Chicago’s Contributions to the Development of Heavier-Than-Air Flight
INTRO Chicago’s Aviation Pioneers
PART ONE Octave Chanute
PART TWO The Aero Club of Illinois
PART THREE First Aeroplane Flights Over Chicago
PART FOUR Chicago to Springfield
PART FIVE 1911 Aviation Meet
PART SIX Dirigibles
PART SEVEN 1912 Gordon Bennett Race
PART EIGHT Municipal Airport (Midway)
PART NINE 1930 National Air Races and Aeronautical Exposition
PART TEN 1933 American Air Race
PART ELEVEN 1937 Amelia Earhart
PART TWELVE Northerly Island Airport (Meigs Field)
The Inter Ocean, July 3, 1910
BY W. T. GENTE
Thirty Chicagoane are today seeking to solve the problem of aerial navigation, according to the declaration of M. K. Kasmar, secretary of the American Aeronautical Society of Chicago, which is the first organization of its kind to bo formed in America.
It has as its object tbe fostering of interest in aviation, and has been in existence twenty-two years. Not only are the headquarters of the club at 1950 North avenue given over to tbe deliberations and social amenities of the organization, whose membership, nation wide, embraces upward of 10,000, but in the basement and rear rooms are to be seen the tangible results of study, investigation aad deduction of several of its members. Secretary Kasar himself haa under construction two aeroplanes of his own designing, besides a motor for airships, of which he expects much.
A number of the new devices in aeroplanes invented by Chicagoans are to be seen at tbe aviation and apeed carnival now in progress at Hawthorne race track under the auspices of the Colonial Aero club. Tbe carnival opened yeaterday and will end tomorrow. It will include aeroplane, automobile and motocyclo events.
When President A. L. Brown of the Colonial Aero club and a press agent of tbe meet started la a machine to ferret out budding amateurs the ether day to induce them to participate in the events arranged for services and nonprofessionals they had no idea of the interest shown by the layman in aeronautics. The visit to Secretary Kasmar and the figures he supplied to show the wide prevalence of the aviation “bug” proved but a faint foreshadowing of tbe realities tbe afternoon brought to view.
In every part of the city would-be conquistadors of tbe air were rounded up, each claiming that his particular creation of steel and wood and canvas would eventually make soaring as safe and practical and pleasant as being rocked in a cradle under a mother’s care.
The auto jaunt of an afternoon into the carefully guarded lairs of nursling aerial Juggernaut revealed designs of the widest divergence—monoplanes,. biplanes and multiplanes. The excursion led into the fiats of poor inventors and into the residence of a millionaire.
One of the most iateresting machines inasmuch as it is sent through space by hand levers, is that of Les Wilms, 2142 Dayton street. The heavier than air proposition in aviation has been the bugbear of many inventors and the cause of discouragement to many would-be flyers. Glenn H. Curtis, who. incidentally supervises all the aero events at the Hawthorne park speed congress, made the first flight in this country in a heavier than air machine less tbaa two years ago. Always the motor, naturally the heaviest component of a flying machine outside of tbe welgbt of the paaseager himself, in instances, has been tbe obstacle to militate against flight. Curtiss wss forced to overcome the consequences of this incumbrance Wilms says that such an incumbrance is not essential. So we have the hand driven aeroplane.
Wilms’ flying machine, besides framework and a seat for the operstor consists of a canvas sustainer overhead, flails of canvas and a rudder of like material
The flails the inventor says, act on the principle of the feathers in a bird’s wings. Folded flat, with edgea overlapping, th flails open with every upward stroke, remaining oblique, thus driving the craft forward. In the downward stroke they close to a manner to preeeot a horizontal position, thus sustaining the machine until the impulse forward of tbe next stroke upward is given, the source of motive power lying in hand levers
Wilms’ air craft, which be has named “Dinosaur,” is launching into space with the aid of an incline. Wilma is giving the first public exhibition of the invention at the speed chow-chow at Hawthorne race track and will personally make the slide which constitutes the initial stage of his air voyages from a specially constructed skid in front of the grand stand on July 4. His will be the only incline-started machine on the grounds.
