1896 Chanute-Type Biplane

One of the first machines tested was the tri-plane glider. After a few flights, Avery removed the bottom wing. Together, Avery and Herring then devised and mounted an elastic attachment to the tail. This 1896 Chanute-type biplane proved to be a key step on the road to the invention of the airplane. For a moment it was the most successful heavier-than-air flying machine in the world.

The experiments continued through the following year, as Matthias Arnot (another aviation enthusiast) from Elmira, NY had ordered a biplane glider. It was again built in Avery’s shop, under Herring’s supervision. Chanute and Arnot split the cost of experiments for the first two weeks of testing in September of 1897. During the second week Chanute invited noted aeronautical publisher James Mean from Boston to witness the glider flights.

An old-fashioned book cover.
"Flying Machines: Construction and Operation," with a introductory chapter by Octave Chanute

C.E, 1910

An exhibit case holding papers, books, and photographs.
Photo of exhibit case

Courtesy of Anna Hasior.