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Entries in airship (4)


Dr. Smith's Flying Machine (1896)

The September 1, 1896 San Francisco Call (San Francisco, CA) ran this image of inventor Dr. C. A. Smith's flying machine. Apparently Smith had a model of his airship propped up on two stools in a shop on Market Street in San Francisco. The functional version of the machine was to be 105 feet in length and have a capacity of nearly 90,000 cubic feet of hydrogen.

It looks just like the business end of a rocket. It has a conical point, a round body and at the rear end a brass fan whirrs lustily every time a live wire is hitched on to the electric motor in the interior of the concern. Two wings, like those of a beetle, rise and fall from the top of the cylinder, and a few small windows and three rudders make up the latest of flying machines. [continue reading here]


Previously on Paleo-Future:



London to New York in 2 Days! (1919)

This September 21, 1919 piece in the Nevada State Journal (Reno, NV) was titled "Giant Air Cruisers To Link Cities of World, Predicts British Expert." The most interesting part of the article is by far the "Aerial Time Table." Just 7 days from London to Perth? Amazing!

The Daily Chronicle, which indulges in a bit of fanciful prophecy, publishes this airship table:

From London to:

  • New York: 2 to 2.5 days
  • San Francisco: 4.5 days
  • Cairo: 1.5 days
  • Perth, Australia: 7 days
  • Cape Town: 5.5 days
  • Rio de Janeiro: 4 days

"Airships would have saloons rivaling those of great steamships for comfort," says the Chronicle. "As lightness is essential, practically everything would be made of aluminum alloy, as strong as steel and one-third the weight."


September 21, 1919 Nevada State Journal

Previously on Paleo-Future:


Big Laughs Coming (1922)

The May 31, 1922 Modesto Evening News (Modesto, California) ran an article titled, "Big Laughs Coming," about how future generations may look at the styles, technology and work life of 1922.

The writer of this piece clearly romanticizes the notion of rural life by proclaiming, "We, voluntarily imprisoned in cramped apartments or small house, will seem queer to our descendants. Daily we go to work in our prison cells, to pound typewriter keys, push a pen or perform monotonous operations with machinery - when we might all be free in the outdoors of farmland." The entire article appears below.

In cleaning house this spring, maybe you ran across the old family album. If so, you had a laugh at the peculiar clothing styles and solemn expressions on the faces of former generations.

Did it ever occur to you, that our photographs are also going to get "the merry ha-ha" when future generations discover them in some obscure nook of the airship-houses that will be in use 75 or 100 years from now?

The marvels of today will be laughably old-fashioned later on. It is hard for us to believe this. That has always been the way. Vanity being eternal, each generation - while laughing at the past - is cock-sure that the present is "the real thing."

Have you read Mark Twain's satire, "A Connecticut Yankee at King Arthur's Court?" Its film version makes movie audiences roar at the ludicrous effect of a modern American transported back into time 1400 years, unhorsing armored knights with a lasso and knocking them down like nine-pins with a flivver.

The stately dignity of the ancients is farcical, from the 1922 viewpoint.

At lumber mills, teams used to haul boards to boxcars, where they were leisurely transferred by roustabouts.

At a modern mill, the lumber is carried out to the boxcars on a long conveyor belt, a sort of endless moving platform. The lumber comes in a steady stream. An efficiency expert has calculated how fast the loader at the car should work, and the belt is geared accordingly. The loader works at a set speed or gets buried under oncoming boards.

We regard this arrangement solemnly. But, having all the elements of humor, it will make future generations haw-haw.

In the future, automatic machinery and inventions will free men from industrial slavery. Cheap, fast-flying airplanes will enable all to live in the country. Cities, at night, will be deserted groups of factory buildings.

We, voluntarily imprisoned in cramped apartments or small house, will seem queer to our descendants. Daily we go to work in our prison cells, to pound typewriter keys, push a pen or perform monotonous operations with machinery - when we might all be free in the outdoors of farmland.

Will the future consider us laughable, pathetic or crazy?

It's a good thing the average person's sense of humor is not highly developed. Otherwise, we might either revolt against the stupidity of civilization - or laugh ourselves to death at our dignified solemnity.

See also:
Anachronisms of the Future (1911)
The Air Ship: A Musical Farce Comedy (1898)
Sees World Better or Worse (1923)


The Air Ship: A Musical Farce Comedy (1898)

The 1960's TV show The Jetsons taught an entire generation what to expect of the future. Using comedy to create fanciful expectations of the future is not an idea exclusive to the twentieth century. The posters above advertise The Air Ship: A Musical Farce Comedy from 1898.

Below is an article which appeared in the January 18, 1899 Fort Wayne News (Fort Wayne, Indiana) along with illustrations from a January 16, 1899 Fort Wayne Gazette article.

"The Air Ship," a new and original spectacular musical farce comedy, written by J.M. Gaites, possesses some novel and realistic scenic features, and it will probably draw a big audience at the Masonic Temple ton-night. One of the most realistic stage scenes ever presented will be the flight of a real air ship with fifteen passengers on a Klondike expedition, and a view of Dawson City in winter. While the author does not claim a plot, "The Air Ship" has a central idea or theme, with which it is infested by amusing dialogue, new songs, dances and specialties. Careful attention will be given to staging "The Air Ship," and the company of artists engaged will give a lively presentation of the farce. The principal members are Marie Stuart, the clever vaudeville artiste; Lattie Burke, Marlaud Tyson, Raymond Finley, Ben Welsh, James T. Kelly, Max Millian and Shields, and Nana Bancom. The management of the company announce that the scenic features and the performance of the piece will be both new, novel and worthy of cordial support.

There are many places online to buy posters like those shown below but I would recommend downloading the Library of Congress files here and here and bringing them to your favorite photo-printing establishment that can handle poster-sized prints.

See also:
Going to the Opera in the Year 2000 (1882)
Futuristic Air Travel (circa 1900)
Postcards Show the Year 2000 (circa 1900)
What May Happen in the Next Hundred Years (Ladies Home Journal, 1900)