Those Late 19th Century Airships
These quotes apply to Professor Lowe who was indicated as the Airship creator, noted in the story (of the link):
"By 1858 he was actively engaged in his life-work of conquering the almost, to others, insoluble problems of Aeronautics, and many other great utilities.
He made a balloon voyage from Cincinnati, Ohio, at 4 a. m, on April 20th, 1861, and at noon on the same day descended near the ocean in South Carolina. traveling a distance of 800 miles.
Professor Lowe came West in 1887, and immediately started work in Southern California. The great mountain railway, Alpine Tavern and the Observatory were opened in 1894, and materially aided the Southland on its momentous career of advertisement and advancement."
My position is not that the 1896 airship wave was extraterrestrial but consisted of attempts by human engineers, inventors, and adventurers to create aerial craft, using techniques of the time, many from what was garnered from balloonists of earlier eras (as I've noted in previous postings here).
Here is a link to efforts, a little later than 1896, to create flying machines, using balloon technology:
The "history" of the Airships is fascinating, but corrupted by those trying to make the sightings into extraterrestrial forays, confused further by skeptics who take the ET efforts seriously, providing a faux counter to an already foolish idea -- that the airships were ET-originated.