The UFO Iconoclast(s)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Gilles Fernandez finds an explanation for the 1890's Airship sightings?

gillesf.jpg

Our French colleague and friend Gilles Fernandez (pictured above) sent us this request:

Hello Rich.

Look at these 2 links [and] notice the date anterior to November 1896. (The airship wave started in November at Sacramento, no?). The patent was filed April 1896 [and] accepted August 1896. In the second link, it was in the newspaper, September 1896. You can use for your blog and asking what you want, dear friend. I will be interested to have the feedback and ruminations of your readers, as yourself. (I think it has been already presented in Busby book titled " Solving the 1897 Airship Mystery". )


Amitiés,
Gilles


Click HERE to see the patent.

Here's the newspaper article:

airship2.jpg

Click HERE for a readable copy of the newspaper article.

Any thoughts on the possibility that this patented "airship" accounted for the many sightings of mysterious ariships in the late 1890s and early 1900s?

Jerome Clark and Lucius Farish have provided scholarly research about the airship mystery in various UFO magazines and venues. We've noted those articles here and our RRRGroup blog. Jose Caravaca has also provided extensive material about the airship wave.

Gilles' find supplements the belief that the airships were human inventions.

RR

11 Comments:

  • Rich,
    I dont defend stricto sensu at this stage the idea it was "Human Invention" which flew, if it was what you think I have in mind (?).

    I have not readed yet Busby's book "Solving the 1897 Airship Mystery", who defends this idea, (I believe for the notebooks I have). I cant judge then.

    BUT I noticed for my part and I'am "surprised" by the possible pre-existence to the wave of an "Imagery" of such Airships, then a "cultural ambiance" and this located in California as "the cherry on the cake", State where the wave "started" mi-november 1896 at Sacramento (if I'm correct).

    In other words, if all of it is historiographicaly validated, there was an "ambiance" already in California, and then many sociopsycological pists/hypothesis could be proposed/studied (Mass delusion ie.)

    That's all at this stage.

    Amitié and thank you so much for the log,

    Gilles

    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Wednesday, October 10, 2012  

  • The patent talks about lift provided by "flapping wings." Now it's fairly clear that flapping wings simply don't work and I don't recall that any of the airship reports described any flapping wings. But certainly the general overall shape in the newspaper account (I don't see the large search light that was often reported) resembles several witness descriptions.

    By Blogger Dominick, at Wednesday, October 10, 2012  

  • Gilles,

    I have pursued the airship mystery for some time, and I think the sightings were prompted by "crazy inventors" experimenting with flight apparatuses.

    The plethora of reports come from sightings of a few of those apparatuses and a raft of hysteria (from some bogus reportage).

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, October 10, 2012  

  • Dominick:

    See if you can find a link at this blog (via Google) to a splendid recounting of the airship sightings that appeared in a little magazine years ago.

    I have the magazine, buried in our moving crates, and can dig it out if necessary.

    The article was objective and not UFO oriented.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, October 10, 2012  

  • Rich wrote: "The plethora of reports come from sightings of a few of those apparatuses and a raft of hysteria (from some bogus reportage)."

    Yeah Rich.

    It is "something" closed of what I have had in mind when speacking about "pre-cultural ambiance" or when sometimes asked here in France about "what do you think about the 1896/97 Airships wave"?.

    Yes, it seems to have pre-existing patents, filed and accepted of such designs, very closed of the tales of the "witnesses" ;
    Then, an "imagery" shared by papers, previous to the wave stricto sensu / and this in California!

    Maybe Models, dunno ? Some kinds of apparatus tested in California? Dunno.

    And then a "mass delusio"n due to medias "interference"? Dunno.

    But something like this in my mind could "conventionaly" explain this wave (as the UFO-Skeptic I'm ^^).

    Did you read Busby's book? I hope to read it soon for my part!

    Amitié,

    Gilles.

    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Wednesday, October 10, 2012  

  • Gilles,

    I think we have the Busby book, buried in our moving crates.

    I'll look for it.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, October 10, 2012  

  • One of my other interests is vintage transportation in all of it's forms and I am familiar with the alternatives to steam engines prior to the arrival of the gasoline motor being fully developed. The one aspect among many of the improbable nature of any airship was the locomotion. Steam was not an option.
    The Naptha engine he proposed ( invented in 1872) would weigh at least 1,000 pounds. They had an open flame as the Naptha was recondensed, somewhat like an a.c unit does for freon. The dangers of an explosion of the engine itself was always present. Twice it was attempted to make such engines legal for ships. Twice it was turned down. It would have to be lubricated constantly with sperm whale oil ( believe it or not). I am surprised the inventor did not use a Soda Motor..but thats another story. I short that would be the worst choice of motive power imaginable. Extremely unlikely to have been financed for the above reasons and even more unlikely to have worked as it's crude speed control was with a single valve that needed an experienced operator and they were hard to come by. Otherwise the danger of the engine exploding was probable.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Wednesday, October 10, 2012  

  • It was a proof of concept and not a working model.

    I don’t think it ever passed beyond the patent office or existed in real terms as more than a scale model. In the patent, Smith wasn’t able to define the mode of propulsion beyond abstract suggestions of electric motors and naptha engines harnessed to drums and ropes to ‘vibrate’ the wings.

    In comparison to the succeeding generations of airships, this was 'out there' novel and nothing like the ones we know existed later on.

    By Blogger Kandinsky, at Wednesday, October 10, 2012  

  • Kandinsky
    What is sort of amusing about all this is no one has bothered to look seriously at the ratios to lift to weight to available horsepower, let alone the weight of the fuel, passengers..let alone the constant need for refueling and prearranged fuel depots. Talk about a lead Zeppelin concept...You simply look at the size and volume of later gas envelopes of the ships that were later successfully flown like the Zeppelins, and you can easily see as in the above examples, why the proportions of these mystery ships as actual vehicles were way way off. They look like toy representations ( caricatures) of flying craft. The infamous Texas incident was cribbed from a newspaper report from England with the anchor tied to a church steeple. I saw one television show were they were rooting around the Texas graveyard looking the the alien bodies. Surrealistic to say the least. The blind leading the blind.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Wednesday, October 10, 2012  

  • BTW..I don't think this was mass delusion. I think it was a popular form of yellow journalism at the time, to sell papers on the basis of various towns etc wanting to make a name for themselves as there was no internet for a chamber of commerce to toot the towns horn. Ah, yes, Podunk Corners, a name spread round the country..Sometimes, it could not work if they tried. Here in NC we have a town named Stinky Creek. No matter how much attention was drawn to a stinky creek..well..and so it went.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Wednesday, October 10, 2012  

  • @ Bruce Duensing

    You wrote: "I think it was a popular form of yellow journalism at the time, to sell papers on the basis of various towns etc"

    Yeah, very interresting imho (and TY for all feed back here). I evokated several pists in French, as "your" one, with friends, in "UFO-sceptiscisme forum".

    I think historical "contextualization" is one the key(s) to understand such "mysteries", on which "ufology" like to surf.

    In other words, I think the 1896/97 wave can be "reducted" to conventional/prosaic things. No need of ET.
    Well, maybe a day it will be solved.

    Regards,

    Gilles

    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Wednesday, October 10, 2012  

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