Balloons, Dirigibles, and Gliders in History


The primary manned hot-air balloon, designed by the Montgolfier brothers, takes off on the backyard of the Reveillon workshop, Paris, on October 19, 1783. (public area)

BY B.J. SEDLOCK

I wasn’t that all for lighter-than-air journey till I learn Frederica, a e-book by one in all my favourite authors, Georgette Heyer, the place a personality takes an surprising balloon journey within the 1810s:  the heroine’s younger brother serving to with the launch doesn’t let go of the mooring rope shortly sufficient, and rises into the air nonetheless clinging onto the rope.   Perusing these books and web sites on lighter-than-air craft and gliders made me notice there’s a whole lot of story concepts within the subject.  I hope you discover them helpful on your analysis.

BALLOONS—WEBSITES

NATIONAL BALLOON MUSEUM (U.S.)

This museum in Iowa presents a web page offering an summary of ballooning historical past.

HISTORY OF THE USE OF BALLOONS IN SCIENTIFIC EXPERIMENTS (U.S.)

That is an open entry journal article by G. Pfotzer from Area Science Critiques in 1972.  Protection begins with the primary experiments in 1783.

HOT AIR BALLOONS IN BRITAIN—A HISTORY (U.Okay.)

Author/editor Charlotte Bailey wrote this UK balloon historical past web page, and though it’s from a .com website, I believe it may nonetheless be helpful to a novelist.

SCIENCE MUSEUM (U.Okay.)

London’s Science Museum’s “collections” web page will allow you to search on “balloons” and retrieve over 400 gadgets to do with balloon historical past.  Nevertheless, not all the pictures confirmed on my display screen, and a buddy within the UK mentioned they didn’t show for them both, so the rationale for blocking the photographs wasn’t as a result of I used to be making an attempt to entry them from exterior the UK. Of those I may view, there are footage from Lunardi’s historic flights (see e-book part under), and examples of “balloonomania” plates, cups and snuffboxes.

THE TRUE HISTORY OF THE AERONAUTS WHO TRANSFORMED OUR VIEW OF THE WORLD ABOVE (U.S.)

A reprint in Smithsonian Journal of an article by historian Jennifer Tucker on early balloons flights, with some attention-grabbing footage.

BALLOONS IN THE CIVIL WAR (U.S.)

The American Battlefield Belief runs this website, with this web page on balloons within the U.S. Civil Warfare, which has some cool illustrations.

AIR BALLOONS IN THE CIVIL WAR (U.S.)

The Nationwide Park Service supplies this web page, related to a Ulysses S. Grant historic website, on Civil Warfare use of balloons, and Grant’s connection to them.

ARTIFICIAL CLOUDS AND INFLAMMABLE AIR: THE SCIENCE AND SPECTACLE OF THE FIRST BALLOON FLIGHTS, 1783 (U.S.)

The Science Historical past Institute’s web page critiques the earliest balloon flights and the “balloonomania” craze they impressed, for balloon-themed jewellery, ornamental arts, and clothes.

 

Defiance School owned a sizzling air balloon within the Sixties-70s and taught a historical past of ballooning course [courtesy Defiance College Archives]

BALLOONS AND GENERAL—BOOKS

LIGHTER-THAN-AIR FLIGHT, ed. by C.V. Glines.  Franklin Watts, 1965.  [No ISBN]

This quantity, by an Air Power officer, is an anthology of excerpts from historic paperwork on lighter-than-air flight over the centuries.  One part is on balloon makes use of in battle, one other on airships traditionally, and the final on airships within the mid-20th century.

FALLING UPWARDS: HOW WE TOOK TO THE AIR, by Richard Holmes.  Pantheon, 2013.  9780307379665

Holmes says within the epilogue (p.353) that he didn’t write a standard historical past of ballooning: “In a way, it’s not actually about balloons in any respect.  It’s about what balloons gave rise to.  It’s concerning the spirit of discovery itself…”  So don’t seek the advice of this e-book if you would like a timeline of ballooning historical past, but it surely’s stuffed with great tales of historic balloon adventures, inspiring materials for novelists in search of an concept to put in writing about.

BALLOONING, 1782-1972.  Smithsonian Establishment Press, 1972.  [no ISBN]

This can be a catalog of an exhibit held by the Smithsonian in 1972, earlier than the current Nationwide Air and Area Museum in Washington, DC was accomplished, on the historical past of ballooning.  It might be of restricted use, as solely among the gadgets within the exhibit are pictured, and all the footage are in black and white.   But when a researcher sees an merchandise listed within the catalog of curiosity, they might contact the Smithsonian to ask whether or not it was out there to view digitally.  A photograph of the 1972 exhibit is accessible on-line from the Smithsonian’s archives.

BAGS UP! GREAT BALLOON ADVENTURES, by Kurt R. Stehling.  Playboy Press, 1975.  [No ISBN]

A part of the e-book recounts the writer’s personal balloon adventures, however about half of the content material is about historic balloon flights and balloons’ use in battle.  It has no footnotes, however does provide a one-page bibliography.