Trial trips conducted privately northwest of Ravenswood manor recently have been successful, Wilms states, and have given him full confidence that the “Dinosaur” is capable of greater performances. Wilms has been experimenting in airship construction and navigation since 1895.
The famous “mystery” aeroplane is another entry in the big Hawthorne track meet. It is the property of Charles W. Miller, 223 East Superior street, and occasioned much speculation when it arrived in Chicago from Europe addressed to “H. S. K.” It is primarily a French machine, but embodies several ideas of the owner. Miller has been making tests of the flyer on the prairies at Sixteenth avenue and West Twenty-second street, assisted by D. Shaffer, his machinist. He weighs 240 pounds and will be the heaviest participant in the aviation congress. His flyer is equipped with a seventy-five horse-power motor.
Former Lieutenant Heinrich von Monnard of the German army, who was connected for years with the Royal balloon corps of the Fatherland, will enter an aeroplane which makes use of a new balance principle, he affirms. He calls it a countershifting weight principle. Von Monnard lives in LaGrange.
The faith of F. Gottwald, 3963 Lake avenue, in a momnoplane which he is building ius so great that he gave up a lucrative position as machinist a year ago to devote his time solely to the construction and improvement of the product of his inventive bent. Mr. Gottwald claims that his machine does away with a propeller.
Theodore Kornbrodt, the dyer, 1421 West Chicago avenue, is another of Chicago’s aviation novices who has built a machine which is a departure in its underlying principle from all other flyers. It is a combination dirigible and aeroplane affair with a semi-oval balloon and stationary planes, and is driven by motor and steered by a suction arrangement which is new in aviation.
In place of the usual rudder, it has a movable rear section of pipe, the main section of which extends the length of the craft. Suction wheels at each end of the main tube force the air backward through the tube, thus pointing the prow of the airship upward for ascent when rear section of the tube is raised through the force of air expulsion and pointing it downward when descent is desired, lateral progress being made on the same principle. Two gasoline motors are to supply the motive power in the completed craft, and the inventor proposes to lift the machine in filling the bag with the hot air generated, this to do away with the danger of explosion ever present in hydrogen-gas balloons.
Two additional propellers below the others, one at the front and one at the rear, will speed the craft. Mr. Kornbrodt has constructed a model of a size permissible in a seventeen foot room. It is equipped with two electric motors in place of the gasoline motors which are eventually to be installed. The frame of the model weighs twenty-seven pounds, and with the bag forty-seven pounds. It is constructed of aluminum and fireproof cloth and has withstood a heat test of 400 degrees. Mr. Kornbrodt has just received two patents on the leading principles upon which his machine is built.
Mr. St. Croix Johnstone, once motocycle champion of the world, has entered a hybrid aerial creation which is a cross between a Bierot and an Antoinette flyer, two leading makers of French design. The aeroplane carries a ten horse power motor, the entire contraption weighing 160 pounds. It has a square surface of 175 feet. Mr. Johnstone recently completed an aeroplane with a propeller operated by bicycle pedals, but it failed to soar. The power developed by pedaling was insufficient.
Like so many of the new order of man-birds, Johnstone has left one field of danger feats to dabble in another. Some have stepped from such activities as ballconing, parachute leaping, high diving and so on. Johnstone deserted motocycle racing. He was one of the first to take up the motor sport when it blossomed six years ago and is remembered for his accomplishments on the Garfield park track, where he broke the world’s record going forty-five miles an hour, and held for two months in the heat of one of the greatest periods of the motocycling craze. Then it was lowered in Europe. Later at the same track, he bettered his record by going fifty-four and one-half miles an hour, which, however, did not regain him the world mark, which previously had been lowered far beneath his first world figure.
