1907, Roy Knabenshue, Famed Aeronautical Engineer And Aviator, Letter Signed
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1907, Roy Knabenshue, Famed Aeronautical Engineer And Aviator, Letter Signed:
This item is a wonderful, letter dated 1907, where aviator Roy Knabenshue has put out letter to the Danbury Fair manager, regarding engaging an airship for the upcoming fair.....signed at lower right in print by Knabenshue's agent Frank P. Spellman. Letter is 8x11, scarce early aviation correspondence, great letterhead, in overall very good condition.
Roy Knabenshue (July 15, 1875 – March 6, 1960) was an American aeronautical engineer and aviator.
He was born on July 15, 1875 in Lancaster, Ohio, the son of Salome Matlack and Samuel S. Knabenshue. Samuel Knabenshue, an educator and political writer for the Toledo Blade for many years, served as U.S. consul in Belfast, Ireland, from 1905 to 1909 and as consul general in Tianjin, China, from 1909 to 1914.
In 1904, at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, Roy Knabenshue piloted Thomas Scott Baldwin's California Arrow dirigible to a height of 2,000 feet (610 m) and was able to return to the takeoff point.
Knabenshue made many successful airship flights in 1905 at state fairs and also engaged in promoting public exhibitions. In August 1905 he flew his 69 ft. long Toledo II airship at Central Park in New York City, stopping all business and street traffic. Knabenshue's third dirigible was completed and flown in exhibitions at Hartford, Connecticut; Providence, Rhode Island; Worchester, Massachusetts and London, Ontario in 1907. In late 1907 Knabenshue began to build a three-man airship designed to carry passengers as well as for exhibition work. In May 1908 lie made an ascent at Toledo in this airship with two others aboard. In January 1910 Knabenshue participated in the First International Air Meet at Dominques Field, Los Angeles, racing his dirigible against others.
By late 1909, public interest began to turn to airplanes and the Wright Brothers decided to put on flight exhibitions. They employed Knabenshue to plan exhibitions for the Wright Fliers being trained at a flying school in Montgomery, Alabama opened in March 1910, now known as Maxwell Field. In 1910 the Wrights opened a school at Dayton, Ohio and additional. pilots for the team were trained. Knabenshue arranged for the first exhibition at the Indianapolis Speedway in June 1910. In July, the team performed at Atlantic City and in August the team made exhibition flights along the Chicago Lake Front. In October the team also participated in the Belmont Park International Air Meet.
Frank P. Spellman was a "promoter" type of showman in many ways and was often engaged in short lived ventures which at times ended in jams of one sort or another. He had a varied experience in show business over a period of many years. In 1905 the New York Clipper mentioned him as being in the business of booking acts for theaters. In 1909 he was operating a carnival. In 1914 Spellman with aid and equipment from John G. Robinson put out Frank P. Spellman's Combined Circus on 10 cars. The train was painted royal blue and the show claimed a parade with four bands and a large calliope.
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