Tuesday, May 8, 2018

A few points on the Pennington airship

1. Let's be honest I'm posting this because it's a cool picture.
2. I'm certainly not posting it because it was a major advance in air travel. As you can see from the excerpt below, it appears never to have gotten past the model stage.

3. That text raises a couple of additional interesting points as well. First, we haven't spent nearly enough time talking about the role of private investment in the technology boom of the period or on the role of terrible ideas and outright scams in the investment culture of the time. (Pennington was a bit of a... character.)

4. And finally this is a good time to note that the Scientific American of the time did a pretty good job staying open to new developments while being reasonably skeptical.

Scientific American 1891/03/07

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