color drawings of the various types of flying machines surrounded by a brown frame line and an ample white border with the card title centered within the bottom border. The fronts of the cards all appear in a landscape format, whereas the generic back is in a portrait format.

The dimensions of the cards are 1½ × 2⅝ inches (38.1 × 66.68 mm). The American Card Catalog reference number for this set is E40.

E40 Image-Guide

You can only imagine that the original artwork on the 15 "Airships" cards are less than spectacular. Keep in mind that in 2019 these cards were 107 years old. So, we decided to enhance the original card images as best we could to present the card artwork as it might have appeared when originally issued in 1912. Scans of the original cards are also documented in the table below the E40 Image-Guide.

The following 1912 “Airships” (E40) 15-card Image-Guide shows computer enhanced images (noted above) for the fronts and backs of the set. Behind each thumbnail image is a 600-dpi computer enhanced card image that you may access.

Baldwin Dirigible
Bates Biplane
Blériot Monoplane
Chinese Dirigible
Curtiss Biplane
Farman Biplane
Gleason-Robertson Biplane
Knabenschue Dirigible
Langer Monoplane
Latham Monoplane
Lefebvre Biplane
Republic Dirigible
Santo Dumont Dirigible
Wright Biplane
Zeppelin Dirigible

E40 Checklist

We have provided two versions of the checklist for this set: (1) An 8½ × 11 inch PDF version, and (2) the web version shown below. Click on the PDF graphic below to access on print-out the PDF checklist version.

xCard Title
Baldwin, Dirigible
Bates, Biplane
Blériot, Monoplane
Chinese, Dirigible
Curtiss, Biplane
Farman, Biplane
Gleason-Robinson, Biplane
Knabenschue, Dirigible
Langler, Monoplane
Latham, Monoplane
Lefebvre, Biplane
Republique, Dirigible
Santo Dumont, Dirigible
Wright, Biplane
Zeppelin, Dirigible

Non-Sports Cards for Sale

If you by chance need any Aviation or Military related Non-Sports cards and/or card sets, be sure to visit our online store, the SkyCardShop, to see what we currently have listed for sale. If the cards you need are not there, please drop us a note at and tell us what cards you need. If we have your cards, we'll post them on the SkyCardShop. However, as we post them, we'll also send you a “heads-up” email so you can get them before someone else does. We can also set up “Private Sales” via PayPal and skip posting the cards/sets on the SkyCardShop. We're looking forward to helping you fulfill your non-sports cards needs.

Since 2002, we've been buying vintage aviation and military related non-sports cards to feature on our website. We are currently in the process of populating our website with approximately 400+ non-sports card sets, mostly aviation related. Nearly all of the sets that we feature include both “original” and “computer enhanced” 600-dpi scans of the fronts and backs of all the cards in the individual sets. We also include printable PDF checklists for each of the card featured on the website. By the way, if you print out these 600-dpi card images on any high-quality computer (including photo paper) and trim them, they make great full-size “Filler Card Images” to use before you acquire the real card. We should note that we are actually “Image Collectors” rather than “Card Collectors” per se. Once we've scanned a card for he website, we're therefore have no use for it, and eventually post it on the SkyCardShop.


John Shupek — John is retired Aeronautical/Aerospace Engineer that lives in Southern California. John's 36 year aerospace career/adventure started in the mid-1960s when he worked for Pratt & Whitney at their “FRDC” … Florida Research and Development Center, West Palm Beach, Florida. John was part of the P&W jet engine design team for the CIA/USAF's Lockheed A-12/SR-71A “Oxcart/Blackbird” engines (J58/JT11D-20). He also worked on the RL-10 rocket engine and the JTF-17A which was P&W's entry into the United States' SST competition between Boeing and Lockheed. Several years later, John moved back to California and worked at the AiResearch Mfg. Company at LAX and Torrance. He originally worked on the thermal design of the HRE (Hypersonic Ramjet Engine) which was a supersonic combustion Mach 7 ramjet engine that was to be tested on the North American X-15. John did about three more years of jet engine design work before he disappeared for 13 years into the classified DOE “GCEP” (Gas Centrifuge Enrichment Plant) Atomic Energy program for the enrichment of U235. After the GCEP program was cancelled by the DOE in 1985, John was hired by Northrop Aircraft to do the thermal design for Northrop's entry into the ATF (Advanced Tactical Fighter) competition, the Northrop YF-23A “Black Widow II” stealth supercruise fighter. He also worked on the Northrop Grumman B-2A “Spirit” stealth bomber. After several years on a classified stealth missile program, John worked the remainder of his Aerospace career as one of Northrop Grumman's Program Directors on the United States Navy's F/A-18E/F “Super Hornet” jet fighter program.

During John's career at Northrop Grumman he served for five years as Northrop's “Vintage Aircraft Club” Commissioner and the Curator and Webmaster for the Western Museum of Flight in Hawthorne, California. Several years later, John was the volunteer webmaster (for about 3 years) for the Yanks Air Museum, Chino, California. He also served as President and webmaster for two different NPO's after his retirement. The Whittier Historical Society & Museum and Whittier Meals on Wheels.

John's love of aviation history and aviation photography lead to the establishment of this website in 1998. The site has continued to expand and will always grow and will never be completed. It's sort of analogous to a snowball rolling down a hill without any trees to stop it. In approximately 2002, John remembered that he had collected Topps “Wings” (ACC# R707-4) airplane trading cards while in High School. Somehow the cards had disappeared over the years. So at this point, he started to re-collect airplane trading cards via eBay and become an airplane card “Image Collector” rather than a “Card Collector” per se. After John scans an airplane card for the website, he has no further use for it and he puts it back into circulation via eBay. John's mission statement for the is basically to restore and preserve high-quality card images/artwork associated with the various airplane card sets from the early 1900s to the present. These cards are wonderful historical “snapshots” into aviation history showing which aviation events and aircraft were important at that point in time. For the website, basically if it is a trading card collection that features things that fly, but doesn't have feathers, it is eligible for consideration on the website. John always welcomes inputs and high resolution scans (600-dpi) that can be used on this website. John can be reached via the “Contact Us” navigation button on the left.


  1. Shupek, John A. “Airships (E40) Philadelphia Caramel Company.” The Skytamer Archive (600-dpi Image Scans). Skytamer Images, Whittier, CA, 2017. Digital Image Database.

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