Mysterious Airship Report Gives Clyde Aviation Fever

Post-Standard de Syracuse (New York), Friday, June 10, 1910
s1Clark, J.: "airship, New York, 1910", Magonia Exchange, 8 août 2007

Stories Told by Mr. and Mrs. Max Hess and Editor Lead Many Residents to Believe Reticent Local Inventor Is to Bring Fame to Village.


CLYDE, June 9. - Clyde has the airship fever and has it bad. A mysterious machine, reported by Max Hess, a reputable resident of the village, to have glided overhead a few nights ago and an inventive genius named Charles Ames are responsible. But the first semblance of the affliction is traceable to the former. Mr. Ames' responsibility rests in his attitude, which has served to greatly aggravate the atmospheric ailment of the section.

According to Mr. Hess the hour was 11. He heard a faint chug-chugging. Unable to definitely locate the sound he finally glanced heavenward. High in the air, sailing speedily, majestically and, save for the slight noise of the motor exhaust, silently, was a strange craft. It was headed west. Lights gleamed brightly fore and aft on the mid-air roamer.

Clyde regarded Mr. Hess' story more as a hoax than anything else for a time. Finally Mrs. Hess was seen by some of the interested residents and corroborated what her husband had said of the mysterious aerial voyager.

On top of this, an experience was related by Editor B. N. Marriott of The Clyde Times. It was all that was necessary to give the more enthusiastic of the villagers visions of fame for Clyde and fortune for the local inventor, who they are convinced built the airship and was aboard it in the heavens when spotted by their townspeople, Mr. and Mrs. Hess.

Editor Marriott's story is that he had business two months ago at Wood's foundry. While in the shop he saw two young men, Holt and Gardner, working on what looked to him like the framework of an airship. He inquired what they were making and they answered, "a flying machine."

Considering it a joke, Editor Marriott thought no more about the matter until recently, when a young man named Lee declared he had seen the flying machine and that the owner and inventor was none other than Charles Ames, a machinist, employed at Wood's foundry, and widely known as a man of inventive turn of mind.

Lee asserted that Ames built the machine at his home in Lock street, and even went so far as to describe it. He represented it as of the bi-plane type, with wheels beneath, not for the purpose of starting the machine, but to make landing safe.

An original feature of the machine, Lee volunteered, was a gas bag attachment, which, when ascent was to be made, was inflated and covered the entire machine. After the desired altitude had been reached the bag was deflated, and the machine became heavier than air and motor-driven. In making the descent, the gas bag, still deflated, was arranged to act as a parachute to ease the downward journey of the airship.

Machinist Ames, like Curtiss, the Wrights and other air conquerors, is extremely reticent. He would neither affirm nor deny the story of his reported invention yesterday afternoon when seen by a reporter for The Post-Standard at his bench in Wood's foundry.

"I've got too much advertising out of this already," was his comment, "and I won't let you have my picture."

A few minutes later he exclaimed: "I can't let any one see the machine for they might get onto my ideas."

Evidently realizing this was an admission he hurriedly added: "I don't know anything about it."

But Machinist Ames' evasiveness has not blighted Clyde hopes. It has been noised about that the inventor recently received a letter purporting to come from the Wright brothers warning him that he was likely to infringe on some of their patents. This has clinched the belief of the impressionable that Machinist Ames has solved the air problem, that he is a veritable rival of Curtiss and the Wright brothers and will bring lasting honor to the name of the village.

Meanwhile, when night has fallen on Clyde, the unexpected chug-chugging of an automobile or any sound similar to that of a busy motor is a sign to the residents to hurry to the open and peer heavenward.