Bell, 1907, Aërial Locomotion

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Alexander Graham Bell. Aërial Locomotion: with a few notes of progress in the construction of an aërodrome. Washington, D.C.: Press of Judd & Detweiler, Inc., 1907.

Scan at HathiTrust.

Pamphlet republishing an article of the same title from the National Geographic Magazine, January 1907. (Bell was former president of the National Geographic Society.)

Hails the new popularity of aviation as a return to the true science of flight, from which the balloon was a distraction. Reviews Otto Lilienthal, Octave Chanute, Samuel Pierpont Langley.

Wright Brothers: "Their machine has flown not once simply, but many times, and in the presence of witnesses; so that there can be no doubt that the first successful flying-machine has at last appeared."

Bell describes his own work on kites and mentions some publications:

  • "Kites with Radial Wings", communicated to the National Academy of Sciences on April 1899 and reviewed in the April 1899 Monthly Weather Review with illustrations
  • "The Tetrahedral Principle in Kite Structure" to the National Academy, 23 April 1903; published in National Geographic Magazine, June 1903.

He continues to extol the virtues of the tetrahedral kite (uni- or multi-cellular). he comments: "But there is always an element of instability in a horizontal aëroplane, especially if it is of large size, whereas kites composed exclusively of winged cells are wonderfully steady in the air under varying conditions, though deficient in lifting power; and the kites composed of the largest number of winged cells seem to be the most stable in the air."

He reviews some other kites including Hargrave's.

Specifics on the Frost King; experiments conducted in December 1905, and further work:

Since December, 1905, my attention has been directed to other points necessary to be considered before an aërodrome of the kite variety can be made, and to the assembling of the materials for its manufacture.
I have had to improve and simplify the method of making the winged cells themselves. Through the agency of Mr Hector P. McNeil, superintendent of the Volta laboratory, Washington, D.C., who is now taking up the manufacture of tetrahedral cells as a new business, I am now able to obtain cells constructed largely by machinery, and with stamped metal corners to hold the rods together.


Huge bibliography by/with Cyrus Adler of the Smithsonian, concluding with a list of aero-related articles published by the Smithsonian. (Presumably all considered by Brockett.)

Many pictures of fantastic kites of different origins, as well as some of the most important airships of the time.

Other versions of same?

Original title Aërial locomotion, with a few notes of progress in the construction of an aërodrome, by Alexander Graham Bell. 'An address read before the Washington Academy of Sciences, December 13, 1906. Partial bibliography relating to aerial locomotion, prepared through the courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution, by Dr. Cyrus Adler
Simple title Aërial locomotion, progress in the construction of an aërodrome
Authors Alexander Graham Bell, Cyrus Adler
Date 1907
Countries US
Languages en
Keywords bibliography, aerial locomotion, aerodrome, Academy of Sciences, Smithsonian Institution, Cyrus Adler, kite, Frost King, aerodynamics, Lawrence Hargrave, Wright Brothers, Octave Chanute, propulsion, propeller, marine, Hector P. McNeil, Volta laboratory, tetrahedral cells, tetrahedral kite
Journal National Geographic Magazine
Related to aircraft?
Page count
Word count

Sources

  • Brockett 1910 entry: Bell, Alexander Graham. Aërial locomotion, with a few notes of progress in the construc- tion of an aërodrome, by Alexander Graham Bell. 'An address read be- fore the Washington Academy of Sciences, December 13, 1906. Partial bibliography relating to aerial locomotion, prepared through the courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution, by Dr. Cyrus Adler': pp. 28, 32-34. Washington, D. C., Press of Judd & Detweiler, Inc., 1907. Cover-title, p. 34, ills. Reprinted from tbe National Geographic Magazine, Jan. 1907. LG (1546
  • Scan at HT