Tech Thursday: Samuel F. Cody- Aeronautical Pioneer

Apologies for the late post.

First I want to thank Norie Guthrie for taking over Tech Thursday for the last two months. She found some really amazing stuff to share with you all; the idea for today’s post was hers, as well. You don’t know how good you had it! So, thank you Norie!

Now, on with the show.

Samuel F. Cody was an early pioneer of aeronautics. Born in Iowa in 1867 as Samuel Franklin Cowdery, he adopted the surname ‘Cody’ in his youth, probably in emulation of Buffalo Bill Cody, for whom he was often mistaken. Cody was a successful Wild West Showman, touring the United States and Britain throughout the 1880s and 90s.

War Kite

War Kite

Around that time, Cody became fascinated with kites. Improving upon the box kite design, he patented the first Cody Kite in 1901. At the time, balloons were often used by meteorologists and by the military. Unlike Balloons, Cody’s kites could be operated in high winds. This earned Cody a Fellowship at the Royal Meteorological Society. He also made several demonstrations for the British Army and Navy, eventually impressing them enough to be appointed Chief Kiting Instructor for the Balloon School in Aldershot in 1906.

Cody by Plane

About a year later, Cody moved away from kites and into powered flight. In 1908, he became the first man in Britain to fly a machine powered aircraft. In 1910, he flew for 4 hours and 47 minutes to win the Michelin Cup. In 1912, Cody entered into the Daily Mail Competition, but came in 4th. In 1912, his Cody V machine won the British Military Aeroplane competition. Tragically, Cody was killed while testing his Cody Floatplane in 1913.

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Postcard

Mr. Cody’s new aeroplane at Aldershot, which he has had specially constructed for the Daily Mail competition.

“Mr. Cody’s new aeroplane at Aldershot, which he has had specially constructed for the Daily Mail competition.”

60HP Green when flying 115 miles attempting[?] to win 2nd Michelin No. 1 Trophy. 60HP Green when flying 115 miles attempting[?] to win 2nd Michelin No. 1 Trophy. Won with a longer flight a few days later.

60HP Green when flying 115 miles attempting[?] to win 2nd Michelin No. 1 Trophy. 60HP Green when flying 115 miles attempting[?] to win 2nd Michelin No. 1 Trophy. Won with a longer flight a few days later.

Cody Military Trials, Monoplane,  1912

“Cody Military Trials, Monoplane, 1912”

His flourishes are as big as his mustache.

Cody’s Autograph. His flourishes are as big as his mustache.

These images are available through the Anderson Aeronautical History Collection.

Sources

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Franklin_Cody

http://www.sfcody.org.uk/

Benjamin M. Anderson Aeronautical History collection, MS 69, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.

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