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About the Photos

Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • VOLUNTEER FOR VICTORY

Bat-Plane: 1923

Bat-Plane: 1923

1923. Washington, D.C., or vicinity. "NO CAPTION [Man with airplane in hangar]." The idea here might be "progress in aviation." View full size.

 

Heck with the ornithopter

Can someone ask that guy to step aside so we can see more of the DH4 behind him?

Ornithopter

It looks like an ornithopter (flaps its wings), being held upside-down.

I don't see what the power source might be.

The scalloped wings come from wire for the trailing edge, pulled up tight when the fabric is shrunk, like on the Spad.

Hangar flying

It's kind of a weird craft but if may be from the "indoor free-flight" category of competitive aircraft modelling. There was a big following for this branch up to at least the 1960's. It took place in large indoor spaces like hangars and armories. The wings were covered with home-made microfilm (nitrate) solution. Today you would be reported for having some kind of smelly lab.

The march of progress

Shortly after this photo was taken, Eustace Neete (not pictured) invented the tie clip, credited by the aviation industry with preventing countless entanglements between loose cravats (shown here) and rotating propellers.

The man pictured may be the inventor of the aerodynamic spoiler, credited by the insurance industry with causing countless entanglements between automobiles and parking lot bumpers.

My Dodge Magnum has had three front bumpers replaced since 2006, but my necktie is always perfectly in place.

And thus advances Humankind.

Not Too Far in Advance of the Times

The model appears to be from one of Da Vinci's ornithopter designs. No idea who the guy is, but check the Smithsonian's staff for likely candidates.

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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