The elder statesman of aeronautical experiments
October 1, 2005 6:50 PM   Subscribe

During his early years, eminent civil engineer Octave Chanute invented the process of preserving railroad ties and telephone poles with creosote in the 1860s. But more importantly, he was instrumental to the invention of the aeroplane. Working with an improved Otto Lilienthal glider, a German who died from spinal injuries sustained on a test flight, Chanute’s team experimented extensively with a seven-wing glider dubbed the Katydid, the famous Aerocurve, and the disastrous Albatross on the shores of Lake Michigan (described by a Chicago Times-Herald reporter). But most importantly, his book, Progress in Flying Machines, inspired the Wright Brothers, with whom he frequently visited. Sadly, Chanute never flew, citing his advanced age as reason enough to stay grounded.
posted by luckypozzo (7 comments total)
One of my earliest memories is of my father telling me not to try and climb the telephone pole behind our backyard because I would get creosote on me.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:29 PM on October 1, 2005

I indignantly protest the allegation.

(FWIW, my nickname derives from this incarnation of creosote.)
posted by Creosote at 8:09 PM on October 1, 2005

He was commemorated by Chanute Field (later AFB), one of the first Army Air Corps bases, now closed.
posted by dhartung at 11:09 PM on October 1, 2005

Fascinating post, luckypozzo.
posted by interrobang at 11:23 PM on October 1, 2005

Perfect post.

Expect few replies because of that.

But perfect post and thank you.
posted by sourwookie at 12:09 AM on October 2, 2005

Yep. What sourwookie said.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:41 AM on October 2, 2005

posted by anastasiav at 5:12 PM on October 3, 2005

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