J. W. Fuhrmann, 2221 Dayton street, is exhibiting a model incorporating certain accessories of his invention, which, he says, will do much to solve the problems of air motoring. He has applied for a patent on what he terms a double action horizontal rudder, which is designed to give instantaneous control of a flying machine under all conditions, be it a high wind or a failing of motive power. It is a combined steerer and balancer on one lever and tilts the flyer on a longitudinal axis as well as a transverse axis. M. K. Kasmar also has built a balancer. He terms it a self-righting automatic balancer.
A double monoplane is one of the novelties at the exhibit. It is the entry of Edward Blork, 934 Fletcher street. He constructed his machine in a shed at Evanston avenue and Byron place. It is almost square, being 40 feet in length by 20 in width. Those who have seen it say that if appearances are not deceptive it surely can fly. They contend that with two planes it will have an advantage over the usual type f single plane machine.
H. H. Dailey “Old Glory” Center Drop Biplane of 1910
H. H. Dailey of 6042 Langley avenue has invented what might be termed a center drop plane machine. It weighs 428 pounds and carries a sixty horse power motor. It is built on the lines of a seagull and is self-balancing, as the motor and passenger are further below the plane than in any other machine. He recently flew at Thorton, Ill., sideways against a thirty mile gale. While the experimental flight terminated when his machine was smashed against a tree, he claims that he flew for a sufficient distance to prove the feasibility of the craft.
Among other Chicagoans now dabbling in aeroplane experiments are James Armes, the first Chicagoan to sell a flying machine of homogeneous make, resident at Fifty-Second street and Drexel avenue; Harry Scott, who is testing a flyer at the old Worth track; Fred Burke of 172 Chicago avenue, a foreigner, who lives near Lake and Morgan streets; D. B. Hartley, 1142 West Madison street, who advertises himself as an aeroplane manufacturer, and the University of Chicago students of aeronautics who have completed a glider which they believe they will soon have in shape.
With the evidence herewith presented and the fact that Chicago is the home of the oldest aeronautical association in America and is about to become the seat of a school of aviation, it is apparent that the city is destined soon to become recognized as one of the world’s greatest centers of aeronautic activities.
Chicago Tribune, September 18, 1910
NE hundred Chicagoans, in round numbers, are today seeking to solve the problems of aviation, not theoretically, but in a practical manner. That number have constructed, or are constructing, mostly of their own designing, although embodying various features of established European and American machines, and are in most instances arrived at the stage where flights essayed.
Two aeronautical schools, the first in the United States, planned on a thoroughly pedagogic basis, are to be formed in the city shortly, one by M. K. Kasmar, a former roller skate manufacturer, and the author of the first text book on aviation written in the United States,1 and the other by E. W. Morey of the faculty of the Chicago Technical college. The former will have as its chief instructor J. W. Curzon of Indianapolis, the first man to fly successfully an aeroplane in Indiana, using a Farman biplane.
The city has already produced two aviators of world fame with the flying game, as regards motor propelled, heavier than air planes, hardly a year old in actual achievement. They are John B. Moissant, who made a wonderful flight in a monoplane from Paris to suburban London, carrying his mechanic, and J. C. (“Bud”) Mars, once a newsboy on the streets of Chicago, who is now one of the Curtiss flying stars after many years of experience in ballooning, parachute leaping, and high diving. Then, too, Chicago is the home of Octave Chanute, the “grand old man of aerostatics,” who has forwarded to a greater extent the new science, sport, and amusement factor rolled in one in its initial and probation period than any other man living.
Chicago Home of First Society.
Chicago is the site of the first aeronautical society to be formed in America. It is the Aeronautical Society of Chicago, with headquarters at 1950 Chicago avenue, and embrace a nation wide membership of approximately 10,000. It was patterned after the British Aeronautical society, then the only organization of its kind in an English speaking nation, and is now devoting iys sole attention to the place of dirigible balloons and other balloon crafts.
