A passing glance at aviation magazines from the early Twentieth Century reveals that that particular sub-culture was very concerned with the ability to allow for trouble-free ground transport of aircraft. There were many magazine articles picturing how biplanes could be deconstructed for this purpose and up until 1912, or so we are led to believe by the editors of Popular Mechanics, the de Marcay-Mooney monoplane was the first flying machine that was able to have it's wings fold back (much like a bird or a beetle) and when re-set at 90 degrees for take-off, could fly successfully.
Attached is a well illustrated article concerning two of the earliest parachute drops: one was quite fatal while the other had a jollier ending. The first leap documented in this column was made by a fellow known only as F. Rodman Law (dates?); he jumped 345 feet from the torch of the Statue of Liberty and landed 30 feet from the water's edge. The next day, parachute enthuiast Franz Reichelt (1879 – 1912) jumped from the first platform of the Eiffel Tower with a parachute of his own design. The POPULAR MECHANICS correspondent reported that:
"His body was a shapeless mass when the police picked it up."
*Watch the 1912 Film Footage of Franz Reichelt's Unfortunate Parachute Jump*
A great picture of Lieutenant Charles Godefroy flying his Nieuport under the great arch of Paris during the Autumn of 1919. The stunt was performed three weeks after the French Victory parade that marked the end of the First World War and was intended to serve as a salute to the French pilots who died during the course of that blood bath.
*See 1919 Footage of Lt. Charles Godefroy Flying Through the Arc de Triomphe *
By the time this article hit the newsstands, the airline stewardess job was no longer a novelty and there were twenty-five women working in relays on the trans-continental run between Chicago and Oakland. The woman who held the record as the first airline stewardess, Ellen Church (1904 - 1965), was hired two and a half years earlier.
In addition to other restrictions, the earliest flight attendants of the Thirties were all required to be no older than 26, weigh no more than 118 pounds, stand no taller than 5"4 and hold nursing degrees in order that they be prepared to soothe the frayed nerves of the flight-fearing passengers.
However, judging by this article, these women must have been broad-shouldered amazons. The anonymous reporter who penned these columns compared them to the pioneer women of old, who braved the frontier crossings, fought the savages, healed the sick and stooped in the fields just long enough to give birth.
Click here to read about a much admired American aviator who was attracted to the fascist way of thinking...
Click here for a related film clip
"When the twenty-five-ton Martin transport-plane successfully passed its preliminary tests at Baltimore a few days ago, preparatory to entering the regular service of Pan American Airways, it was an occasion of world significance. In all likelihood this new member of the famous Clipper series will be the first to establish regular passenger and mail service across the Pacific."
*Watch A 1930s Film Clip About The Pan Am China Clipper Air Service*