In the early 20th century, few things excited the public more than the development of mechanized flying machines. Whether aircraft or dirigible, these machines were documented in the specialized and popular literature of the day. The Smithsonian Libraries is committed to digitizing its special collection of rare books and journals on the invention and growth of aviation. Many of the tiles we’ve scanned and digitized to date are accessible through the Internet Archive.
Albert Francis Zahm, The Smithsonian Report for 1914, 1915, Langley Aeroplane (Built 1898-1903) Ready for Launching at Hammondsport, N.Y., May 28, 1914. This image, from The first man-carrying aeroplane capable of sustained more »
Samuel P. Langley, third Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, began his experiments with flight by designing models powered by rubber bands. He went on to almost beat the Wright Brothers more »