The headquarters are in charge of M. K. Kasmar, secretary of the organization, who has constituted the rear rooms and basement of the society’s habitat “experimental chambers” where members of the organization are afforded, facilities for putting their ideas into concrete form. Secretary Kasmar himself has two aeroplanes under construction, in addition to a motor especially designed to meet the requirements of flying machines. Two other organizations of like nature are newcomers—the Aero club of Illinois, of which James E. Plew is president, and the Illinois Aeroplane club, guided by Edward E. Herbert.
Besides being the house of the oldest aeronautical society in America, Chicago can also lay claim to possessing the first permanent aviation field in America. It is a more or less shrouded locality in the vicinity of Berwyn, which can only be reached by crossing myriad railroad tracks, dodging oft-shunted freight cars, scaling embankments and crossing ditches, besides pursuing a vague trail through a wilderness of weeds. As H. H. Dailey, one of the inventive campers on the field, would have it inferred, to attempt to reach the field is laying oneself open to—well, fatigue at least, if not sudden death. And Mr. Dailey, like the rest of his scientific colleagues, desires nothing more than privacy until his craft, a creation of sea gull aspect, has emerged from its experimental chrysalis. Here a dozen machines have found their rendezvous and a well ordered and fairly secluded aviation camp has sprung into being, with tent shelter for man and his Pegasus.
Industry Making Rapid Growth.
Outside of this field for trial flights and perfecting of machines, there are workshops in a surprising number in the city given over to the construction of aeroplanes as conceived by the owners, and there is one plant in Michigan avenue, downtown, where a technical and mechanical staff is kept busy building, improving, and remodeling aeroplanes and motors for the same. There is also a supply store for aviation devotees in Wabash avenue, so has grown the demand for “parts” already more or less standardized as regards the accredited makes.
In a literary sense, too, the city is attracting the attention of the aviation world. Besides the work of M. K. Kasmar, made reference to, Victor Longheed has just had a book issued on the history and theory of the new science.
Nor is that the last exhibit in the chain of evidence establishing Chicago’s prestige as an aviation center. The city last July witnessed its first aviation congress, the first affair of its kind held in the middle west, with an exhibition of aeroplanes invented by Chicagoans q feature. It constituted the first general exhibition of aeroplanes ever held in America, as far as the writer has been able to establish, and placed another feather in vital movements.
It will be remembered that Glenn H. Curtiss, one of the foremost of American aviators, declared on a recent visit to Chicago, following a series of short flights here after long baffling by obstreperous winds, that Chicago is the most unfavorable of all cities in the country in which, or rather over which, to fly, as its location made it subject to the most freakish and unexpected weather manifestations. He said that it was as dangerous and treacherous serially as its lake was to the mariner, and Lake Michigan’s character is admittedly the famous sky rider. It is doubtful if there is any city on the continent which can show a greater activity and a wider growth of interest in aviation than Chicago. It is the outcropping in a new field of the same old celebrated “Chicago spirit” which thrives, as it does under no other conditioned, when encountering opposition and obstacle.
Flying machines seemed to issue from everywhere to greet the reporter’s vision on his rounds—from basements, garrets, and back rooms, and from sheds, tent coverings, secluded yards, and barn lofts—like dragons of old emerged from the caverns—and like them, too, in average appearance flapping great white or brown wings and seeming to yawn fire breaths of yearning for cloudland affrays. Monoplanes, biplanes, triplanes, multiplanes, double or tandem monoplanes, helicopters,—of a hundred variations—such were the unearthed, and invariably their designers—some “secret” experimenters, others not so squeamish—had knowledge, and vouchsafed it, after becoming assured that “his” discoveries were not threatened, of others similarly engaged, until one seemed to seemed to see through the maze of data accumulated a veritable flock of airships already dotting the virgin and unspecked sky.
