Glenn Curtiss (1878–1930) was a self-taught aeronautical engineer, a self-made industrialist, and one of the first airplane pilots, the model for “Tom Swift.” C. R. Roseberry’s biography begins with Curtiss’s years in Hammondsport, New York, his experiments with designing and learning to fly his own airplanes, and his many “firsts” in aviation history. Establishing one of the first aviation schools, Curtiss also developed a highly successful aviation company and designed one of the most popular early American planes—the Curtiss JN-4 (the “Jenny”). More than just a biography, this is also a well-documented history of the development of aviation and the key figures associated with it during the first three crucial decades of this century. Through an examination of Curtiss’s dealings with people such as Alexander Graham Bell, his original partner, and Wilbur and Orville Wright, his most important rivals, Roseberry provides insight into the overall development of flight in America. Aviation enthusiasts, historians, those interested in American technology and industry, and all who enjoy a good story will welcome this book.
A classic biography returns to print after 60 years! Although the Wright Brothers are remembered for performing the first human flight, Glenn Curtiss stands as the most important aviator in American history. Like his friend Alexander Graham Bell, Curtiss was a master inventor as well as a daredevil. He won the first airplane race in history (the 1909 Gordon Bennett Cup), and he was the first pilot to take off from and land an airplane on the deck of a ship. He invented the twin flying boat, which became a mainstay for the Allies during the First World War, and his NC-4 Flying Boat performed the first transatlantic flight in 1919—eight years before Charles Lindbergh's flight. Curtiss planes eventually trained 95 percent of all American pilots in the first half of the 20th century. Fans of aviation, history and compelling biographies of famous Americans such as Howard Hughes will be delighted to read about Glenn Curtiss.
Glenn Curtiss beat even the Wright brothers (who sued him bitterly) to get pilot's license No. 1 in America. He teamed with Alexander Graham Bell, helped develop the moving wing part known as the aileron, introduced tricycle landing gear, made the first airplane sales, and turned aeronautics into a multimillion dollar business. His innovations ranged from the Curtiss Pusher to the hydroaeroplane, the flying boat, and the Curtiss Jenny. Curtiss, his engines, and his airplanes dominated the world of early aviation on this side of the Atlantic. Glenn H. Curtiss: Aviation Pioneer charts Curtiss's breakneck course across two continents, North America and Europe, setting speed and distance records, experimenting with military applications, always striving for a safer, faster airplane. Fostering both water flyers and shipboard landing, he became the Father of Naval Aviation. But even the skies were not wide enough for the busy brain of Curtiss. Glenn H. Curtiss: Aviation Pioneer also tracks his dizzying ride from a village bicycle shop to record-smashing motorcycle races, futuristic travel trailers, and city building in the Florida land boom.
The Wright Brothers, Glenn Curtiss, and the Battle to Control the Skies
Author: Lawrence Goldstone
Publisher: Ballantine Books
From acclaimed historian Lawrence Goldstone comes a thrilling narrative of courage, determination, and competition: the story of the intense rivalry that fueled the rise of American aviation. The feud between this nation’s great air pioneers, the Wright brothers and Glenn Curtiss, was a collision of unyielding and profoundly American personalities. On one side, a pair of tenacious siblings who together had solved the centuries-old riddle of powered, heavier-than-air flight. On the other, an audacious motorcycle racer whose innovative aircraft became synonymous in the public mind with death-defying stunts. For more than a decade, they battled each other in court, at air shows, and in the newspapers. The outcome of this contest of wills would shape the course of aviation history—and take a fearsome toll on the men involved. Birdmen sets the engrossing story of the Wrights’ war with Curtiss against the thrilling backdrop of the early years of manned flight, and is rich with period detail and larger-than-life personalities: Thomas Scott Baldwin, or “Cap’t Tom” as he styled himself, who invented the parachute and almost convinced the world that balloons were the future of aviation; John Moisant, the dapper daredevil who took to the skies after three failed attempts to overthrow the government of El Salvador, then quickly emerged as a celebrity flyer; and Harriet Quimby, the statuesque silent-film beauty who became the first woman to fly across the English Channel. And then there is Lincoln Beachey, perhaps the greatest aviator who ever lived, who dazzled crowds with an array of trademark twists and dives—and best embodied the romance with death that fueled so many of aviation’s earliest heroes. A dramatic story of unimaginable bravery in the air and brutal competition on the ground, Birdmen is at once a thrill ride through flight’s wild early years and a surprising look at the personal clash that fueled America’s race to the skies. Praise for Birdmen “A meticulously researched account of the first few hectic, tangled years of aviation and the curious characters who pursued it . . . a worthy companion to Richard Holmes’s marvelous history of ballooning, Falling Upwards.”