Collection Item Summary:
This French engine powered the Santos-Dumont Airship No. 9 in 1903. It performed two tasks: propulsion and the operation of a belt driven blower to pressurize the airship's envelope. Although designed for the Clement Autocyclette motorcycle, it was easily converted to aeronautical use because of its light weight and adequate power.
Alberto Santos-Dumont, a wealthy Brazilian based in Paris, first became famous by flying his dirigible No. 6 around the Eiffel Tower in 1901 and, in 1906, made the first airplane flight in Europe. This artifact was of special interest because it had "connected with it the smallest motor which has ever been successfully applied to a dirigible balloon." From the accession file, it appears that Airship No. 9 was to be flown at an exhibition in St. Louis in 1904, but was vandalized and not flown again.