If a canvass of Chicago’s most unprogressive classes of business men were to be made, it seems, according to the reporter’s experience, that a guilty finger must be pointed at the baker, the butcher, and the brewer. Few outside of these have not dabbled in the new science and are without a “wheelless” carriage of their own building. Indeed, there is no way to possess one but through individual construction, for the patents of the established flyers and the Curtiss and Wright monopoly of their own inventive product make that the only alternative. Among the walks of life represented in Chicago list of amateur aeroplane possessors are to be found:
A bandmaster of national reputation.
Two world famous automobile racers.
A former Madison Square Garden six day bicycle race champion.
A scenic artist.
A commercial artist.
Several electrical and mechanical engineers.
A proprietor of a chain of dyehouses.
Holder of the time record among the world’s balloon racers, and another well known balloonist.
A shoe clerk.
A college professor or two.
An inventor of novelties.
A once much-written-about man-kite experimenter.
A former roller skate manufacturer.
School boys and collegians.
Two advertising agents.
Two authors of scientific works.
A motor manufacturer.
A builder of balloons, kites, and other floating devices who calls himself an “aerial advertising expert.”
Two auto dealers.
A carpenter and a former world’s motorcycle champion.
Comedy Mingled With Tragedy.
The historical collapse of the “one hose shay” is no more ludicrous than the smashups of the primitive air crafts “launched” into space with fondest anticipation—and motor power, of course. Only in most cases the motors have not grasped the true significance of their new sphere of energy. They seem to be afraid of puncturing clouds and becoming wet. Were it not for their general unreliability as applied to aeroplanes, their weight, and their restricted power capacity, Saturday night excursions to Mars and Jupiter would be as popular as moonlight lake cruises, one would judge from hearing the aviator air his troubles.
But comedy is commingled with tragedy, as always. A chapter could be written on the mishaps and discouragements of Chicago’s aeroplane experimenters. No more poignant disappointments have fallen to the lot of any man of purpose than those which have left broken hearted the toiler in aviation who is actuated by an unshakable faith in the outcome of his researches which makes him blind to the jeopardy in which, through his complete absorption in his subject, he places fortune, family, and friends. Seized with the ardor and enthusiasm of a true scientist, all these become minor considerations in the pursuit of his one big object, a machine which shall open the vistas of cloudland to him and give him exhilaration of a triumph over the laws of gravitation and a power to decimate all the speed restrictions of earth bound moving things.
Blazing Trail a Costly Work.
Some have spent $4,500 (few less); others as much as $5,000 and $8,000 in blazing the trail of pioneer aviation, or, as skeptics would say, in pursuing the ignis fatuus of their ambition. Some have given up lucrative positions to build the machine which shall prove the ideal one; others, again are risking bank accounts of none too plethoric proportions. In many, many cases the idea that makes restive the staid and well paqid electrician, mechanician, and merchant, or the professional or tradesman of one calling or another, is looked on with disfavor by the family, as the all absorbing and all excluding researches of the scientists of all time have almost invariably been looked upon by the same kinship. In other cases the wife is the helpmeet and confidant of the husband inventor, shares his joys and mitigates the discouragements, and has the brain and the intelligent enthusiasm to make her really an idea counselor and aid in the undertaking.
With still others it is a matter of midnight occupation, after a day of labor in providing for self or a family of proportions usually not mean. Quite generally, it is evident, sacrifice of one kind or another is the keynote and the price of success which endures in aviation as in other vital researches.
Of the approximately one hundred aeroplanes which are being constructed in Chicago by aviation experimenters, almost half of which number the writer has personally inspected, most are completed and either undergoing more or less satisfactory fledgling flights, being coaxed into shape for their first aerial ventures or made the subject of a grooming process wherein features militating against their skyward progress are being eliminated or discrepancies in that direction overcome. Others have not passed the model stage and still others exist only in blue prints. Some are proving to be practical so far as standards set are concerned, others are barely plausible and yet others—oh, frightful majority—are radical violations of all underlying principles and impossible. Many of all the classes enumerated are copies of existing and proven types, with slight variations if the features where patents obtrude.