THE BALLOON BOOK, by Paul Fillingham.  David McKay, 1977.  0679505946

A lot of the e-book is about practicalities of ballooning within the final quarter of the 20th century, similar to acquiring a license, radios, climate, and so on.  But it surely additionally contains a number of chapters on historic accounts of balloons, and materials on airships as properly, plus a 5-page bibliography.

MAN IN THE CLOUDS: THE STORY OF VINCENZO LUNARDI, by Leslie Gardiner.  W&R Chambers, 1963.  [No ISBN]

The story of the Italian aeronaut who made early balloon ascents in England and Scotland within the 1780s. His flights had been so noteworthy that monuments marking the websites of a few of Lunardi’s flights nonetheless exist within the UK immediately.

 LIGHTER THAN AIR: AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF BALLOONS AND AIRSHIPS, by Tom D. Crouch.  Johns Hopkins College Press, 2009.  9780801891274

“This e-book presents a concise overview of the historical past of lighter-than-air flight from antiquity to the area age”—introduction.  It’s lavishly illustrated, and covers eras from Archimedes into the 21st century, and speculates on the way forward for lighter-than-air flight.

BALLOONS AND AIRSHIPS: A TALE OF LIGHTER THAN AIR AVIATION, by Anthony Burton.  Pen & Sword Transport, 2019.  9781526719492

The writer served within the RAF, has flown lighter-than-air craft himself, and makes a speciality of writing about transport historical past and know-how.  The e-book begins with some makes an attempt to fly in historic historical past, and ends with a chapter on trendy ballooning as recreation.  It incorporates no footnotes however has a specific bibliography.

 

Engine room of a dirigible, ca.1933
(public area)

AIRSHIPS/DIRIGIBLES/ZEPPELINS—WEBSITES

KITE BALLOONS TO AIRSHIPS: THE NAVY’S LIGHTER-THAN-AIR EXPERIENCE (U.S.)

That is an out-of-print authorities doc that has been made out there electronically, from the U.S. Naval Historical past and Heritage Command’s web site.  It covers the U.S. use of airships within the army within the 20th century.

AIRSHIPS & DIRIGIBLES (U.S.)

This web page offers an summary of army use of airships within the U.S.  Eight photographs are included.

OHIO HISTORY CENTRAL (U.S.)

Blimps

Dirigibles

Goodyear Blimps

Akron, Ohio was the historic heart of U.S. airship manufacturing, due to Goodyear and different rubber corporations being situated there.  These pages give transient overviews of airship manufacturing in Ohio’s historical past.  Motorists driving on Rt. 224 from Akron into the japanese suburbs immediately can get an eye-popping view of the gargantuan, still-extant hangers seen in these pages.

 

A contemporary airship, 2011: Goodyear Blimp ‘Spirit of Security I’ (G-HLEL) moored at Cardington Airship Sheds, Bedfordshire, UK (public area)

AIRSHIPS/DIRIGIBLES/ZEPPELINS—BOOKS

 THE ZEPPELIN STORY, by W. Robert Nitske.  A.S. Barnes/Thomas Yoseloff, 1977.  0498018059

That is the story of Rely Ferdinand von Zeppelin, inventor of inflexible airships, and the agency he based to construct them.  Zeppelin requested a furlough from the German military throughout the American Civil Warfare, in order that he may function an official observer of the U.S. Union Military.  He made his first balloon ascent whereas visiting America, and his adventures, similar to visiting the frontier and mingling with Native Individuals, would make an attention-grabbing historic novel.   An appendix lists the fates of the zeppelins constructed throughout and after the Rely’s lifetime and b&w photographs are included.

THE ACHIEVEMENT OF THE AIRSHIP: A HISTORY OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF RIGID, SEMI-RIGID AND NON-RIGID AIRSHIPS, by Man Hartcup.  Wren, 1975. 0858851938

The subtitle just about describes the contents of the e-book, a simple historical past of airships, with many b&w photographs.  In depth footnotes and a bibliography will help you in additional analysis, and an appendix compares statistics on airships of various European international locations, plus these used within the U.S.

GIANTS IN THE SKY: A HISTORY OF THE RIGID AIRSHIP, by Douglas H. Robinson.  College of Washington, 1973.  0295952490

“The romance of the inflexible airship…is tough to understand immediately for the youthful technology which has by no means seen one”—introduction.  The writer’s goal is to each pay tribute to airships’ creators and to “convey to a youthful technology among the …awe and majesty which these big ships of the sky impressed in those that noticed them.”  It contains an intensive bibliography, and an appendix itemizing the 161 inflexible ships constructed between 1897 and 1940 and their fates.

