SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
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About the Photos

Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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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.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Heck with the ornithopter

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


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.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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