Work Covers Whole Field.
One of the most interesting illustrations of what theory and practice, compounded, are capable of bringing forth is the history of the aerostatic activities of Carl Bates, 104 Oak street, a mechanical engineer who, with the growth of interest in aviation, has developed into a “designer and constructor of flying machines.” Nor do his activities stop short of the skeleton work and covering of the machines, for he has built a motor for the especial use of aeroplanes and more powerful, he believes. than any motor in the world in proportion to its weight.
Mr. Bates is now engaged in the construction of a monoplane which he promises will be a revelation to the world of aerial transportation.
Fate has woven an odd series of coincidences about the personalities of Mr. Bates and another, equally serious and hardly less successful. Even in their names is the coincidence evidenced, for Mr. Bates’ nip-and-tuck rival for aviation honors is B. L. Gates of 6020 Calumet avenue. Like Bates is, Gates a mechanical engineer; like Bates, Gates builds not only his own aeroplanes, but his own motors; but, more important, like Bates has, Gates flown the “first” aeroplane to soar over Illinois.
Only there is a difference, for while Bates has figures and photos duly disseminated through the press, Gates has only the rosiness of belief inspired in the exultation of his primal flights. However, technically, both may share first honors, if need be, for while Gates claims that his sky rover was the “first successful aeroplane built in Illinois,” Bates only lays claim to Chicago.
While on the subject of pioneers in the new “game,” mention must be made of William Paul Butasou, more widely known as simply William Paul. Mr. Butason is one of the oldest experimenters in the United States in all departments of aeronautics and claims to be the originator of the modern biplane in all its essential features. He has several patents on components of the aeroplane, which antedate those of Chanute, which is certainly a distinction. He lives at 6316 Cottage Grove avenue.
Latest Machine a Biplane.
Built on the lines of a sea gull, the largest machine on the Berwyn aviation field and at the same time the lightest for its size, is the “center-drop” biplane constructed by H. H. Dailey, of 6042 Langley avenue, once a dealer in automobiles, but now attending to the perfecting of his flyer to the exclusion of all other matters.
Youthful interest in kite flying on the part of J. E. Mair, 449 North Harding avenue, developed in the maturer years into aeroplane experimentations, with the result that Mr. Mair, who is an electrical engineer, has just completed his fourth biplane, which is receiving its tryout flights at the grounds of the Polyscope company, Western avenue and Irving Park boulevard.
Six Chicagoans of national and international reputation in matters where life is placed in forfeit are today active experimenters in aerial navigation, with machines incorporating their own deductions, tested in the crucible of much facing of death, either on their try-outs or in process of construction. These include a bicyclist, a motorcyclist, a balloonist, a man-kite expert and two auto drivers, all world famous.
There is Charles W. Miller, for instance, winner of the first six day bicycle race ever held in Madison Square Garden, and known for many subsequent achievements to the two-wheel fraternity. The “Flying Dutchman,” a cognomen which he has won, is now the possessor of a biplane of the Voison type, a machine spick and span and of most graceful outlines, which has attracted much admiration in its periods of exhibition through the middle west. It is now among the Berwyn flock, The Voisin is the flyer made by Farman.
Miller lives at 223 East Superior street but spends most of his time at the aviation camp putting his machine in shape for the hoped for flights.
James L. Case, 3120 Ninety-second street, one of the best known balloonists in the United States, who says he has flown in every city in the country of any size and lots of them of no size, is the latest initiate in the new order of flyers.
Mr. Case has begun the construction of a biplane following the general lines of the Curtiss machine at the Berwyn aero ground. He says he has evolved a new equalizing principle which will do much in sustaining the flyer in weather conditions of all descriptions.
Racing Champions in the Game.
