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.