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A partial history of one inventor – Aladár Heppes

Inventors generally are interesting people.  The present section offers a glimpse of one such interesting person.

Behavior at any given moment (operant and respondent, external and internal) is determined by an individual’s genetic endowment, as modified by the individual’s personal history – these, embodied as the current human being – as that individual encounters current environmental stimulation (external and internal).  (See first reference.)


In the instance of the individual person, Aladár Heppes, certain of his behavior during the Second World War – as determined by his genetic endowment as modified by his personal history, encountering events day-by-day during that war – has been chronicled elsewhere (see, e.g., third and sixth references).  What the present posting might contribute, of that era, is a photograph of what may be a shoulder patch of his military unit (possibly 1940’s, Puma patch?), and a typing (presumably of post-war vintage) of what is believed to be the anthem of the Royal Hungarian Air Force’s Puma Squadron, the words of which were written by Aladár Heppes (Puma anthem – a first-reading English translation of which being, Puma anthem in translation, with a subsequent, studied translation being, Puma (Cougar) Fighter Plane Anthem).  (One of his descendants in Hungary might wish to upload to the Wikipedia article that is the sixth reference, below, a picture of the impressive board upon which he mounted his military medals.)

After the War

What is known of the behavior of Aladár Heppes, after the Second World War?  This posting provides a little information on that question.  The central conclusion will be, that Aladár Heppes considered himself an artist (1959 - an artist) – a pilot, and an artist.


The end of the War brought major changes in the world in which Aladár Heppes lived, with thus concurrently occurring changes in the behavior of the man.  Side-by-side may be chronicled, civilian occupations to support himself, and artistic creations across the years:


In 1953, we find Aladár Heppes supporting himself by working as a welder in the Electrolux factory in Old Greenwich, Connecticut.  This is known by his being the subject of a full-page feature, titled Aladar Heppes, Artist, and Pilot, Now Welder at Electrolux, in the “Who’s Who” section of the March, 1953 issue of what appears to be an in-house publication, Electrolux Factory News (fifth reference).  With that feature article’s containing a wealth of information, it would be valuable to include it here, but at present that is not possible.  Several lines in the article give eyewitness testimony to the impression imparted by a gesture that may be viewed in a separate, independent drawing of Aladár Heppes’s that may be viewed at this point (Thank you!  We will be there!).  Another hint of the flavor of those early years in America (1953 Family Field Day).


In 1960, we find commemorated, Aladár Heppes’s five-years’ employment with a different company – believed to be, as a technical illustrator – in receiving a company award (1960 Citation of Service).


Aladár Heppes re-married, late in 1958 – an American (believed to be, naturally enough, another technical illustrator within the same company).  He did not pilot planes, after the war – “too expensive,” the man’s widow once later explained.  With the saliency of events of the War years in many men’s lives, though, it is not surprising that, in later years, Aladár Heppes put together model kits of some planes of the War – including his Messerschmitt-109E fighter, Russia’s Yakovlev Yak-1 fighter, and America’s Boeing B-24 bomber (Me-109E, B-24, Yak-1).  The saliency of aerial warfare of that earlier period in the life of Aladár Heppes, and of his colleagues, is also apparent in another, presumably post-war work of his (puma drawing), and in two works given him by friends and colleagues (curlicue; pen stand).


There is a gap in the available biographical record, and we next find Aladár Heppes, apparently, as a freelance “industrial designer” (Aladar de Heppes business card).


Aladár Heppes turned his hand to attempting to put bread on the table by commercializing inventions of his – with what success, it is not known.  Firstly illustrative, dryly descriptive documents exist (not included here) that detail some of Aladár Heppes’s lengthy effort preceding, and going through the patent process, and of work involved after a patent was obtained – the patent being (U.S. Patent 3,650,533 Heppes).  Aladár Heppes was, as well, co-inventor on another issued U.S. patent (U.S. Patent 3,685,037 Bennet & Heppes).  Steps toward bringing a third invention to fruition were pursued, but upon evidence available, did not pan out (1958 Phantogram; this is also alluded to in Reference 5).


Aladár Heppes sketched a number of drawings for Christmas cards, which would be a pleasure to send, or receive.  With neither German nor English being his native tongue, with certain of his drawings in which German or English text appears (in these Christmas cards, or elsewhere), an occasional textual error blemishes the work, while not diminishing the artistry of the drawing (Christmas Eve).


The humor of the man is evident in his drawings (e.g., speculate spoof of manufacturing; manager; skiing), and in daily social life (possibly 1950’s – Aladár Heppes turning to an unknown laughing young woman (cropped)).


Naturalized American citizen (1956 – citizen) Aladár Heppes’s strong attachment to his formative Hungarian culture – that of his birthplace and home, until he could not return – is pervasively evident.  An example – not the favorite of one relative, but cross-stitching works that hang on a wall in one of the rooms of his home, “because Ali made them” (Hungarian culture).


Knowing how youngsters would view such things, here may be viewed what is believed to be one of three replicas of an identifying military pin, given by Aladár Heppes as gifts to three young relatives (Hungarian wings).  It was only decades later, in adulthood, that the recipient of this gift learned of the symbolism of this pin – its being a representation of the mythological Turul bird that, in legend, had guided the Hungarian people (the Magyars) from the plains of Central Asia to their homeland.