Associated with Mr. Case in his aerial enterprise is A. A. Monsen, an automobile driver and owner of the Monsen garage, 938 North Clark street. Monsen’s latest motorway achievement was the carrying off of one of the trophies at the recent Elgin road races. His flyer will be similar to the one being constructed by Mr. Chase. He expects to have it completed in a month.
Another racing champion whose interest and energy have become centered on aviation is Ray Harroun, whose workshop is at 31 Canal street. Fairly enthused with a desire for sky light, the racing star has constructed a biplane with as forty horse power motor, this also of his designing. Indeed, Mr. Harroun is no novice at the game. In 1909 he exhibited a biplane with one of his eight horse power motors at an aero show in New York City. Harroun is a practical mechanic and works in collaboration with Carl Bates.
A fourth champion in the galaxy of aero “bugs” is St. Crois Johnstone, once world’s premier motorcyclist and at present, outside of his aviation activities, an ad writer, with offices at 904 Masonic temple.
Finally there is William Avery, 59 Walton place, remembered for his feats in flying the Chanute man-kite at the St. Louis exposition. In the twenty odd flights which very made he demonstrated clearly the correctness of Chanute’s principles of aeroplane construction.
Avery is constructing for a Chicago syndicate of business men what is termed a “warped wing” biplane, the framework following the natural lines of birds’ wings.
Daring having doffed his its cap to science, it is but natural the imagination of art should be awakened, and four emissaries of that province have come forward in Chicago to pay tribute to the latest epoch of progress. These are a bandmaster of national reputation, s sculptor, a scenic artist, and a commercial photographer.
Thomas Preston Brooks, between the periods when he holds the baton, is devoting his time to a monoplane he is constructing on a south side lot sheltered by high board walls. He says it is a French type.
Helicopter a Unique Machine.
J. F. Scott of 2201 Adams street, a scenic artist, is building a helicopter which, he can console himself if it should fail to fly, can surely win a prize for being a most fantastic creation in appearance. However, Mr. Scott claims that he has succeeded in making a model of the craft do all sorts of aerial stunts.
Sculpture is represented in the new sport and science buy H. Berntsen, whose workshop and studio is at 2149 North Halsted street. He is building a tandem monoplane which is to incorporate a new idea in automatic balancing.
Similar to the Scott helicopter is the designed by Vincent A. Lamar, a printer, living at 1392 Park avenue. It also has sixteen unbrella shaped planes, one set of which is raised while the other is lowered in sustaining the machine. This motor-helicopter also starts on wheels like a biplane.
The most dainty serial creation on the Berwyn field is that of Charles F. Lewiston, 257 West Clark street, a photographer. It is a biplane of repainted frame work and a double covering of muslin filled with paraffin, and weights without motor, 145 pounds. It is to receive a light motor, something like twelve horse power, and then, adding a passenger, will weigh less than 400 pounds. It looks light enough to fly almost by auto suggestion—it is so airy and graceful, in fact, that it has been facetiously dubbed “Lady Killer.”
D. B. Hartley of 1142 West Madison street, “patentee and manufacturer of aeroplanes,” otherwise an inventor of “almost anything under the sun,” as he says, bases his faith in a monoplane of his designing which differs from the general style of that species of mechanical birds.
Mr. Hartley, who is 60 years old, is well to do, having made money through his inventions, which run the gamut of revolving bureaus, combination tools, and automobile appliances to the flying machine, which is now occupying his sole attention. He says that he has spent $5,000 in aerial experimenting.
Odd Arrangement for Steering.
A real departure in its principle of propulsion among air craft is the invention of Theodore Kornbrodt, owner of a chain of dye houses, with headquarters at 1424 West Chicago avenue. Mr. Kornbrodt has built in miniature size a combination aeroplane and dirigible, with a semi-oval balloon, motor driven, and, most unusual of all, a suction arrangement in steering which is unique in aeronautics. In palce of the conventional rudder it is equipped with a movable rear section of pipe, the main section of which extends the length of the craft. Suction wheels at each end of the main tube force the air backward through the tube, the force of air expulsion forcing the nose of the craft into the air when the movable section of the tube is raised, lowering it when it is pointed downward, and providing for its lateral progress on the same principle.
