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All men are fallible; but here lies the difference. Some men, such as I have just mentioned, crossed by difficulties, pressed by exigencies, transported by their own passions, or by the passions of those who fight under their banner, may now and then deviate into error, and into error of long and fatal consequence. But there are some men, such as I shall not mention on this occasion (because I reserve them for another and a better), who never deviate into the road of good sense, (NationMacmillan's Magazine.
alist cheers) ["wait for the end" interjected Mr. Bowles] who, crossed by no difficulties, pressed by no exigencies, meeting scarce opposition enough to excite their industry (cheers), and guiding a tame, well-tutored flock (cheers and laughter) that follow their bellwether obstinately, but never tread on his heels (laughter); there are men, I say, whose special privilege it is to proceed with all these advantages, deliberately and superciliously from blunder to blunder, from year to year, in one perpetual maze of confused incoherent, inconsistent, unmeaning schemes of business. (Cheers and laughter.)
It is easy to imagine man's first atWe tempts to navigate seas or rivers. can picture him astride of a log in shoal water, with one foot at the bottom, paddling about in a pool or floating with a gentle stream until he has learned to rig a rudder or to set a sail. It has always been wholly different with the navigator of the air. For him there are no shoals to experiment in,
The day of happy English quotation, unlike the Latin, will never be over in the House of Commons. But, as in the Latin quotation has degenerated to bona fide, cum grano salis, and ad valorem, so there is a tendency in English to be content with such commonplaces as "Where ignorance is bliss" and "Distance lends enchantment," etc. A habit of loose and inaccurate We have citation is also noticeable. heard "stone walls do not a prison make" cited as "an ancient adage"; and another member recently enriched the stock of happy Parliamentary quotations by declaring "As the Scriptures say 'It is all sound and fury signifying nothing'!"
THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE AIR-SHIP.
and the tides he must reckon with are uncertain and unseen. But the great and cardinal difference, often looked, between the navigation of water and that of air, lies in the fact that a boat is manoeuvred in two elements while the air-ship must deal with one alone. Floating on a fluid of considerable density, but with readily yielding surface, a boat can be easily
propelled by an oar whose immersed blade is held within the water. Or if a sail be raised to the wind, then whether the water be still or running it is easy to arrange matters so as to get "steerage way," when navigation becomes simply a matter of utilizing the existing forces of nature.
It is needless to say that these conditions do not obtain in the case of the aerial navigator, and yet we have reason to believe that his practical endeavors to sail the sky date far back in time. It is common to assign man's first successful endeavors in the direction of the conquest of the air to the eighteenth century, to the floating globe of Montgolfier, or the mechanical flight of Besnier. But in truth this view is hardly just, for many centuries earlier he had come very near to solving the problem of aerostation when toying with that very principle which to-day is regarded as lying at the root of success-the aero-plane. It would seem that that simplest adaptation of the aero-plane, the kite, was well known in Eastern Asia, in China and Japan, and yet more in the Malay Archipelago, centuries before the Christian era, at which period, according to tradition, the flying of kites into the heavens was a well-practised art, associated with religious rites, while according to a Japanese record of six hundred years ago huge kites were positively used to elevate a man into the air for the purpose of reconnoitring in Serviceable kites are again in vogue, modified and improved. Many have departed from their pristine form, while all, as by a process of true development, have lost their tails; and they are now sent aloft to a height of two miles carrying instruments and taking photographs. Nor have their capabilities ended here. They have raised men safely many feet aloft, and have kept weights equal to that of a man suspended in the air for hours.
Further, on one occasion a kite which broke away took over its own management, and using its dragging string (or rather wire) as a trail rope, and scorning all obstacles, accomplished a long free voyage without mishap.
Here, then, we have a very ancient instrument indeed which has certainly approached the rank of a true air-ship, operated solely by the forces of Nature. And in the outset it may be that Nature herself suggested this aerial machine. For she has her own kiteflyers. The spider that spinning a long loose thread allows itself to be wafted into the air is a kite-flying aeronaut whose methods are truly scientific. Following up the records of aerostation we presently find man entrusting himself to the air by aid of other means, but even so by once again copying Nature. It was in times far back, and the feats performed being regarded as partaking of the marvellous, it is difficult to arrive at exact truth; but it would appear that several attempts were made at different times at that particular form of flight which is known as soaring or gliding flight, and which will be more specifically discussed in due place. It amounted to little more than gradually floating down to earth from some high eminence. There is record that in the reign of the Confessor a monk by name Elmerus accomplished such a flight from a tower in Spain. A similar flight was made from St. Mark's steeple, Venice, another at Nuremburg. In these cases we have but an imitation of the winged seeds that every autumn sail down to earth in a gliding flight from the tree-top. Nature shows how she adapts the flying apparatus of each to its special circumstances and requirements with consummate art. The pine seed which launches itself from a high elevation accomplishes an extended flight even in calm air by a rapid fluttering of the lightest of all wings.
