March 13, 2003
Pushing the Envelope But With What

Le Bluff Continue was the Paris headline, August 1908, referring to the assemblage of wood glue and bike parts poised over Le Mans. That was the Flyer No. 3, from los bros. Wright. Of course the French thought the Americans were bluffing, and that's why even today we can't use their airspace when we're bombing other countries.

Now it's 95 years later, and in a way, very little has changed. It's all shuffled, natch, now it's unclear who's bluffing who, and with what, and still no one cares what France thinks. But if you look through the portfolio of glass negative prints of William and Orville Wright, you can get a sense of the quiet drama of day-to-day R&D. Some of the photos have the full drama of old and water damaged negatives. Some of the photos show nothing more than the landscape Wilbur looked out on, wondering how it might end, or begin.

There's plenty of other images in there, but that last one's notable because they're using the glider as a kite, trying to figure out how to control the thing. Which is of course, what drone technology is all about, as le bluff continue, 95 years later.

Posted by kevin slavin at March 13, 2003 03:56 PM
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