[ Early - 1782 ] [ 1783 - 1849 ] [ 1850 - 1876 ] [ 1877 - 1892 ] [ 1893 - 1903 ] [ 1904 - 1960 ]


Hargrave, on returning from his explorations, is elected Member of the Royal Society of New South Wales [from here...RS]

Otto Lilienthal (1849 - 1896) develops first glider to use bird-like arched wings [Hellemans and Bunch, p.351]


Hargrave receives 200 acres of land at Coalcliff from his father

Giffard flies his hydrogen gas balloon La Captif at the Universal Exposition in Paris

September 7 - Hargrave marries Margaret Johnston (Preston) and they settle in Fort Street, Sydney

September 26 - Hargrave appointed Extra Observer (Astronomical) at the Sydney Observatory [WBE says 1879]

Bishop Milton Wright, then living in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, brings home a rubber-band powered Penaud-type helicopter for his sons. They build several successful copies. Orville tells his schoolteacher that he and his brother Wilbur plan to build a large enough machine to carry the both of them. But when the try to build a larger model, it doesn't fly.


January 1 - Hargrave takes up appointment at Sydney Observatory [ADoB]

April 14 - Harry L'Estrange, following failure in Sydney, he blames the poor quality of gas, flies his balloon 'Aurora' from the Agricultural Society's ground (showgrounds?) in Melbourne. At 9000 feet there is a tear in the fabric and the balloon falls but L'Estrange parachutes to safety.


M. Henri L'Estrange, after inflating his balloon "Aurora" with coal gas supplied by the Metropolitan Gas Co. ascended from the Agricultural Society's Ground (Melbourne). His weight calculations had been based on the quality of Sydney gas, which being inferior to Melbourne gas, caused him an error amounting to an underestimate of 700 lbs. This gave him an accelerated ascent and resulted in his attaining an estimated 9,000 ft. in a short time. The balloon burst but with the aid of a parachute he desended safely though badly shaken.


Another report has him crashing to earth in the balloon's basket which on hitting a tree breaks the fall such that L'Estange survives. [Ref:]

The first deliberate use of a parachute in Australia was made by J. T. Williams on December 8 1888 when he jumped from Captain Hendon's Balloon to the Ashfield Recreation Ground 6000 feet below in Sydney's western suburbs). [Copley p.4]

Victor Tatin flies his compressed-air model monoplane in France. Propelled by two tractor airscrews it is a rationalisation of the Henson concept [Gibbs p.75]

J. B. Biot builds and makes a few tentative glides in his full size glider at Clamart, France. This machine displayed at The Air Museum in Paris is the earliest surviving full-size aeroplane [Gibbs p.75]


Gabriel Voisin, (1880-1973), is born in France. One of the greats of French aviation, Voisin built his first airplane for Ferber in 1907. It was based on their loose understanding of the Wright brother's design which they had not yet seen. Voisin and Ferber hadn't yet grasped the Wright's innovative system of lateral control through wing warping, hence the vertical "curtains" between the wings, designed to counter roll and give the aircraft the stability of a box kite. The result flew but was next to impossible to turn.


Louis Moulliard in France, writes 'L' Empire de l'Air' (Empire of the Air) which directs attention to gliding and soaring like birds using fixed-wing gliders with cambered wings,. An abbreviated translation is published by the Smithsonian Institute in 1893 and is also read by the Wright Brothers. He also proposes that aviators practice in gilders to gain the skill needed to pilot an aircraft in the air. [Gibbs p.75]


Hargrave reads Animal Mechanism by Etienne Jules Marey

October 31 - E.W. Cole a Melbourne Bookshop owner offers a prize of 1,000 pounds to the first person who within two years invents a machine which can fly 100 miles". The machine could be propelled electrically chemically or mechanically and "shall come and stop in front of the Book Arcade Bourke Street Melbourne as easily and safely as a carriage stops there now" [Copley p.5]


Hargrave resigns from Sydney Observatory to work on aeronautics

Hargrave invited to be a founding member of the Geographical Society of Australasia


John J. Montgomery in California, USA builds and test his first three full-size gliders. All are successful [Gibbs p.75]


July - Alexander Fedorovich Mozhaiski (1825-1890) (alt: Mozhaiskii also... Mozhaiski) , a Russian, designs a steam-engine powered monoplane. It is 'flown' 60 to 100 feet by I. N. Golubev but by using an incline-assisted takeoff prevents it from being considered a true powered flight


Alexandr Fyodorovich Mozhaisky. Russian naval officer, aviation pioneer, researcher and inventor in the design of heavier-than-air-craft. The son of a naval officer, he was born on March 9 (21), 1825 in Rochensalm, Viborg district (now present-day Kotka, Finland). He followed in the footsteps of his father and upon completion of his education at the Naval Cadet School in 1841, he served in the navy from 1841 to 1862. Later he also served in the navy from 1879 to 1882.