The ash seed, on the contrary, by virtue of its strong attachment to the tree never sets sail except in a wind, and its aero-planes are a perfect model for the mechanical aeronaut.
The next attempt at aerial travel, already referred to, was a new endeavor of a far more practical nature. The date was about two hundred years ago, when a craftsman of Sable, by name Besnier, essayed to imitate true flight by a mechanical contrivance of his own devising. On each of his shoulders he laid a light oar having a large cup-like blade at either end. These oars being grasped by each hand in front and connected with the corresponding foot by straps behind, were worked alternately up and down, and the hollow of the blades being always towards the ground, it is clear that by thus incessantly beating or flapping the air in a downward direction he counteracted his tendency to fall. Indeed, it would seem that starting from some little elevation he was able by dint of great physical exertion to raise himself somewhat in the air, and thus to cover a considerable distance of ground.
Eighty years later and the world stood electrified at the launching of the first true air-ship that ever climbed into the sky. It was in a sense a departure from nature, for it has been said with truth that in all nature there is no balloon; and the Montgolfiers' huge hot-air globe now introduced was a true balloon even though it ascended without the use of gas. But within twelve months-so fast did the newborn art develop a smaller globe filled with hydrogen gas was substituted under M. Charles for the huge spheroid carrying its blazing furnace, and then the rival systems of the Montgolfière and Charlière vied with each other in bold and brilliant performances. But though the balloon in either form still holds its own, and serves useful ends to-day, nevertheless, as though by rea
son of being a contradiction of nature, its capabilities are and must ever remain strictly limited. A huge unwieldy hull, it will be seen, after all that skill and science and noble courage have done, to be almost wholly at the mercy of those overmastering air streams which blow persistently aloft six days out of every seven.
It is curious and instructive to note the endeavors which with an almost childish simplicity balloonists at first made to manœuvre their cumbrous crafts. Oars were used to paddle with, and when these proved ineffectual in altering the balloon's horizontal course, owing to the enormous wind pressure on so large a surface, they were used in an attempt to work it upwards or downwards, with the idea of economizing gas and ballast. And inasmuch as a balloon is constantly dipping or rising according to varying conditions of temperature, moisture, and pressure, the rower was for the while deluded into the belief that his efforts were frequently availing. The mistake lay in forgetfulness of the nature of the medium he was trying to navigate. A balloon fairly poised might with little effort be moved downwards a little way, but by the time it had descended only a thousand feet it would be exerting an overwhelming force to return to its former position. In actual fact the rower was attempting with an impulse of ounces only to do the work of hundredweights.
Tardily recognizing this the balloonist modified the form of the mass he sought to move, making its shape elongated and more or less pointed, somewhat like that of a torpedo or a cigar, and next with yet better results he followed the lines of nature, copying the flying-fish and building his vessel full in front but tapering aft. In this design too he was also partly guided by going to the running stream and watching the nature of the eddies
which form behind the obstacles to its flood. At this point the balloonist added to his vessel's now altered shape a screw propeller, worked generally by some light form of motor. M. Giffard, the famous inventor of the injector of the steam engine, as long ago as 1852, ascending alone, and working his own machinery, faced rough weather in an elongated balloon, the screw of which he drove by a mere coke-burning engine. The result was such as to justify the opinion expressed by experts who looked on that in a gentler wind the ship would have been under perfect control. M. Giffard himself shared this belief, and at once sought to repeat his experiments with an improved engine. The sequel is desperately sad. Ere his new craft was ready the great mechanician was stricken with blindness.
But a very creditable attempt with a flying machine was made at this time by aid of other force than that of steam. The experimenter was M. Dupuy de Lôme, whose enthusiastic love for aeronautics had been stimulated by the brilliant ballooning exploits, in which he himself had shared, during the siege of Paris. The siege ended, De Lôme having constructed an airship of proportionate size, took on board a crew of fourteen men, who were to work it in relays by mere manual labor.
