Communications, 1910s; Means, James; General Aviation, Advertising and Sky Writing. [photograph]


Collection Item Summary:

Close-up view from below of a smoke signaling device invented by James Means installed on the upper wing of a Burgess-Wright aircraft for testing at the US Army Aviation School, College Park, Maryland, October 9, 1911. The device, seen here attached to the wing with C-clamps, consisted of a tank (a) containing powdered lampblack connected by a tube to a tank containing compressed air (out of frame); pulling a string attached to a lever (D) operated a valve (C) which release compressed air causing the device to emit a puff of black smoke. In flight, an operator could release a sky writing sequence of short and long puffs to represent the dots and dashes of Morse code. An airscoop (b) provided a down-blast assist to the lampblack powder gravity feed.

Collection Item Long Description:



Data Source

National Air and Space Museum Archives

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G. V. Buck

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Repository Loc.

National Air and Space Museum, Archives Division, MRC 322, Washington, DC, 20560



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