In the 1860's he began to give serious thought and consideration to the possibility of creating a flying machine which was heavier than air. He studied the structure of birds' wings, determining the relationship between the wing areas and the weight of birds of various species. He next turned his attention to the flights of air kites. At the same time he studied the work of air screws. it was at this time that he sought and received from the Military Ministry funding for his research. But in 1878 when he sought a new commission from the government, that request was denied and he had to proceed on his own.

For the study of the resistance of air to the movement of bodies, Mozhaiskii created an original experimental apparatus with the aid of which he carried out very accurate determinations of aerodynamic strength. On June 4,1880 he petitioned to receive a license for his airplane and on November 3, 1881 he received the first patent in Russia for his invention. He had submitted drawings which showed that he had all of the five basic parts of the contemporary airplanes: wings, hull, power arrangement, tail assembly, and chassis. in 1881, with a government grant of 2,500 rubles, he purchased two 20- and 10-horsepower steam engines for his "flying device".

The construction was completed by 1882, but the record of the flight has not been preserved. Nevertheless this was the first time in the world that there had been a flight of a heavier-than-air "flying machine". What records that do exist indicate that his attempt resulted in the crash of his "flying machine", but that he continued with his research into aerodynamics and air propellers. The significant contribution which Mozhaiskii from a historical point of view made lay in the fact that he made the first practical attempts to build a piloted air craft. He died in Saint Petersburg on March 20 (April 1), 1890

August 6 - Hargrave presents first paper to the RSNSW The Trochoided Plane

August 9 - Reynaud [Renard] and Crebs [Krebbs] fly the electric powered diribible La France It is the first completely practical airship able to be steered in flight.

October - Hargrave exhibits 'Clockwork Flapper on Rotating Arm' to the RSNSW

December 31 - Hargrave builds India Rubber powered flapping wing (ornithopter) achieves free flight - first successful experiment

Charles Parsons devises the steam turbine this is to later provide the modus operandi of the turbo-jet engine [Gibbs p.76]


February 23 - John Fletcher Hargrave dies

June 3 - Hargrave presents paper to the RSNSW Notes on Flying-machines [image and transcripts: Shaw p.48]

October 29 - Ann Hargrave dies

November 10 - Hargrave builds India Rubber powered flapping wing models (ornithopter) models [No. 5] and No. 6 flies unsupported for 120 feet at 14.6 mph [image: Shaw p.49]

December 2 - Hargrave presents paper to the RSNSW On a form of Flying Machine

Carl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler independently build the first practical petrol engines. These are developed for the automobile industry but eventually are employed in aviation. [Gibbs p.77]

Dr W Ayres devises but cannot fly a flying machine with no wings but fitted with seven propellers. Four of the propellers are driven by compressed air, two by pedal-power and one by hand-driven crank


Hargrave designs his second man-carrying flying machine driven by hand-cranked flappers "Probable development of the Trochoided plane Flying Machine" [image: Shaw p.50]

Hargrave builds test rig to investigate the possibility of man-powered flight

Hargrave builds India Rubber powered flapping wing (ornithopter) [Model No.?] flies unsupported for 300 feet

October 6 - Hargrave exhibits a 'clockwork flapper flying machine' to the RSNSW


June 1 - Hargrave presents paper to the RSNSW Recent work on Flying-machine

June - Hargrave begins work on engines [ADoB]

December 7 - Hargrave presents paper to the RSNSW Autographic Instruments used in the development of Flying-machines


Jan/March - Hargrave builds Engine No. 1 (of 36) - single cylinder driven by compressed-air

April - Hargrave builds Engine No. 2 - single cylinder driven by petrol vapour [image: Shaw p.53]

Hargrave designs but does not build Engine No.? - 3 cylinder radial rotary, driven by petrol vapour [image: Shaw pp.54-56]

Hargrave reads Cayley's triple paper of 1808-09?

May 2 - Hargrave exhibits Engine No. 1? to the RSNSW - driven by compressed air - weight 2.5 lb

August 12 - the first petrol driven aircraft, an airship with a Daimler 2 hp engine driving two airscrews flies 4 kms from Seelberg to Kornwestheim in Germany [Gibbs p.77]

December 8 - The first deliberate use of a parachute in Australia was made by J. T. Williams when he jumped from Captain Hendon's Balloon to the Ashfield Recreation Ground 6000 feet below in Sydney's western suburbs. [Copley p.4]

Augustus Herring in New York, USA, builds and tests a glider without success.


