Crystal Palace

steelpillow

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Around the previous turn of the century, there was an Engineering School based in the Crystal Palace, Paxton's famous glass exhibition building which had by then been re-erected at Sydenham in London. Several pioneer aviators passed through the area at one time or another, but I know of no coherent account of the aviation research that went on there.

Geoffrey De Havilland records in his autobiography Sky Fever how the school was situated in the South Tower when he joined it in 1900 and built a motorcycle engine to a design published in The English Mechanic magazine.

Samuel Franklin Cody, first airman to build and fly a British aeroplane, had his workshops at the Crystal Palace for a while, in the days when he was working on his War Kites and had not yet moved to Farnborough. (Source: Walker, Early Aviation at Farnborough, Vol. I: Balloons, Kites and Airships).

B.F.S. Baden-Powell, an important official and brother to the famous Lord of the Boy Scouts, conducted aeronautical research using a water-slide (source, Driver, H.; The Birth of Military Aviation: Britain, 1903-1914, p190)

I wonder what else?
 

hesham

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Strange news,thank you for sharing us Steelpillow.
 

Dynoman

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John Stringfellow, known for his steam powered aircraft, flew a model of his three winged aircraft suspended from a cable in the Crystal Palace before the turn of the century. That model was supposedly flown without the cable. The Crystal Palace's Aeronautical Society of Great Britain became the Royal Aeronautical Society after WWI. Stringfellows aircraft in the Crystal Palace can be seen in the picture on a cable in the picture.
 

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steelpillow

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Hiram Maxim, inventor of the Maxim machine gun and an unstable flying machine that had to be held down by safety rails, built a spinning fairground ride in the grounds of the Crystal Palace in 1904. He planned a ring of extra high poles from which would hang unmanned tethered aeroplanes. These would swing out and fly, creating a novel spectacle as the roundabout turned. His own design would not fly below 80 mph so he engaged Dunne to design a better one. Dunne produced a kind of triple-tandem, with the middle wing higher than the others. But it too proved unstable and one day it stalled and crashed. The next morning Cody ambled over to take a look and added a box tail angled ina diamond position. Later that day, Dunne rode it "clinging to it like a monkey" to become the first man ever to be clocked at over 100 mph. But it was still not wholly stable and when Dunne refused permanent employment Maxim abandoned the scheme. A few years later Dunne designed a full-size version for Professor Huntington, who had it built and eventually got it flying perfectly well, but that is another story.
sources: Maxim, Hiram; Artificial and Natural Flight, 1908, Pages 72-75, also Dunne's correspondence with Science Museum. A small paper model of the configuartion also survives in the Dunne collection in the Museum's archives.
 
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