Flying was very expensive. Most people still rode trains or buses for intercity travel.
Only business travellers and the wealthy could afford to fly. America’s airline industry expanded rapidly, from carrying only 6,000 passengers in 1930 to more than 450,000 by 1934, to 1.2 million by 1938.
Still, only a tiny fraction of the travelling public flew.
The very first aircraft were narrow and long, and the passenger seats were perceived as an innovation, a kind of luxury and an optional extra, like caviar sandwiches with butter.
The first seats were the most common chairs, seat belts were not.
At first, the passengers were sitting right behind the pilot, there was no partitions.
The Giffard Dirigible, flying from Paris to Trappes, 1852.
In France, an engineer named Henri Giffard (1825-82) was leading the way in les ballons dirigeable, French for directable balloons, and from which English adapted the word dirigible.
In 1852, Giffard’s airship made the first recorded successful powered and steerable flight.
The intrepid inventor flew his machine from the Paris Hippodrome to Trappes, a distance of 17 miles (27 km), in roughly 3 hours. The craft proved manoeuvrable, making many navigational turns and performing circles, but the engine wasn’t powerful enough to fly against the wind and failed to make a return journey.
The balloon was 144 feet long (44 m), hydrogen filled, and highly flammable, so the engine exhaust was diverted downwards by a long pipe.
The engine produced 3 hp, drove a propeller, and top speed of the dirigible was 6 mph (9 km).
If you want to create detailed and imaginative flying machine sculptures that look like they’re about to take flight, cardboard is hardly the material to use.
Unless of course you’re artist Daniel Agdag, who has been toiling away creating a series of new works each more detailed and fascinating than the next.
“The Principles of Aerodynamics” is Agdag’s first solo exhibition where his series of cardboard contraptions that portray his “ongoing pursuit of escape through the metaphor of flight” will be on display.
As he’s done in the past, Agdag forfeits all blueprints, drawings and plans choosing, instead, to work only from mind and scalpel.
His industrial beasts–get close and you can almost smell the oil and smoke; hear the clanking and buzzing–come together only from sliced cardboard hinged with glue.