Sunday, August 28, 2016

A Story of How Man Is
Conquering the Air
and of the Toll the
Is Exacting.

Copyright, 1915, by The International Syndicate.

            FROM time immemorial man has desired to fly. Even in the Psalms we find David saying, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove, for then I would fly away and be at rest!”
            [This newspaper article, published in 1915, begins with Icarius, who according to Roman mythology, attempted to fly with wings attached to his body by wax. The article includes J. B. Dante, a mathematician flew over a lake with artificial wings, but fell an broke his leg when he attempted to fly over Notre Dame in Paris. A Scotchman, Damian, attempted to fly from Scotland to France using wings made of bird feathers, but made one leap and fell, breaking both legs. He claimed he failed because he did not use eagle feathers. Many others named in the article tried and failed.
            Gliders were once thought to be the answer to human flight. These were tried in Germany, England, France and the United States. But the glider was not totally satisfactory, either. It was not until gasoline engines were available that real flight was possible. This article relates the story of aviation, not only from early times, but also from the flight of the Wright brothers at Kitty Hawk, Dare County, NC to the amazing advances that had taken place by early 1915. Aviation has progressed by over 100 years since this article was publlished, but the earliest stories of aviation are still amazing.]
Wright brothers third test glider at Kill Devil's Hill, Dare County, NC in 1902.
Wilbur Wright is the pilot, Orville Wright at left, and local resident Dan Tate at right.
Found at Wikimedia Commons:
After Gliders.
            This type (gliders) was soon followed by the aeroplane, and in 1903 the Wright brothers first used a petrol engine and astonished the world by their flights. Their tests were conducted with the greatest secrecy. While these experiments were going on Monsieur Voisen constructed a number of kites, and after testing their qualities as fliers he built an aeroplane along the same lines. (The Voisen brothers were early developers of airplanes in France.) This type afterward became very popular, both Farman (an Anglo-French aviator who set records in the Voisen planes) and Delgrange (a pioneering French aviator and sculptor) piloting them. In 1909 Robert Esnault-Pelterie, who was already known as the inventor of the R.E.P. motor (a seven cylinder radial engine) which appeared in 1904, built a curious looking machine which for a time created a sensation. Then came the famous Curtiss-Herring “June Bug” which did some remarkable flying at the Rheims aviation meet—the first one ever held. This was in 1909, and gave a special impetus to the heavier than air machine.

Wright Flyer in which the Wright brothers made the first powered flights on
December 17, 1903.
Wright Brothers Museum website:

            Aviation schools were started in various parts of the world and aeroplaning soon became known as a sport. (Samuel Pierpont) Langly, (Samuel Franklin) Cody [of wild west show fame], (Louis Charles Joseph) Bleriot, (Arthur Charles Hubert) Latham, (Glenn Hammond) Curtiss and (John Bevins) Moisant at once became famous, the last three named having made flights across the English Channel.
            Three years ago an American woman, Miss Harriet Quimby [first American woman to become a licensed pilot], accomplished the same feat flying in a monoplane. Miss Quimby was killed near Boston a year later by falling one thousand feet.
Unique Damage Suits.
            Soon aeroplanes became so common in France that the farmers of that country began to consider them a nuisance and several entered suit for damages, claiming that their crops had been destroyed by the machines alighting on their land. Then, too, they claimed that colts had been ruined by being frightened by the noise of the motor, that the animals are never able to overcome the fright and cannot be used for driving horses. Chickens and ducks they declared died from fright when the big machines “swooped” down over the barnyards. Some of the French farmers contend that property in soil carries with it property of the air above it and the earth beneath. These cases are still pending in the French Courts.
            During the last two years great progress has been made in aviation, and at present nearly 3,000 persons hold Aviator’s Licenses. France has the greatest number, Great Britain is second, Germany third and the United States fourth. In fancy flying France leads, for the average French aviator seems to be able to do almost anything, including looping-the-loop and flying upside down. This was accomplished first by Adolph Pegond, and later our own Lincoln Beachy did the same thing while flying in California.
Curious Accidents.
            Flying over cities was the next achievement in aeroplaning, and in one or two places this has led to curious accidents such as that which happened to Monsieur Gilbert, a French aviator, who while flying over the suburbs of Paris was compelled to drop on the roof of a factory to avoid falling into a crowded street. This was caused by his miscalculating the distance. Another curious accident which also happened in France was that which occurred during a race at Buc where the machine piloted by (Andre) Bidot, who was carrying a passenger, dropped upon another aeroplane. Both the machines took fire; the pilot of one together with his passenger was burned to death. Several times two machines have collided in the air and last year near Vienna during a mimic battle in the clouds an aeroplane collided with a dirigible balloon. This accident is said to have been caused by the pilot of the aeroplane misjudging the height at which the dirigible was flying.
            During the past year one hundred and fifty-two people have been killed in aviation accidents. This does not include those killed in war. They have been such causes as loss of control of the machine, broken planes, explosions, wind gusts, violent landings, hitting trees, machine turning turtle, collisions, air pockets, motor trouble, etc. One man, Doctor O’Ringe, died of heart failure while in the air flying over the aviation field at Johannisthal, Germany.
            One of the most remarkable air accidents occurred at Annapolis, Maryland, in 1913, when Ensign W. D. Billingsley was killed by falling from a hydroaeroplane which was flying at the height of sixteen hundred feet. He was carrying Lieutenant John Towers as a passenger. When Billingsley fell he jammed the steering gear and rendered the machine useless and the machine fell with Lieutenant Towers clinging to one of the uprights. After falling six or seven hundred feet the machine twisted and in so doing formed a sort of parachute and dropped at a slower speed. Lieutenant Towers was in the hospital for three months as a result of the accident. He is the only man alive today who has fallen sixteen hundred feet.
            It will be remembered that during the aviation meet held in Baltimore a few years ago an aeroplane driven by Arch Hoxey fell five hundred feet landing in a cabbage patch a mile of more from the grounds. When the man who was working in the field reached him he found Hoxsey standing in a dazed fashion beside his wrecked machine complaining that he had “lost his glasses.” Hoxsey was afterwards killed at an aviation meet in California.

