Aircraft and Submarines

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: of the machine, which unquestionably embodied some of the basic principles of our modern aircraft, though it antedated the first of these by nearly a century. We may pass over hastily some of the later experiments with dirigibles that failed. In 1834 the Count de Lennox built an airship 130 feet long to be driven by oars worked by man power. When the crowd that Giffard's Dikigiblb gathered to watch the ascent found that the machine was too heavy to ascend even without the men, they expressed their lively contempt for the inventor by tearing his clothes to tatters and smashing his luckless airship. In 1852, another Frenchman, Henry Giffard, built a cigar-shaped balloon 150 feet long by 40 feet in diameter, driven by steam. The engine weighed three hundred pounds and generated about 3 H.-P.— about Too as much power as a gas engine of equal weight would produce. Even with this slender power, however, Giffard attained a speed, independent of thewind, of from five to seven miles an hour—enough at least for steerage way. This was really the first practical demonstration of the possibilities of the mechanical propulsion of balloons. Several adaptations of the Giffard idea followed, and in 1883 Renard and Krebs, in a fusiform ship, driven by an electric motor, attained a speed of fifteen miles an hour. By this time inventive genius in all countries—save the United States which lagged in interest in dirigibles—was stimulated. Germany and France became the great protagonists in the struggle for precedence and in the struggle two figures stand out with commanding prominence—the Count von Zeppelin and Santos-Dumont, a young Brazilian resident in Paris who without official countenance consecrated his fortune to, and risked his life in, the service of aviation. chapter{Section 4CHAP...
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