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[p. 84]

Air ships in Medford

December 17 is the twentieth anniversary of the Wright brothers' first successful aeroplane flight. For more than a century ‘flying chariots in the air’ had been predicted, but only the balloon had mounted skyward.

A pretty piece of fiction was ‘Darius Green and his flying machine,’ which may (or may not) have had its influence on inventive minds. But the story which gained credence, that Schoolmaster Cummings gave its author the name of the Medford boy Darius for his hero is utterly without foundation. When, in 1911, the art of flying having progressed, Mr. Trowbridge attended the ‘aviation meet’ at Squantum, an honored guest. It must have been a satisfaction to him to have seen a realization of his fictional vision. Two of the fliers landed in Medford—one because of mechanical defect, the other, overloaded. This was on the morning of Labor Day. Views of the scene and accounts thereof are in the Mercury of September 15, 1911. Two others passed over Medford, one winning the $10,000 prize.

During the World War aviation advanced rapidly, and since then oceans and continents have been crossed. During the recent summer some advertising of a certain brand of tobacco has been done by releasing a gas or cloud of smoke, by skillful piloting, thus spelling the words on the aerial billboard.

But the great sight was on November 20, when at about 1.00 P. M. the U. S.S. Shenandoah, in its sevenhundred-mile flight from New Jersey and back, passed over the Mystic valley. Really moving seventy-five miles per hour, to the multitudes gazing upward its flight seem leisurely but certainly majestic. As we looked across the river at the buildings of the American Woolen Co. and realized that equivalent in size to the three combined was this modern dirigible air ship, we could but wonder at man's conquest of the air, and say ‘what next?’ with an involuntary shudder at the possibilities of war.

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