Guide to the Victor L. Ochoa Papers
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
NMAH.AC.0590
Creators:
Ochoa, Elizabeth V.
Ochoa, Victor Leaton
International Airship Co.
Dates:
circa 1894-1945
Languages:
English
Some materials in Czech; French; German; Japanese; Spanish; Dutch; Polish
Physical Description:
0.5 cubic feet
2 boxes
Repository:
The papers document Victor L. Ochoa, Mexican American inventor of the Ochoaplane, orinthopter (an aircraft that flies by flapping its wings), a windmill, magnetic brakes, a wrench and a reversible motor. The papers include correspondence, photographs, patents, both U.S. and foreign, drawings and typescripts for a short story, "The Making of an American," and a novel
The Cycle of Life or Professor Mimo Abas: The Wise Man of the Land of Moctezuma.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers document Victor Leaton Ochoa, Mexican American inventor of the Ochoaplane, orinthopter (an aircraft that flies by flapping its wings), a windmill, magnetic brakes, a wrench and a reversible motor. The papers include correspondence, photographs, patents, both United States and foreign, drawings and typescripts for a short story and a novel.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged into seven series.
Series 1: Correspondence, 1895-1945
Series 2: Financial materials, 1911, 1912, undated
Series 3: Patent Materials, 1901-1925
Subseries 3.1: Patent Papers, 1922; 1925
Subseries 3.2: Drawings, undated
Subseries 3.3: Foreign Patents, 1901-1922
Subseries 3.4: United States Patents, 1903-1922
Series 4: Writings, undated
Series 5: Photographs, 1933, undated
Series 6: Newspaper Clippings, circa 1894-1912
Series 7: Miscellaneous Printing Blocks, undated

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Victor Leaton Ochoa (1850-1945?) was born in Ojinaga, Mexico. Ochoa later moved to Presidio del Norte, Texas, (Presidio is on the Rio Grande River) and became a United States citizen in 1889. Ochoa was the son of Juan Ochoa, a customs collector in Presidio.
Victor Ochoa was a journalist/writer, founding (
El Hispano-American
and
El Correo del Bravo)
; a politician (running unsuccessfully in El Paso); a union leader founding (La Union Occidental
Mexicana
to help Mexicans in the United States preserve their language); a revolutionary (opposing the Mexican government of President Porfirio Díaz, the President of Mexico from 1876 to 1880 and from 1884 to 1911); a prisoner, corporate president of the International Airship Company and the Ochoa Tool and Machine Company; miner and inventor. Ochoa was bitterly opposed to the dictatorship of President Porfirio Díaz. He became involved in the fight by Mexican rebels in the early 1890s to overthrow Diaz. Some consider Ochoa to be the originator of the revolt, and Díaz ultimately issued a $50,000 reward for Ochoa, "dead or alive." Ochoa's participation in Mexican revolutionary activities led to his arrest in 1894 for supplying and hiring Mexican dissidents in El Paso, Texas, thus violating United States neutrality laws. As a result of his illegal actions, a federal warrant was issued for Ochoa's arrest. The Texas Rangers as well as the U.S. Marshal Service sought Ochoa. In October of 1894, Pecos County Sheriff A. J. Royal and Texas Ranger James W. Fulgham arrested Victor Ochoa while rounding up suspected horse thieves. Ochoa was put in the Pecos County Jail and promptly escaped. He was eventually found and returned to El Paso. Ochoa was ultimately sentenced to two years in federal prison at Kings County Penitentiary in Brooklyn. Ochoa was stripped of his United States citizenship, but it was ultimately restored by Theodore Roosevelt in 1906.
Ochoa was as committed to inventing as he was to his revolutionary ideals. He was known to reside in the New York City and the Patterson, New Jersey area in the late 1890s. Ochoa's issued patents list him at New York, New Jersey, and Texas addresses. He also worked with Watson E. Coleman, a solicitor of patents in Washington, D.C. Coleman helped Ochoa file for and obtain patents in other countries such as Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, and Spain. Ochoa's patents include: a magnetic brake (US Patent No. 867,147); a reversible motor (US Patent No. 718,508); a rail magnetic brake (US Patent No. 873,587); a windmill (US Patent No. 1,319,174); and a wrench (US Patent No. 1,417,196 and 1,454,333).
Ochoa had a strong interest in aviation. He created the "Ochoaplane," circa 1908-1911. He designed it with an automobile in mind, and it included collapsible wings so that it could be housed in a garage or barn. He also incorporated the International Airship Company in Patterson, New Jersey, presumably to manufacture his "airships." Ochoa was imprisoned at the United States Penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas on February 18, 1917 and was released on May 1, 1918 upon completion of his sentence. In a September 17, 1917, letter written from Leavenworth, Ochoa asks the Naval Consulting Board to consider the use of metal wings constructed in such a manner that they fold back and over the body of the airship. Ochoa called this his fluttering wing machine. Ochoa's letter is deliberate, and he writes, "There was no desire on my part of abandoning this and three other patents that at this time went to issue. At that time I was taken sick with consumption and my struggle for life then became my sole purpose and then there arose other circumstances, over which I had no control, to prevent my taking them out."
Ochoa married Amanda Cole, granddaughter of Thomas Cole, the American painter, whose most famous painting is
The Last of the Mohicans
. They had one son, Stephen Ochoa. Victor Ochoa returned to Sinaloa, Mexico, in 1936, and it is believed he died there in 1945.
Source Romo, David Dorado.
Ringside Seat to a Revolution: An Underground Cultural History of El Paso and Juarez: 1893-1923.
El Paso, Texas: Cinco Puntos Press, 2005.

Administration
Processing Information
Processed by Alison L. Oswald, archivist, February, 1999.
Author
Alison L. Oswald, archivist
Immediate Source of Acquisition
This collection was donated by Elizabeth Victoria Ochoa on May 17, 1997.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is open for research use. Researchers must handle unprotected photographs with gloves.
Preferred Citation
Victor L. Ochoa Papers, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
Conditions Governing Use
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Reproduction permission from Archives Center: reproduction fees may apply.

Related Materials
Record Group 129, Records of the Bureau of Prisons held by the National Archives, Central Plains Division, Kansas City, Missouri (http://www.archives.gov/central-plains/kansas-city/), contains a 54 page file on Victor L. Ochoa's imprisonment.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
El Paso (Texas) Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Airplanes Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Texas -- 20th century Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Patents Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mexico -- 20th century Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Inventors -- 1890-1960 Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Inventions -- 20th century Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Aeronautics Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Correspondence -- 1930-1950 Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs -- 20th century Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Clippings Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Drawings Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012
archivescenter@si.edu
http://americanhistory.si.edu/archives