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

Wilhelm Kress was born in 1836 in Russia. In 1864, Kress invented a small elastic canvas air propeller kite and eventually began to work on the idea of a motor-powered propeller driven kite, which he successfully flew in 1865 and named the Drachenflieger. By 1877, Kress had built kite models powered by rubber strands that he called Cocoons or Aeroveloces (Cocoons or Aero-bicycles). This same year, Kress met with Josef Stefan, Director of the Physical Institute at the University of Vienna and Vice-President of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, to discuss his inventions. By approximately 1879, Stefan had enrolled Kress for patents in Germany, France, and Austria-Hungary for his Drachenflieger models. Sometime in 1890, Kress began working on a design for a helicopter that he called a Hubschraube (Lifting Propeller). In 1894, Kress was invited by Octave Chanute to visit the First Aeronautical Congress in Chicago, Illinois where Kress presented several lectures. Kress designed a full-sized tandem-winged monoplane for which he was granted a patent in December 1897. Throughout the early 1900s, Kress worked on building and testing his airplane but, due to financial and mechanical difficulties, he was never able to build a complete, successful aircraft. From 1908 until his death in 1913, Kress restricted his aeronautical activities to writing and delivering lectures.

Identifier

NASM.XXXX.0862

Processing Information

Arranged and described (2008), updated and encoded (2022) by Jessamyn Lloyd.

Creator

Kress, Wilhelm, 1836-1913

Date

1880-1883

Provenance

Unknown, material found in collection, NASM.XXXX.0862

Extent

0.05 Cubic feet (1 folder)

Summary

Wilhelm Kress (1836--1913) was an inventor, writer, and lecturer. This collection contains one of Kress' German patents, patent number 8706, for one of his flying machine models; a letter from 1883, in German, signed by Kress; and a description, in English, of the flying machine written by Arnold Samuelson (who lists his title as "Chief Engineer").

Restrictions

No restrictions on access

Type

Collection descriptions

Archival materials

Correspondence

Patents

Arrangement note

Collection is arranged by type of material.

Scope and Contents

This collection contains one of Wilhelm Kress' German patents, patent number 8706, for one of his flying machine models; a letter from 1883, in German, signed by Kress; and a description, in English, of the flying machine written by Arnold Samuelson (who lists his title as "Chief Engineer").

Genre/Form

Correspondence

Patents

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.

Topics Aeronautics

Citation

Kress Flying Machine Patent and Letter, NASM.XXXX.0862, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.

Archival Repository

National Air and Space Museum Archives

Finding Aid Online Finding Aid