January 31 - Hargrave tests last India rubber powered bow screw (propeller) driven model - flies 110/120 feet [image and transcript: Shaw p.60]

August 7 - Hargrave presents paper to the RSNSW Flying-machine Memoranda

September 28 - Hargrave sends RSNSW papers to the editor of 'Mechanic' [The English'Mechanic') - no reply

Late? - Hargrave builds Engine No. 13, radial rotary, 3 cylinder - driven by compressed-air

Octave Chanute (1832-1910) in Illinois, USA, presents two papers on the progress of aeronautical experiments to date.


February 25 - Hargrave builds Flying Machine No.? monoplane model with a bow screw (propeller) driven by Engine No.? tin plate radial rotary - flies 77 feet

June 4 - Hargrave presents paper to the RSNSW On a compressed-air Flying-machine

August - Hargrave sends RSNSW papers to the editor of 'Engineering' no reply recorded?

October 9 - Clement Ader flies his steam-powered tractor-screw Eole at Armainvilliers, France. It is the first full size aeroplane to leave the ground under its own power. It rises about 8 inches in the air and flies 165 feet. It does not and cannot, make a sustained and controlled flight [Gibbs p.78]


Clement Ader's"Bat"

Musée des arts et métiers, La revue N°13, December 1995, pp. 23-31; Biruta Kresling

Clément Ader's "Avion n° 3", otherwise known as the"Bat", one of the centrepieces at the Musée des arts et métiers, was restored in the 1980s by the Musée de l'air et de l'espace at its workshop in Meudon, near Paris.

The aircraft, which has a wingspan of over 15 metres and is equipped with two 20-HP steam engines and two propellors, was built between 1894 and 1897 in Paris, in the rue Jasmin workshop. The materials used were basically wood and, for a small number of parts, steel, brass and aluminium.

The web on the wings was made from silk pongee which, in spite of its tight weave, is permeable to air. Experiments on the prototype, which required a considerable amount of work, began in October 1897. Interrupted after an accident, the work was not continued due to a lack of financial resources. However, Ader claimed that a 300-metre flight had taken place, a fact confirmed by two witnesses.

Biruta Kresling was given the opportunity of studying the airplane close at hand when it was "dissected" - "taken to pieces", enabling her to find out all the details relating to its manufacture and produce a series of drawings. She was immediately struck by the great intuition shown by Ader in transposing the mechanical principles of bat flight, particularly that of the flying fox.

With the impression of experiencing a remarkable adventure, Biruta Kresling laid bare the aircraft's design, revealing the astonishingly bionic (before the term was coined) elements which inspired Clément Ader, engineer and prodigious inventor, and examining the new ideas he introduced.

Although the "Bat" plane remains virtually unknown outside France, and in spite of the fact that Ader's copy of the natural model (faithful right down to the terms he used - "arm", "forearm", "fingers", "elbow", "wood") seems naive and clumsy today, all these technical concepts, for which Ader had no theoretical bases or experimental means at his disposal other than those he used himself (large flying models, a glider, the Eole aircraft and, finally, the life-size plane itself), were extremely advanced for the time.

The resemblances between the aircraft and the animal are by no means coincidental. Ader did in fact recommend building the wings of low-speed planes on the model of a bat's wing, and those of high-speed planes on the model of a bird's wing.

Among the many similarities between "Avion n° 3" and the flying fox or birds, we will look at just a few examples.

Doubtless aware that the pilot would be unable to steer such a complex aircraft without the assistance of self-stabilizing devices, depending on the shapes and materials used, Ader invented mechanisms such as propeller blades inspired by the quills in birds' wings, made of paper and bamboo - a sort of "propfan" and blade "with automatic variable pitch". The shaft of the propeller blades consisted in a central strand made of cork onto which thin sheets of split bamboo were assembled and stuck. The unit was mounted in such a way as to flatten out at high speeds, automatically regulating the angle of incidence.

The "thumb" of the flying fox combines two functions: firstly, the unfurling and automatic tensing of a membrane similar to the "leading edge flap" in an aircraft, followed by the folding back of the wing, with the thumb now acting as a hook enabling the bat to grip onto the branch of a tree.

The same coupled mechanism - a safety device for the animal - gave Ader's flying machine, designed for military aviation, an essential, dual function: the wing could be tensed and then folded back, meaning that large wing surface areas could be reduced. A single mechanism thus facilitated the processes of putting the aircraft into operation rapidly by unfurling the wings, bringing it to rest, transporting it from the airfield to the hangar, followed by fast, easy removal and dissimulation once it had landed.

