The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force honored the first aviation mechanic, Charles Taylor, by unveiling a bronze bust of his likeness for permanent display in the museum’s Early Years Gallery.A brilliant, self-taught man, Taylor began working in the Wrights’ bicycle business in 1896 and played an important role in their flying experiments for several years. Unable to find a manufacturer who could build an engine to their –specifications–no more than 180 pounds and delivering eight to nine horsepower–the Wright brothers turned to Taylor.
Today is the 110th anniversary of the first powered flight by Orville and Wilbur Wright at Kill Devil Hills in North Carolina. This anniversary is a good jumping-off point to reflect on how far aviation has come in the past 110 years.
Going, Going, Gone: Vanishing Americana, one of my favorite books, offers compelling evidence of how fast our world is being transformed. On page after page, we see products, services, vocations and styles that once seemed integral to daily life but have nearly or completely disappeared. Remember milkmen? Carbon paper? Phone booths? Drive-in movies? Vinyl records? All gone or mostly gone.