The famous Montgomery glider, whose achievements in balancing form an interesting chapter in aerostatic history, is being modified in Chicago by experts under the direction of James E. Plew so as to make it adaptable to motor propulsion. The machine has been equipped with a twenty-five horse power Curtiss motor, with front propeller, and is soon to have its initial tryout as a motor driven air vehicle. Mr. Plew, who believes he has a “world beater” in the revamped tandem monoplane, which will be its future class, is a close friend of the inventor, a professor of Santa Clara college, California, and brings to the work he has undertaken the practical experience which which has come to him as the owner for many years of the garage at 240 Michigan avenue. He is, besides, president of the Aero club of Chicago.
Another of the Tandem Type.
Another monoplane of the tandem type is that constructed by Edward Bjork, a building contractor residing at 934 Fletcher street. His machine is forty feet in length by twenty in width. He constructed it in a shed at Evanston avenue and Byron place.
M. K. Kasmar, formerly a manufacturer of roller skates and now, as secretary of the Aeronautical society of Chicago, thoroughly engrossed in aviation subjects, is building two aeroplanes, one of a collapsible type for uses of quick transportation. He also has constructed a motor for use on aeroplanes. Secretary Kasmar’s fame as an authority on aviation is nation wide. He is author of the first text book on the new flying science to be written in America.
Then there is Fred W. Krech, 1343 Waveland avenue, a salesman of shoes in a big downtown department store, who is constructing a novel triplane, a model of which he has floated successfully.
George H. Benedict, an electrotyper of 875 Warren avenue, who last year successfully floated a motor driven triplane loaded with ballast at a local amusement park, is continuing his experiments and soon intends to “go up;” Les Wilms, advertising agent of 2142 Dayton street, has built a hand lever compelled multiplane and now is experimenting with a motor flyer; C. L. D. Davidson of Taplow who threatens to out-Zeppelin Zeppelin wit a two wing, hundred bladed “gyropter,” evolved after twenty-six years of aeronautic research; F. Gottwald, 3262 Lake avenue, who gave up a lucrative position as machinist a year ago to build a machine which he claims does away altogether with propellers—and so the list might be continued.
Game Attracts Many Others.
Mention should not be omitted, however, of Horace B. Wild, chief electrician of White City amusement park, whose flights in the first Chicago built dirigible, the Eagle, not so long ago attracted wide attention and now have led the former aeronaut to turn to aviation. He has purchased a flying machine from an Omaha inventor which he is improving to meet demands in excess of those imposed on “curiosities.”
Also mention should be made of the good work done for the advancement of aviation by “Jimmy” Warde, a young Chicagoan, once chief mechanic with Aviator Mars and Ely, who has reconstructed an old Curtiss-Herring biplane. Warde, on a recent flight, waved his cap in exultation as the machine rose form the soil, a sign surely of the proper enthusiasm of a scientist and of the certain fearlessness of an aviator.
To show what magnitude the new “game” has assumed it should also be mentioned that inventors of “aeroplane appliances” have sprung into existence. For instance, there is J. W. Fuhrmann, a decorator, 932 Greenwood terrace, who, besides experimenting with a biplane, is lending his hand toward the alleviation of the problems of midair motoring in a more general way. He has designed a combined steerer and balancer on one lever which tilts the flyer in which it is attached on a longitudinal axis as well as on a transverse axis. He terms it a double action horizontal rudder, and it is designed to give instantaneous control of a flying machine under all conditions, be it a high wind or a failing of motor power. M. K. Kasmar also has built a contrivance of similar nature. He calls it a self-righting automatic balancer.