The collection consists of correspondence and scrapbooks. The correspondence is arranged into 15 sub-series: Aerial Experiment Association, Aero Club of America, Aero Club of Washington, Aeronautic Society of New York, Aeronautical Annuals, Octave Chanute and his daughters, Glenn Curtiss, House Resolution #7653, Ernest Jones, Otto Lilienthal, Henry Cabot Lodge, Hiram Maxim, Technical Matters, U.S. Signal Corps, and Albert Zahm. Of the three scrapbooks, one is a photograph album containing early glider photos and travel postcards. The second contains photos and news clippings regarding aviation in the 1890's, especially the work of Langley and Maxim with kites, balloons, and aerial bicycles. Clippings are in English, French, Spanish, Italian, German and Dutch. The third scrapbook is labeled 'James Means 1892' and consists of photos, letters, manuscripts, clippings in English and German, copies of legislation, and book excerpts.
Note: The digital images shown for this collection were repurposed from scans made by an outside contractor for a commercial product which did not reproduce all materials found in this collection; some items have not been scanned.
Biographical / Historical:
James Means (1855-1920) was an American industrialist who sacrificed his business to devote himself to the promotion of aviation. Determined to disseminate information on flying, he collected and edited the most significant works of Otto Lilienthal, Octave Chanute, Samuel Langley and others, producing the 'Aeronautical Annuals' which appeared in 3 volumes in 1895, 1896 and 1897. Dr. Means studied bird-flight, kites and gliders, and designed model gliders in the early 1890s. He was awarded patents for his aircraft smoke signal device (1909), his aircraft launcher (1909), and his simplified control column for airplanes (1909-1911).
James H. Means, gift, unknown, XXXX-0394, unknown
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This collection contains photographs and blueprints of the Powers (W. C.) Helicopter (1862).
Scope and Contents:
This collection contains 7 black and white photographs of Powers (W. C.) Helicopter (1862) model and blueprints, as well as the original blueprints.
William C. Powers was an architectural engineer-mechanic in Mobile, AL during the Civil War. Between 1862 and 1863 he designed and built experimental plans and a model of a helicopter intended to provide the Confederate defenders of Mobile with a means for aerial bombing of the Federal blockading fleet. A family dispute apparently arose over the fear that the North would capture the ship and use it to destroy the South, and the plans were set aside until 1940.
Clara McDermott and William V. McDermott, Gift, 1940, XXXX-0562
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