The Weird World of Folk Aviators
With his whimsical sculptures, Gregory Bryant celebrates early ideas about winged flight.
- By Rebecca Maksel
- Air & Space magazine, May 2012
Eric Long, NASM
“This 1902 helicopter proposal was a serious proposal,” says Bryant, “put out not by an individual, but by a group of people. There were mechanical drawings. What the mattress-looking thing on top is meant to be, I have no idea. The propeller-looking things...I don't know. This one does give some clues to a propulsion system; there are tanks at the base, but again, I don't know anything about it. Many of these designers were working before notions of lift and drag and thrust. And so they were working...freely."
The concept is also mentioned in one book, Helicopters Before Helicopters, by E.K. Liberatore.
“That's another thing about this subject that I find so intriguing: In retrospect, these things are laughable. But that's not fair. At the time, with everything they had available to them, these are very intelligent concepts. And it emphasizes that the progression of the history is not a straight line; it's bushy. The evolution of technology is bushy. That's Stephen J. Gould's term.”
Made of cardboard, paper, copper wire, cooking skewers, tempera paint.