Strange Ships That Sail In The Skies (1897)
The May 9, 1897 St. Paul Globe (St. Paul, MN) ran an interesting article titled, "Strange Ships That Sail In The Skies." The article describes proposed flying vessels of the future, as well as newspapers around the United States that had were printing questionable accounts of flying machines already in use. Many of the illustrations from the article are similar to the flying machines we looked at from 1885.
I had no idea that so many newspapers reported -- with questionable intentions -- flying vessels throughout the country. If that's true, I imagine someone has written a book on this late-19th century phenomenon, no?
Mechanical Birds: Dreams of Flight in 19th Century Journalism. See? I already came up with a title for you. Go write the book. Yes, I'm looking at you. Just write it. I promise to buy a copy. But if you really want your non-fiction book to sell, make sure to put "...The Blankity Blank That Changed America Forever" in your subtitle. You'll thank me later. When you're rolling around in piles of money. Cuz that's a million dollar idea.
You can read, "Strange Ships That Sail In The Skies," in its entirety here.
This is the age of the airship. The evolution of the balloon to the flying machine is nearly complete, and it is not improbably that within a few years great aerial vessels for passenger service and monster engines of war and commerce will be seen sailing through space.
Recently the newspapers of the whole country have been exploiting stories of airships seen hovering over various towns and country places in districts very far apart. The testimony seems impeachable, especially in the face of so many witnesses, but certain details are always lacking to complete the evidence. Now it is a story of a wonderful vessel seen on the Pacific coast in the neighborhood of San Francisco or maybe Sacramento. Next a report comes of one having been seen in Nebraska, or a farmer in some Iowa county reports seeing a bright light and moving object in the air on a dark night. Then the scene shifts, and a man or a score of men report seeing a wonderful what is it from some other remote quarter of the United States.