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Sure it does…

Flying-Machine-aI have always found it amusing to discover articles–particularly those with photos or illustrations [1]–on “flying machines [2]” from before the Wright brothers. In hindsight most of the contraptions are comical yet provide fun reading.

Here is one headed “A New Flying Machine That Flies” which appeared in “The Illustrated American” from New York, Sept. 9, 1898. It apparently was collapsible (to fit in garages?) and could be unfolded to look much like an overgrown bat with propellers. The article notes that: “…There are a large number of details that the inventor has kept strictly to himself…”, the biggest likely that it didn’t fly.

But the article closes with a very prophetic note: “…it has a Flying-Machine-bmilitary side. It is impossible to imagine without terror the day when these mechanical birds, these flying apparitions, will be able to rain upon armies, hostile towns & escalating parties most deadly and most destructive explosives…”.

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1 Comment To "Sure it does…"

#1 Comment By Paul Sarna On 12/10/2009 @ 9:32 pm

All kidding aside. If you look at that bottom picture and take away the propellers, it almost looks like a stealth fighter.

Scientfic American had some fabulous covers on silly-looking flying machines with some nice ones AFTER December, 1903.