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.
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.
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.
These images are available through the Anderson Aeronautical History Collection.
Benjamin M. Anderson Aeronautical History collection, MS 69, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.