The advent of the flying machine

Posted by David Middlecamp on September 9, 2013 

Too good to be true? Inventor Sir Hiram Maxim endorses air flight in Nov. 7, 1907 San Luis Obispo Telegram.

SAN LUIS OBISPO TELEGRAM

An aeroplane without cumbrous gas bags? Gadzooks, man, that's crazy talk.

Sir Hiram Maxim (1840-1916) was an American-born inventor who became a naturalized British subject. He invented the first portable, fully automatic machine gun and automatic fire sprinkler. He tangled in court with Thomas Edison over the invention of the incandescent light bulb.

The Wright brothers had made their first free, controlled and sustained flights on Dec. 17, 1903, but the world would be skeptical for years. There had been so much hucksterism associated with flight that most people were waiting to see it to believe it.

This undated and unattributed story ran in the Nov. 7, 1907, San Luis Obispo Telegram:

True Flying Machines Are Now Possible. By Sir Hiram Maxim, Inventor.

The advent of the EXTREMELY LIGHT, POWERFUL MOTOR which is now available, thanks to the development of the racing automobile, has made it possible to make FLYING MACHINES THAT DON'T HAVE LARGE CUMBROUS GAS BAGS. Without the gas bag there's nothing to prevent enormously high speeds. In fact, high speeds are inseparable from this type of machine.

The greater the speed the greater the SUSTAINING POWER of the aeroplanes. In some recent experiments I made at high velocities I found that a well made aeroplane will lift a great deal more than any one heretofore supposed.

SO I AM OF THE OPINION THAT VERITABLE FLYING MACHINES, HEAVIER THAN AIR, THAT FLY LIKE A BIRD, WITH DYNAMIC ENERGY ONLY, ARE NOW POSSIBLE. THEY'RE WANTED, AND WHAT'S WANTED IS SURE TO COME.

Therefore I think we should look upon the present navigable balloon simply as a STOP GAP. Certainly navigable balloons have done much to turn thinking men in the direction of flying machines.

When the flying machine does come, then we'll have some NEW AND INTERESTING PROBLEMS presented.

Like how big a bag can my carry-on be?

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