Another, audio example, that speaks for itself (possibly 1970’s Aladár Heppes – Hungarian songs).


Perhaps purely of Hungarian influence, or perhaps a cross between the cultures of his birthplace and of his adopted home, a creation may be viewed that is the worse for wear – not having been looked after, as it deserves (two part: wagon-wheel chandelier-A; wagon-wheel chandelier-B).  (Picture this suspended by four black decorative chains from the inside ceiling of the work-room at the far right in the second-to-last picture of this posting, its four light bulbs illuminating the delicate decorated paper cones that shade from direct glare.)


Examples of Aladár Heppes’s metalwork that one presumes anyone might welcome in their home (Hungarian-background lamp; art-unto-itself lamp).


An example of Aladár Heppes’s hand-built furniture (table and chairs; the “missing,” fourth chair later came to light, tucked away in a basement space).


Three further drawings of Aladár Heppes’s (1955 fencer; portrait sketch (unknown subject); church).


Some renderings of Aladár Heppes (1957 Aladár de Heppes self sketch; possibly 1967 – Aladár Heppes; possibly 1960’s – Aladár Heppes; 1970 Aladár Heppes).


In what appears to be a cassette-tape-recorded “at-home practice session” for a speech he was to give before an audience, which took place on August 18, 1984 in Oshawa, Canada, Aladár Heppes may be heard reading from a document one presumes he had written himself.  (This is Aladár Heppes “talking to himself,” as it were – emitting verbal behavior as a speaker, and responding to that emitted verbal behavior as a listener.)  This reading – the coming upon which was the impetus for the present posting – may be heard by clicking the digitally-converted record, here (possibly 1984 – Aladár Heppes “at-home practice” re 1944), from an original cassette tape (cassette label).  An Hungarian-language transcription of the words spoken in the audio file may be viewed here (Hungarian transcription), and an English translation of the transcribed Hungarian record, here (English translation).  As with all “practice sessions,” one presumes that subsequent final edits were made, and, of course, the audience of the actual moment would vivify the final “delivery.”  ... That subsequent edits were made, appears to be the case, upon the evidence of a published version of the 1984 speech, listed as the second reference, below – from which it may be gleaned, as is evident in listening to the audio recording, that it begins abruptly, missing an initial introductory paragraph that notes that the speech was invited by the Hungarian Aero Museum, and the beginning of a second paragraph that translates, “There is a good Hungarian proverb that says, the whip cracks at the end.  As the whip cracks on us flight crews, ...”  The recorded at-home practice session enters at this point in the speech, “... one of the main goals of my commemoration of fighter flight crews is to point out the conditions under which these heroic and important actions took place.  ...” – and continues.


In the life of Aladár Heppes, we see that changing environments bring changing behavior, to match.  We may also come away with an expanded picture of the behavioral repertoire of the man.

One may view Aladár Heppes’s rendering of his home in Ridgefield, Connecticut, which he lovingly drew as the cover of one of his Christmas-card designs, and upon the grounds of which his wife scattered his ashes, as her final act in departing the property in 1994 (Christmas in Connecticut); or, as he would say, (Old pilots).



Acknowledgement:  The transcription of the at-home-practice audio file into Hungarian-language text, the English translation of that Hungarian text, the first-reading English translation of the Puma’s anthem, and its subsequent textual translation, are by a local Hungarian friend.




1.  Two-part discussion between Professor B.F. Skinner and Professor Eve Segal –

Part I:  “Philosophy of Behaviorism” (1988).  (Copy and paste address into new web-page:  https://youtu.be/NpDmRc8-pyU 

Part II:  “Verbal behavior (1988).  (Copy and paste address into new web-page:  https://youtu.be/-Iz6uOkk_Kk )


2.  Heppes, A., “Visszaemlékezés a Magyar Légierők 1944-es harcaira 40 év távlatából.”  Magyar Szárnyak, 1984 (13. évfolyam, 13. szám).  (Trans.:  “A recollection of the Hungarian Air Force’s fighting in 1944 from a perspective of 40 years.”  Hungarian Wings, 1984, Volume 13, Issue 13, pp. 10-16.)  (1984 perspective on 1944 (Posted with permission of the Hungaricana project.)


3.  Musciana, W., “The Old Puma of the Hungarian Air Force.”  Air Progress, June, 1967, pp. 26-29 and 72-74 (1967 – Öreg Puma).  (In the same issue, D. Downie, “America’s Most Famous Pilot, Barry Goldwater,” pp. 11-14 and 60-64 – a connection between the two articles being, (1967 – with respect).)  (“Old Puma” article posted with permission of Challenge Publications, Inc.)

4.  Unknown Connecticut newspaper, “Hungarian Noble Spurns Title, Takes Oath As Citizen Here.”  December 22, 1956, page 8.  (Attempts at identifying Connecticut newspaper that published this article have been unsuccessful.  Aladár Heppes became a United States citizen on December 21, 1956.  A link to a scan of the article appears in the text above.)


5.  Unlisted author, “Aladar Heppes, Artist, and Pilot, Now Welder at Electrolux.”  Electrolux Factory News, March, 1953, p. 10.


6.  Wikipedia entry:  “101st Home Air Defence Fighter Wing.”

(Copy and paste address into new web-page:  

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/101st_Home_Air_Defence_Fighter_Wing )