—Time “The daredevil scientists and engineers who forged the field of aeronautics spring vividly to life in Lawrence Goldstone’s history.”—Nature “The history of the development of an integral part of the modern world and a fascinating portrayal of how a group of men and women achieved a dream that had captivated humanity for centuries.”—The Christian Science Monitor “Captivating and wonderfully presented . . . a fine book about these rival pioneers.”—The Wall Street Journal “[A] vivid story of invention, vendettas, derring-do, media hype and patent fights [with] modern resonance.”—Financial Times “A powerful story that contrasts soaring hopes with the anchors of ego and courtroom.”—Kirkus Reviews “A riveting narrative about the pioneering era of aeronautics in America and beyond . . . Goldstone raises questions of enduring importance regarding innovation and the indefinite exertion of control over ideas that go public.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
There's no question that Glenn Curtiss was one of the most significant figures in the early development of motorcycles, aviation, and engine development. This book will take you on a journey through both his life and his innovative technological developments. And what a life it was. Descriptions of this man prove to be contradictory and controversial. He was quiet, yet dashing. Kind, yet stern. Uneducated, yet a technological and entrepreneurial pioneer. He began his inventing career by building and racing motorcycles, while creating new internal combustion engines, then moved on to work with dirigibles, airplanes (particularly seaplanes), community development, and travel trailers. In the end, Glenn Curtiss - a man respected by contemporaries for his character - went to his grave accused of fiduciary irresponsibility and patent theft. His bitter patent disputes with the Wright Brothers leave many wondering whether Curtiss should be seen as a hero or a villain when his place in history is considered. Hell-Rider to King of the Air examines Curtiss's life, career, and accomplishments in an engaging and accessible way, so that readers can answer that question for themselves.
James Tobin, award-winning author of Ernie Pyle's War and The Man He Became, has penned the definitive account of the inspiring and impassioned race between the Wright brothers and their primary rival Samuel Langley across ten years and two continents to conquer the air. For years, Wilbur Wright and his younger brother, Orville, experimented in obscurity, supported only by their exceptional family. Meanwhile, the world watched as Samuel Langley, armed with a contract from the US War Department and all the resources of the Smithsonian Institution, sought to create the first manned flying machine. But while Langley saw flight as a problem of power, the Wrights saw a problem of balance. Thus their machines took two very different paths—Langley’s toward oblivion, the Wrights’ toward the heavens—though not before facing countless other obstacles. With a historian’s accuracy and a novelist’s eye, Tobin has captured an extraordinary moment in history. To Conquer the Air is itself a heroic achievement.
Excellent pictorial history of famed aircraft and aviation memorabilia depicted in 90 rare photos and illustrations: replica of Lilienthal Glider (1894), the Curtiss JN-4 Jenny, America's most famous WW I airplane; Republic's P-47 Thunderbolt (1945), Grumman's Mobile Lunar Laboratory (Molab, 1964), and many other planes, spacecraft, rockets and missiles. Extensive captions.
The oldest names in aviation joined forces in 1929, when Wright Aeronautical and Curtiss Aeroplane formed the giant Curtiss-Wright Corporation. Curtiss airplanes were already “the best things with wings,” while Charles Lawrance had made Wright powerplants the leader in American radial engines. Aviation founding father Glenn Curtiss, along with superstars Charles A. Lindbergh, Jimmy Doolittle, Admiral Byrd, and “Wrong-Way” Corrigan, all blazed skytrails with Wright engines and Curtiss wings. Tiny Sparrowhawk biplane fighters flew from airborne dirigibles. Huge factories poured out war birds in tens of thousands for World War II. Pilots flew them everywhere, from the African desert to Alaskan ice, South Sea islands, and even the Taj Mahal. Relive those days when women, old men, and teenagers kept the factories roaring, and follow Curtiss-Wright clear into the 21st century.