Hoxsey took Theodore Roosevelt for his first plane ride in 1910.
From the UPI website:

Fate Plays Strange Pranks.
            Fate has played strange pranks with aviators. For instance, John Moisant, who flew across the English Channel, carried a passenger over Paris and did a lot of remarkable stunts, was killed in New Orleans when his machine dropped less than fifty feet. The same thing occurred to (Jorge) Chavez, the man who made such a great flight over the Alps and in the end died when the aeroplane fell fifteen feet. [Chavez completed the flight over the Alps, but crashed during the landing.] Colonel F. S. Cody, England’s greatest military aviator, who is said to have been one of the greatest mechanicians as well, went to his death by the collapse of a plane which he had pronounced perfect just before the flight. Fancy flying, too, has caused a number of deaths, among them Eugene Ely, who was the first man to fly from the deck of a battleship. This he accomplished successfully, but later while giving an exhibition at a county fair he attempted a “spiral glide” of the Beachey type and was killed.
Jorge Chavez, the first to fly across the Alps, beside his Farman plane.
 Found at The Early Brids of Aviation:

            The newest flier is of the self-righting type—a machine which won the Bonnet prize in France. It was driven by Morceau who flew for thirty minutes without touching his planes. During his flight the wind was blowing almost a gale and the aeroplane was tossed about but it always returned to an even keel. Lieutenant Dunne also gave an exhibition with a self-righting machine of his own invention. Recently a self-righting machine has been built in the United States but as yet its flying qualities have had no fair test.
The Aeroplane In The European War.
            When the European war began the aviators of each of the warring nations at once volunteered, fancy flying was laid aside, and a regular mobilization of aviators took place in each country. Exhibition machines were turned into military fliers over night and long before the armies were ready for the field the aviators were scouting about watching the preparations of the enemy, and before the war was a fortnight old we began to read of spectacular encounters in the air between the aeroplanes of the different nations.
Very soon these fliers became the real eyes of the armies and navies, and their scout work has surprised even the most enthusiastic believer in the use of the aeroplane in war.
            Bomb dropping and being brought down and killed has become so common that almost every day we read of military aviators being brought down by the enemy. In air battles it is no uncommon thing for both aviators to meet death.
            As the carrying power of aeroplanes is limited, all sorts of death dealing vehicles have been invented; among them what is known as the steel arrow—a tiny missile about six inches in length, rounded at one end and brought to a needle point. The other end is deeply grooved for about four inches, which gives the top the shape of a four leafed clover. The finished arrow weights about six ounces. Shortly after the war began a test was made and one of these arrows dropped from the height of fifteen hundred feet killed a horse, the arrow going entirely through the body of the animal. One thousand of these arrows are placed in a box fitted with bottoms which open with a spring release. The box is placed between the struts of the aeroplane and the aviator can drop as many as he pleases by the mere pushing of a button.

News and Observer (Raleigh, NC) 14 Apr 1915

Saturday, August 13, 2016

[Fayetteville Weekly Observer (Fayetteville, NC) 1 Jan 1850]


A FINE lot of Buggy and Wagon Collars and
 for sale by J. J. MINETREE.                          
   Louisburg, Sept. 27th, 1854.                   

[Weekly News (Louisburg, NC) 10 Feb 1855]

Sunday, August 7, 2016


            I am now running a daily mail from Scotland Neck to Halifax. I have a comfortable two horse hack, which leaves Scotland Neck every morning for Halifax and returns the same day. Will take passengers and express packages at reasonable rates. I am also prepared to entertain travelers, promising to spare no pains to make them comfortable.


[The Roanoke News (Weldon, NC) 8 Jan 1880, Page 4]

This is an undated picture of a 2 horse vehicle. It may be similar to the one advertised by Mr. Shields.
Picture from Texas Transportation Museum  at