THE GOLDEN AGE OF THE GREAT PASSENGER AIRSHIPS: GRAF ZEPPELIN & HINDENBURG, by Harold G. Dick with Douglas H. Robinson.  Smithsonian Establishment Press, 1985.  1560982195

Creator Dick was a Goodyear worker who flew on many Hindenburg flights, however fortunately was not aboard throughout its remaining voyage when it crashed and burned in New Jersey in 1937.  So he writes with authority on the period when airships had been carrying passengers throughout the Atlantic, 1934-1938.  The e-book covers his involvement with airships, his visits to Germany within the Nazi period, plus supplies maps, photographs, and lots of particulars about what it was prefer to fly on passenger airships, similar to loading charts itemizing the assorted weights of gasoline, water, and ballast; a glossary of phrases, a crew guide, and so on.  If you wish to place a personality in your novel aboard an airship within the Thirties, this has a wealth of element that can assist you make the expertise genuine.

AIR-RAIDS ON SOUTH-WEST ESSEX IN THE GREAT WAR: LOOKING FOR ZEPPELINS AT LEYTON, by Alan Simpson.  Pen & Sword Aviation, 2015.   9781473834125

The title just about describes the content material: this chronicles the bombing of Leyton, a city within the east of better London, by German zeppelins throughout World Warfare I.  Greater than a thousand houses had been broken, and folks killed and wounded by the raids.  Its pictures and private accounts of air raid experiences can be precious to a historic novelist writing about airships’ use in wartime.

GERMAN AIRSHIPS: PARSEVAL-SCHUTTE-LANZ-ZEPPELIN, by Heinz J. Nowarra.  Schiffer Publishing, 1990.  0887401996

Revealed in German as Deutsche Luftschiffe in 1988.  This lavishly illustrated English model covers the historical past of German airships, with photographs relationship as early as 1872.  It features a transient bibliography and tables of technical information.

MILITARY, NAVAL AND CIVIL AIRSHIPS SINCE 1783: THE HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE DIRGIBILE AIRSHIP IN PEACE AND WAR, by Daniel George Ridley-Kitts.  Historical past Press, 2012.

The writer served within the RAF within the Nineteen Fifties and was stationed on the identical base in Germany that had served because the headquarters of the German airship service, which sparked his curiosity in airships; the e-book’s emphasis is on British ones.  It has a bibliography and an appendix with a historic timeline.

 

An RAF teacher, with an Military trainee pilot on board, books out a GAL Hotspur Mark III earlier than a coaching flight at No. 3 Glider Coaching Faculty, at Stoke Orchard, Gloucestershire, throughout World Warfare II (public area)

GLIDERS—WEBSITES

THE FLYING COFFINS OF WORLD WAR II (U.S.)

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers presents this website about gliders throughout World Warfare II, “America’s first army stealth plane.”  The location contains reminiscences of one of many few remaining pilots.

GLIDING & GLIDER HISTORY (U.Okay.)

This web page helps you to view a 1952 U.Okay. movie on the game of gliding.

NATIONAL SOARING MUSEUM (U.S.)

This web page lists gliders within the museum’s assortment, and when you click on on “learn extra” on the appropriate, you’ll deliver up an image of that exact glider, with historical past and specs on the plane.

SITE MAP AND WRIGHT BROTHERS LINKS (U.S.)

This website map web page from NASA’s web site on the Wright Brothers has a column on the left the place you’ll be able to view recreated drawings of assorted gliders from the Wrights’ development to powered plane.

 

GLIDERS–BOOKS

 HISTORY OF THE WORLD’S GLIDER FORCES, BY Alan Wooden.  Patrick Stephens Ltd., 1990.  1852602759

That is concerning the historical past of the army makes use of of gliders within the first half of the twentieth century, particularly German and British, however with shorter sections on U.S., Russian, Japan, and even briefer pages on different international locations’ makes use of.  It presents pictures however no footnotes or bibliography.

SILENT WINGS AT WAR: COMBAT GLIDERS IN WORLD WAR II, by John L. Lowden.  Smithsonian Establishment Press, 1992.  1560981210

The writer flew gliders throughout World Warfare II and hopes to “assist set the document straight on the magnificent contributions made, towards brutal odds, by Allied glider pilots and their passengers…”—preface.  He contains private tales contributed by different pilots like himself, and a powerful set of interval photographs.

QUEST FOR FLIGHT: JOHN J. MONTGOMERY AND THE DAWN OF AVIATION IN THE WEST, by Craig S. Harwood and Gary B. Fogel.  College of Oklahoma Press, 2012.  9780806142647

The well-known exploits of the Wright Brothers overshadow the early glider flight makes an attempt by Montgomery in California.  His first makes an attempt had been within the Eighties, earlier than the Wrights, however not properly publicized.  It wasn’t till many years later within the 20th century that he started to be nationally acknowledged.

 

In regards to the contributor: B.J. Sedlock is Lead Librarian and Coordinator of Metadata and Archives at Defiance School in Defiance, Ohio. She writes e-book critiques and articles for The Historic Novels Overview, and has contributed to The Sondheim Overview.



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