The trials with this craft, which were entirely without mishap, went to show that the ship, while satisfactorily answering the helm, was capable of a speed of some six miles an hour. But M de Lôme had introduced another all-important feature. Recognizing that so slender a machine as a balloon driven against the wind was liable to lose the peculiar shape which was considered essential to its success, he devised within the balloon an internal ballonette, capable of being either inflated or discharged, by which means the exterior envelope could always be
kept distended. With quite equal success two other French aeronauts, the brothers Tissandier, now constructed a balloon of the elongated type, which though far smaller was fully as efficient as its predecessors. The secret of this lay in a new invention which by this time had been sufficiently perfected and lay ready to hand. This was an electric motor of considerable power, placed in circuit with a battery of bichromate cells.
Everything now pointed to the probability of fresh conquests being shortly won; and in due time, though no less than eighteen years ago, two French officers achieved a triumph which, after duly considering the inferior means at their disposal, will fully rank with, even if it will not be reckoned to excel, the splendid attempts which have recently put out of mind former achievements won against greater odds. Captains Renard and Krebs in the year 1884, applying an electric motor to a fish-shaped balloon, succeeded at their first public trial in making an aerial outward journey of two and a half miles from Chalais Meudon, when wheeling round and easily beating back against a light breeze they practically arrived at their starting point. The maximum speed attained during this trial trip was twelve miles an hour. Equal success attended subsequent trials, and on a final occasion the same vessel, after having performed a variety of aerial evolutions extending over thirty-five minutes, returned once more to its starting point.
In the next decade the navigable balloon was put to crucial tests, certainly one of the most remarkable trials being that of Count Zeppelin, who constructed an air-ship, cigar-shaped, of mammoth size, measuring upwards of four hundred feet in length, and subdivided into numerous compartments with the object of preventing the gas collecting at either of the ends. Steer
ing apparatus was placed both fore and aft, and power was obtained from two motor engines driving propellers at a thousand revolutions per minute. In its first trial the monster vessel showed little capacity for battling with the wind, but on a day of comparative calm it remained aloft for a period of twenty minutes, during which time it proved perfectly manageable, making a graceful journey out and home, and returning close to its point of depart
The famous exploits of Santos-Dumont, being matter of most recent history, need be only briefly referred to. By the time the young Brazilian had achieved his chief triumph, he had experimented with no fewer than six airships, a principal feature of which was an internal ballonette inflated automatically by a ventilator. In July, 1901, Santos-Dumont made an attempt to win the Deutsch prize, which stipulated that any competitor should start from the grounds of the Aero Club at Longchamps, and wheeling round the Eiffel Tower should return to the same grounds in half an hour. In his first attempt Santos-Dumont was behind time by eleven minutes, a cylinder having broken down. In the month following another attempt was made, and the outward journey accomplished with twenty-five minutes to the good, but in those fateful minutes the wind played havoc, and the balloon was crippled, and finally fouling a chimney, lodged the voyager high up against a blank wall, whence he had to be rescued by firemen. Other attempts followed, the last being one of special interest. The first half of the journey occupied nine minutes only, but after rounding the tower the wind was adverse, and the propeller became deranged. On this, Santos-Dumont, crawling along the framework, succeeded in restarting the motor, from which point the return journey was accomplished
in eight minutes, and the race at the time declared lost by forty seconds only.
One other attempt, alike glorious and unhappy, made with a navigable balloon, must be looked at, and our review of the balloon air-ship may be considered sufficiently dealt with. In the summer of 1896, M. Andrée sailed northwards, taking with him a balloon specially designed for the purpose of being steered over the North Pole in a favorable wind. Selecting Dane's Island as a convenient place, he made needful preparation, and waited for the wind, which that season never came until it was high time to fly south to avoid the winter. The next summer the same tactics were again followed, and again the adventurer waited long for a wind. Three weeks were wasted, during which the balloon, already inflated, was losing buoyancy, and Andrée is hardly to be blamed for committing himself in the end to a wind which was not wholly favorable. The start was made on the 11th of July, and of what followed little is known. A few messages cast out by the voyagers were subsequently picked up, and we may at least assume that the hazardous aerial journey proved the longest of all on record, for at the end of forty-eight hours the balloon was described as still travelling well. In the famous though unsuccessful attempt of Count de la Vaulx to cross the Mediterranean recently, the voyage, which was considered phenomenal in length, lasted little over forty-one hours.
As to the possibility or otherwise of mere mechanical flight, there have been many theorizers.
Helmholtz argues that on the showing of mathematical analysis the size of a bird must have a limit, unless muscles can be so developed that for the same mass they shall perform more work. He has pointed out that in