Melvin Vaniman (1866–1912) was an American aero inventor, registering patents in the US, Great Britain, and France, and "resident in France".
Vaniman was a world traveller who moved to Hawaii, then New Zealand, then Europe. While down under he developed techniques for photography from heights using poles and masts. In 1905 he moved to Paris and in 1906 worked on an unsuccessful airplane.
He worked on Walter Wellman's polar exploration vessel, the America. Its first mission was unsuccessful. Vaniman participated in the next mission, in 1909, and piloted the America under difficult conditions. Vaniman and Wellman attempted to cross the Atlantic in America, starting from Atlantic City on 15 October 1910 with six men and a cat. The engine malfunctioned and they didn't make it but they did set a distance record by traveling 1,0008 miles.
With sponsorship from Goodyear Vaniman tried another Atlantic crossing, in a blimp called Akron. After some dangerous happenings on the last trip he wanted a sturdier cloth, and Goodyear investigated rubber and silk combinations, etc., but none were perfected in time for use on the Akron. The airship set off from Atlantic City on 2 July 1912 with Melvin Vaniman, his brother Calvin, and a crew of three others, rising 2000 feet quickly then crashing into the ocean, killing everyone on board.Patents whose inventor or applicant is Melvin Vaniman
- Patent GB-1906-26764 (English title: Improvements in Aeroplanes)
- Patent FR-1906-360141 (English title: Aeroplane)
- Patent US-1908-884432 (English title: Aeroplane)
- Patent FR-1910-407782 (English title: Shelter-tent for airplanes)
- Patent FR-1910-407946 (English title: Semi-rigid envelope with with water proof compartments, for dirigibles)
- Patent US-1911-982647 (English title: Propelling mechanism for airships, Supplementary to patent: 1)
- Patent US-1912-1043376 (English title: Equilibrator)
- Patent US-1913-1057366 (English title: Shelter for housing dirigible balloons)
- Patent US-1913-1081792 (English title: Process of making balloons, Supplementary to patent: Patent US-1913-1081794)
- Patent US-1913-1081793 (English title: Apparatus for Building or Covering Balloons, Supplementary to patent: Patent US-1913-1081794)
- Patent US-1913-1081794 (English title: Balloon)
- Patent US-1914-1084831 (English title: Speed and Direction Indicator for Airships)
- Publication 290, 1908, L'Aéroplane Melvin Vaniman (Simple title: Melvin Vaniman's airplane, Journal: L'Aérophile)
- Publication 1047, 1908, Aviazione. Wright, H. Farman, Ferber, Blériot, Santos-Dumont, Goupy, Witzig-Liore-Dutilleul, Renato Gasnier, Hugues, militare inglese, Melvin Vaniman, Elicoplano Robyns (Simple title: Aviation. Wright, H. Farman, Ferber, Blériot, Santos-Dumont, Goupy, Witzig-Liore-Dutilleul, Renato Gasnier, Hugues, British military, Melvin Vaniman, Robyns helicopter, Journal: Boll. Soc. Aer. Ital.)
|Countries||US, NZ, ?|
|Tech areas||LTA, airplane, photography|
|Affiliations||Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company|
- Adam Rovner, "Melvin Vaniman: Forgotten Aviation Pioneer", American History, April 2006.