Aviation in 1913: Images from Scientific American's Archives [Slide Show]

A look at the state of flight in 1913 from the archives of Scientific American
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This advertisement for Fatima cigarettes appeared in our pages when we still advertised smoking tobacco (we don’t now). This image sets the scene with the latest in technology and fashion. The elegantly dressed aviator--with a leather safety helmet--is standing at ease in front of (I believe) a Blériot monoplane.....[ More ]


Orville Wright, continuing in the flying business after his brother Wilbur’s untimely death from typhoid fever, designed this early seaplane with the help of Grover C. Loening. Early Wright models had the engine and propeller in a “pusher configuration,” a design that many considered obsolete by 1913.....[ More ]


The owner of the New York Herald, James Gordon Bennett, Jr., sponsored several very important international airplane races. The one for 1913 was held in Rheims, France. Our image shows the winner, Maurice Prevost, flying his Deperdussin Monoplane around one of the large pylons marking the course.....[ More ]


Before World War 1, which broke out in Europe in July 1914, aircraft of all kinds were being designed for military use. One example was the “semi-rigid” Zeppelin V1. The parts, such as the keel sections and deflated gas bag, could be transported by wagon if needed.....[ More ]


The Morane-Saulnier War Airplane was designed for French military use. It had a round steel body and was driven by a fourteen-cylinder 100-horsepower motor made by Gnome of France. This particular motor was difficult to maintain and was underpowered compared with its competitors.....[ More ]


Ignaz “Igo” Etrich of Bohemia designed an aircraft with a distinctive bird-like look. The Taube (“Dove” or “Pigeon”) was taken by German aircraft manufacture Rumpler for use during the early part of World War 1, which broke out in July 1914.....[ More ]


Ignaz “Igo” Etrich of Bohemia (now part of the Czech Republic) named this airplane the “Swallow” after the swift-flying bird. The airplane was considered a success at the time, even though in flight “the machine oscillates rather rapidly” (it must have been a very bumpy ride).....[ More ]


The Russky Vityaz (Russian Knight) was the world’s first four-engine aircraft. It was designed and built by Igor Sikorsky, then working in the Russian Empire. It is hard to imagine this airplane, which looks like a flying ticket-booth, gliding through the air, but the airplane only flew at 56 miles per hour.....[ More ]


Ignaz “Igo” Etrich of Bohemia (then part of the Austrian Empire), designed and built the world’s first enclosed passenger airplane. It carried one pilot and three passengers. The forward section was covered by aluminum skin and had celluloid windows for the comfort of the passengers.....[ More ]


Adolphe Pégoud of France was an aviation pioneer who flew Blériot monoplanes as a test pilot. He became famous for his aerial acrobatics but his stunts had a purpose: to find the limits of aviation safety.....[ More ]

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