X-rays of the "arm" of Avion n° 3 showed its hollow inner space to be criss-crossed with thin wooden rods driven into the sides of the tube. These make the arm rigid, similar to the bony trabeculae - the thin rods which reinforce the humerus in birds. As Director of the Musée de l'air et de l'espace, General Pierre Lissarrague supervised restoration work on the plane.

He began by carrying out a critical study of the countless technical notes in Clément Ader's workshop notebooks. In order to check that Ader's ribless wing did indeed have the hollow profile announced in the patent, Lissarrague came up with the idea of testing an original half-wing from the plane, with its "arm-bones" and "fingers", covering it with a new layer of silk pongee, just like the one on the original wing which was used as a model, and exposing it to natural wind.

The experiment took place outdoors, on the west coast of the Cottentin peninsula. The "automatic" curve of the thin "fingers" and the membrane of the aircraft could thus be observed in simulated flight, as could the profiles along its wingspan. The placing of reflective strips under the wing enabled the shape of these profiles to be photographed, while measuring the way in which they are positioned in relation to one another.

© Musée des arts et métiers - O.D. - 6/04/98

Olivier Delaroziere fecit 6/04/98; 12:12:35 delaroziere@cnam.fr

Clément Ader: L'un des pères de l'aviation

The Clément Ader Museum





The Centenary of the First Flight


Other Inventions





October 28 - Hargrave builds Flying Machine No. 6 (ornithopter) using Engine No. 12 driven by compressed air - 8' 2" long flies 343 feet [image: Shaw p.61]

December 3 - Hargrave presents paper to the RSNSW On the 74 oz Compressed-air Flying-machine


January 2 - Hargrave builds Flying Machine [powered aircraft No. 7] monoplane model with a bow screw (propeller) driven by Engine No. 13, 3 cylinder radial driven by compressed air - flies 128 feet in 8 seconds [image: Shaw]

February 24 - Hargrave receives copy of Octave Chanute's paper Aerial Navigation

February/March - Professor Fernandez makes a number of balloon ascents and parachute descents from a balloon at the Bondi Aquarium, Sydney, New South Wales.


March 24 - Professor Price made a balloon ascent in Perth, W.A. The balloon rose to about 150 feet then with Price hanging from a trapeze the balloon settled in a tree, and was wrecked. With a new balloon, his assistant, a woman, made an ascent in Perth from which she intended to parachute. The wind carried her off target and set her down on some nearby mud flats. This balloon was distroyed by fire on 3 August 1891. In September with a new balloon, she made an ascent at Albany, W.A.


early/mid? - Hargrave begins correspondence with Octave Chanute

July 1 - Hargrave exhibits Compressed-air Flying-machines Nos. 13 and 14 to the RSNSW

October - Octave Chanute begins to publish articles on aviation in the Railroad and Engineering Journal. They will later be collected in a single work.

Lilienthal begins, in Dervitz Germany, to test winged gliders, made from cloth stretched over willow frameworks. He is the first man to launch himself into the air and fly [Gibbs p.78]

Samuel Pierpont Langley (1834-1906) in Virginia, USA, begins to experiment with steam-powered model aircraft he calls Aerodromes. The first four are failures.


January 10 - Hargrave begins experiments on curved surfaces

February 9 - Hargrave writes to Chanute re Engine No. 17 single cylinder - steam

February 11 - Hargrave builds Boiler No. 1 [Shaw p.92]

March 12 - Hargrave builds Boiler No. 6

March 21 - Geoffrey Lewis Hargrave born

April 22 - Article in 'New York Sun' on 'recent experiments' 'devotes 3/4 of space to Hargrave'

April 22 - Hargrave builds Engine No. 17 with Boiler No. 6

August 3 - Hargrave presents paper to the RSNSW Flying-machine work and exhibits the 1/6 I.H.P.steam motor weighing 3 1/4 lb

December 16 - Hargrave builds Engine No. 18 with final version of current boiler series

Sir Hiram Maxim in England, builds an enormous biplane and tests it on a special track designed to capture the aircraft after it rises a few inches off the ground and prevent it from flying free. The aircraft breaks loose, and is destroyed in the ensuing crash.

Rudolph Diesel in Germany invents the Diesel engine [Gibbs p.78]

Langley builds his first steam-driven aeroplane models. They are failures [Gibbs p.77]

[ Early - 1782 ] [ 1783 - 1849 ] [ 1850 - 1876 ] [ 1877 - 1892 ] [ 1893 - 1903 ] [ 1904 - 1960 ]


© Copyright 1999 CTIE - All Rights Reserved - Caution
Created and maintained by russell.naughton@eng.monash.edu.au
Last updated November 17, 2001