Display Status This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

In 1878 Charles Francis Ritchel, of Corry, Pennsylvania, invented an airship composed of a barrel-shaped gas bag attached to a frame with propellers, and powered by a hand crank. Ritchel was too heavy to fly the airship himself, and was thus always forced to find a pilot. The first public flight of his craft was in Philadelphia's Concert Hall in May 1878, and the first outdoor flight was in June 1878 in Hartford, Connecticut. He then went on to conduct many more successful flights both indoors and outdoors, mainly in New England.

Identifier

NASM.2004.0053

Creator

Harper's Magazine Foundation

Date

bulk 1878

Provenance

Jane L. Crotser, Gift, 2004

Extent

0.05 Cubic feet ((1 folder))

Restrictions

No restrictions on access.

Type

Collection descriptions

Archival materials

Illustrations

Scope and Contents

The cover of Harper's Weekly in New York, on 13 July 1878, depicts Ritchel's airship in flight.

Genre/Form

Illustrations

Rights

Material is subject to Smithsonian Terms of Use. Should you wish to use NASM material in any medium, please submit an Application for Permission to Reproduce NASM Material, available at Permissions Requests

Names

Ritchel, Charles F.

Topics Airships
Aeronautics

Citation

Harper's Weekly Cover with Charles Ritchel's Airship, Accession 2004-0053, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.

Archival Repository

National Air and Space Museum Archives

Finding Aid Online Finding Aid