In 1917 the world was at war—even the United States had joined the fray. Aviation research had mostly been co-opted for military purposes as the airplane—still a relatively new invention—was continuously adapted to fill new roles in the desperate struggle. Yet civilian research and development continued as people looked ahead (longingly) to the end of the war. Some of these images on the art and science of aviation show current practice, some of them show "blue sky" thinking, but they're all from the Scientific American Archive of 1917.
This article was originally published with the title "Aviation in 1917: The State of the Industry and Science" in Scientific American 316, 3, (March 2017)